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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

20 October 2005

Roe, the bad decision

Richard Cohen, of the Washington Post, has a column today on Roe v. Wade (1). I sympathize with Mr. Cohen’s position, which is why I quote him at length:

“The very basis of the Roe v. Wade decision -- the one that grounds abortion rights in the Constitution -- strikes many people now as faintly ridiculous. Whatever abortion may be, it cannot simply be a matter of privacy.

That right of privacy, first enunciated in 1965 in Griswold v. Connecticut, once made sense. It overturned a state law forbidding the use of contraceptives by married couples. The average person could easily understand that a right of privacy was at issue here. If the government telling you what you can and cannot do in your own bedroom is not about privacy, then what is? The Connecticut law had to go. If the state legislature wasn't going to take it off the books, then the court had to.

Abortion is a different matter. It entails so much more than mere birth control -- issues that have roiled the country ever since the Roe decision was handed down in 1973 -- and so much more than mere privacy. As a layman, it's hard for me to raise profound constitutional objections to the decision. But it is not hard to say it confounds our common-sense understanding of what privacy is.”

Mr. Cohen concludes that whatever one’s views on abortion, “a bad decision is a bad decision.” I agree. Much of the rancor over abortion issue can probably be explained by its inconclusive settlement in 1973.

(1) Richard Cohen, “Support choice, not Roe,” Washington Post, 20 Oct 05 (link)


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