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Susan Estrich
21 Jan 2015
The Money Primary

Will she or won't she? She will. And by the time she does, she will have raised more money than any primary … Read More.

14 Jan 2015
A New Year and Another Country

I spent the last three months of 2014 in another country. Over the course of those months, I was hospitalized … Read More.

9 Jan 2015
Punishment Fit for a Politician

Note: Susan Estrich is on leave. The following column is by Jill Lawrence. The most touching moment of … Read More.

Forty-Two Years Later


It has been 42 years since the United States Supreme Court held in Roe v. Wade that the right to decide whether to go forward with a pregnancy, prior to viability, belongs to a woman, in consultation with her doctors.

Forty-two years of marches and debates and occasional, horrible violence later, Roe remains the law of the land. But constitutional law is scant comfort when there is nowhere to get an abortion in your area — which, last time I checked, was true of more than 40 percent of the counties in the United States. The choice movement may have saved Roe in the courts, but on the streets, the access fight continues, sadly.

The politics of abortion have changed even more. For the first few decades after Roe was decided, abortion was, frankly, a problem for many Democrats. The polls were equivocal, the right to life movement was expanding everywhere, and Democrats were carefully phrasing their "personal" opposition to abortion notwithstanding the Roe decision.

These days, it's the Republicans who are squirming about abortion, and not very discreetly. They made all kinds of noise about voting on a bill on Thursday, Roe's anniversary, to ban all abortions after 20 weeks. Of course, that would be unconstitutional on its face under Roe, but that wasn't the reason the Republicans dropped the idea.

They dropped it because even some members of their own caucus wouldn't support a bill that would deny a rape victim an abortion unless she reported it to the police — even though rape is one of the most underreported crimes. Unable to pull together a majority to pass a symbolic unconstitutional view, the Republicans settled instead for having a meaningless vote on an old bill that bars public funding of abortion, a bill that has no chance of ever being signed by the president.

You might think, with all the problems we face, the House of Representatives would have better things to do than sit around having symbolic debates and passing symbolic bills, but frankly that's never stopped them, and it didn't stop them now. What did was the change in politics.

"There was a lot of discussion in our retreat (last week) about this, and some of the new people did not want to make this the first bill they voted on, because the millennials have a little bit of a different take on it," Republican Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida told the press. "But you will see it come back, because the American people agree with it two to one. It's a hideous practice. It needs to stop."

Sorry, Ted. The two-to-one number is meaningless. The question isn't whether you're for or against abortion; the question is who gets to decide: the woman, with the advice of her family, her doctor, her minister, or the government. Ask the question that way, and the government loses, hands down. It isn't just the millennials who think the government should keep its nose out of the gynecologist's office. The millennials want to keep getting elected. The old timers seem bent on refighting the old battles.

Forty-two years should be enough time to spend debating symbolic bills and litigating unconstitutional laws.

The Republican bill doesn't help teen mothers. It doesn't address maternal health. It won't reduce infant mortality rates. There is so much we could and should do that we all agree on. Let's take care of the wanted babies; let's help women have healthy babies; let's spend our energy figuring out how to help prevent teen pregnancy. Let's talk about how we're going to educate these kids, which is a public responsibility, and leave the gynecologists and their patients alone. With so much to be done, and so much that we do agree on, lawmakers playing games with symbolic bills should be ashamed of themselves.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



7 Comments | Post Comment
Well said, Susan. Hope you are feeling better. Your voice was missed during your absence.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Mark
Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:01 PM
In her Op-Ed, Ms. Estrich stated: "Forty-two years of marches and debates and occasional, horrible violence later, Roe remains the law of the land."

Occasional violence? There have been almost 50 million abortions in the US since 1973. That is an average of ~1.2 million/year. If you consider abortion to be murder, that rate sounds more like a holocaust than 'occasional violence'.

Lets put this into perspective. At Sandy Hook, a mentally disturbed youth killed 27 individuals in approximately 10 minutes, resulting in a murder rate of 2.7/minute. Assuming most of the abortions in the US occur during the normal working day (8 hours/day, 5 days/week, 52 weeks/year) the abortion rate in this country is roughly 6.8/minute. In other words, during the Sandy Hook incident abortions were occurring twice as fast as murders in the US.

Ms. Estrich further stated: "Forty-two years should be enough time to spend debating symbolic bills and litigating unconstitutional laws."

This is really a matter of perspective. If you believe abortion is murder, every day in the US is a non-stop Sandy Hook. Do we really expect these people not to respond to this kind of environment? Do we expect people who believe this way to act like 'good Germans' and stand by while what they believe is a holocaust occurs.

