Impact of the Dobbs decision has only just begun to take effect
As the Dems are crossing their fingers and hoping against hope that the abortion issue will save their bacon in this year's midterms, the issue is instead taking a back seat to much more compelling economic and social problems. What is really happening with Dobbs is the initiation of a long overdue political process that had been delayed for decades by the judicial imposition of Roe v. Wade on the whole nation.
The several states are now on their own. Some had "trigger" laws on the books that kicked in with Dobbs. Others had old statutes that were left in place while Roe rendered them unenforceable. After decades of unrestricted access to early-term pregnancy termination, many feathers have recently become ruffled. The good news for the nation is also bad news for this year's Democrats: politicians who crave popularity are going to adjust many of the overly restrictive statutes. This process, however, takes time...and we are currently still at its beginning.
Most, if not all, states are likely to allow abortion as a form of elective surgery. The primary issue to be resolved state by state is the limit on the lateness in the pregnancy term that it can legally be performed. Should a state sanction something approaching blatant infanticide, then the Supreme Court may again get dragged back into the conflict. It would also seem politic to hold doctors harmless for declining to perform the procedure for personal reasons.
Two other facts have surfaced that have bearing on this situation. The first is that nowadays, a slight majority of willfully terminated pregnancies are done by means of oral medication rather than surgical dilation and curettage. The second has to do with infanticide being civilization's longstanding dirty little secret. Archaeological excavations in the Holy Land at Ashkelon found a large accumulation of infant skeletons in a bend in the municipal sewer. Forensic analysis found no medical defects among these remains.
To be clear, infanticide is a particularly horrible concept. Yet it remains a sad reality going back to ancient times. Modern abortion is nothing more than a clinically sanitized version of this unpleasant practice. The rising popularity of the abortion pill, which must be used early in the pregnancy, further demonstrates our desire to avoid direct confrontation with this sad reality.
Political processes usually take time. Adjusting the laws in various states may take multiple election cycles...but, ultimately, the preferences of the local voters will be manifest, and relative calm will ensue. Had Roe not been imposed by the Supreme Court back in the early 1970s, this process would likely have been completed many years ago. As a result, the politically durable solution that would have developed from the states settling the controversy on their own was thwarted by judicial fiat.
The Dems are trying to portray their political opponents as enslavers of women rather than as the long overdue peace makers which they actually are. And because of this reality, the issue is nowhere nearly as potent an electoral weapon as they hoped it would be.
Image via Flickr, public domain.