Sin No More: From Abortion to Stem Cells, Understanding Crime, Law, and Morality in America

By John Dombrink; Daniel Hillyard | Go to book overview

3
Abortion
Contestation and Ambivalence in the
Long Era of
Roe v. Wade

Two words. South Dakota. One threat. The risk of losing Roe v.
Wade.

—NARAL Pro-Choice America (May 2006)

People in favor of abortion-on-demand never, ever want to use the
word “abortion.” But if you watch a “pro-choice” rally you'll no-
tice the applause lines always include a “woman's right to choose”
and “women's access to health services.” To them, abortion is a
health service for women. To us, abortion means a funeral service
for the preborn baby.

—Gary Shepard, “It's Going to Get Ugly” (2005)

Perhaps the best summary [of polls] is that a majority of Ameri-
cans want abortion to remain legal, but their support is quite
ambivalent.

—Carole Joffe, “It's Not Just the Abortion, Stupid” (2005)


Introduction: Supreme Court Vacancies

If the 2004 election were to provide any meaningful spoils for those “value voters” and other foot soldiers of the social and religious conservative movement who helped reelect George Bush, it should come in the form of the nomination and confirmation of Supreme Court justices who would one day soon lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. In this context, the announced resignation of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in July 2005 presented a unique opportunity, but also one deeply caught in the context of the ambivalence of American attitudes and government positions toward abortion.

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