If the Left wants to get beyond this 'debate', it needs to address why abortion isn't murder. This would give the 'pro-life' half of the population a reason to get along with the abortion culture in this country. Until that time, don't expect this 'debate' to go away.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Old Navy
Sat Jan 24, 2015 6:11 AM

I saw a pregnant Black woman wearing a "Black Lives Matter" T-shirt walking a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic yesterday. The first thought that came to my mind is: "I wonder if the unborn baby has his hands up and was begging not to be chopped up and burned for electricity!

Boy, those Democrats are clearly more enlightened and humane than Republicans.

Below are some questions that provide more insights into the Democrat mind and evidence of just how much they care about others.

Question: How many aborted baby bodies does one have to burn to charge a Democrat's PRIUS?
Answer: I do not know, ask a Democrat - particularly one from Oregon.

Question: Where does a Democrat go to party after tricking a scared teenage girl into having an abortion?
Answer: The Temple of Molech 430 S. Capital St. SE, Washington, DC 20003.

Question: How do/did Democrats load those 55 million aborted baby bodies in disposal trucks to take to the power plant to be burned for energy?
Answer: They use a pitch fork.

Question: How do Democrats make an aborted baby body float?
Answer: They take their foot off its head.

Question: What is funnier to a Democrat than an aborted baby body?
Answer: An aborted baby body in a clown suit.

Question: What is the difference between an aborted baby body and a broken eagle egg to a Democrat?
Answer: The aborted baby body can be burned for energy, a broken eagle egg is a tragedy.

Question: Why do Democrats require abortion doctors to start at the legs when chopping up a late term aborted baby body?
Answer: So they can watch the expression on its face.

Democrats can only make an abortion legal, they cannot make an abortion moral.

Remember, owning Black people was legal at one time in this country. Who stopped that practice - Republicans. What party was in the background taking political cheap shots at Republicans for such actions - that would be Democrats.

Comment: #3
Posted by: SusansMirror
Sat Jan 24, 2015 6:17 AM

Consider this:

Making a person that believes abortion is murder PAY for a woman's abortion it similar to making an anti-gun nut PAY for a killers gun.

How about this deal . . .

IF Democrats would officially acknowledge that every American has a right to own a weapon of up to equivalent quality to the best weapon used by police,

Republicans would pass a actual constitutional amendment that a woman is entitled to kill her baby up to 1 week after birth using her own funds.

Then you Democrats can just have a great old time killing babies at will using your own funds and we Americans can have our weapons.

Comment: #4
Posted by: SusansMirror
Sat Jan 24, 2015 6:27 AM
SusansMirror: I was unaware that Planned Parenthood only does abortions in their clinics. I guess that means that every time I went there for pelvic exams, breast health checks, birth control, that time I had vaginosis and to discuss pre-pregnancy questions it was all a cover! How could they have fooled me like that, offering me health care that I could actually afford and secretly aborting my non-existant pregnancies! You know, I bet their pre and post natal care programs are just doctors that really suck at giving abortions!
Comment: #5
Posted by: wyn667
Sat Jan 24, 2015 6:00 PM
What is the leading cause of death in the African American Community since 1973? Think about it for a minute.

(1) Is it heart disease: 2,266,789 deaths since 1973;
(2) Is it cancer: 1,638,350;
(3) Accidents: 370,723;
(4) What about violent crimes: 306,313;
(4) What about aids: 203,695;

Guessed it yet? It happens 1452 times a day in the Black community.

It has taken over 13 million Black lives within the last 30 years.

That's right ABORTION - babies being betrayed by the very person that should love a protect them the most - the ultimate betrayal. A mother killing her baby.

Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in America and 78% of their clinics are in minority communities.

Blacks make up 12% of the population, but 35% of the abortions in America.

Hey, if Blacks want to kill their babies who am I to stop them. I would simply like to verify that Blacks understand what Democrats are helping them do to themselves.

Comment: #6
Posted by: SusansMirror
Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:09 PM
Susan, despite this recent setback by some legislators, the overall trend is toward fewer abortion clinics and fewer abortions. I suspect that the ban on abortions after 20 weeks will pass in the near future. Voters are hearing more and more about pain-capable fetuses, and are wondering how this practice could still continue in the US.
I believe that in my lifetime (I am 54), I will see an end to legalized abortion in this country. I believe that people will look back - and I hope you will too, Susan - just like they did after slavery ended in this country, and think,
how in the world was this practice ever considered acceptable?
Comment: #7
Posted by: Mary DelValle
Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:38 AM
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