Jon Rowe on the right to privacy:
I’m more concerned with the Griswold line of privacy/liberty cases in general than Roe in particular. Abortion deals with the moral question of whether and when a fetus is a human being with civil rights, and obviously government has a legitimate interest in protecting the life of innocent
Lawrence and Griswold, on the other hand, deal with what consenting adults do behind closed doors. And that certainly is none of government’s business and proscribing such is not a legitimate function of government.
I give an exercise to my Business Law students every semester on Roeand Casey and I can attest that many ordinary, average folks don’t understand these cases; they think that if Roe were overruled, automatically all abortions would be illegal. No, it just means that states would decide the issue and certainly many states would indeed illegalize abortion (Alabama, and a few other southern and Midwestern states). But many states, particularly in the Northeast, would retain the legality of abortion. If someone from one of the illegal states were really desperate for an abortion, all they’d have to do is travel to one of the many states, like NJ, Mass, Conn., where abortion would remain legal.
Finally, I’m not saying that I’m in favor of overturning Roe or Casey; I’m just noting that if Roe were overturned, it wouldn’t mean the end of all abortions in the US and that in many states, probably most, abortion would remain legal.
Except for the “all they’d have to do is travel” argument (I could see some particularly conservative states attempting to criminalize interstate travel to obtain an abortion, particularly without spousal consent), and the open question of how many states currently have abortion statutes on the books that would presumably go into effect again if Roe were overturned, I’m pretty much in agreement.
Mind you, it’s possible that if I did have a uterus I might feel differently about this. And, as a matter of public policy (rather than a matter of constitutionality), I think that further restrictions on abortion would be a bad idea.
Incidentally, Jon has moved to Jason Kuznicki’s Positive Liberty along with Timothy Sandefur and Ed Brayton; I look forward to seeing good things from these folks.