First, on the subject of adoption: Amy Coney Barrett said that no woman really needs to have an abortion because she could put the child up for adoption instead. But I think genetic technology has made that a lot more complicated. Consider a case that Rod Dreher reported on a few years ago. A young woman was raped by a family member, exactly the situation for which a large majority of Americans support abortion. She had the child and gave him up for adoption, everything was hushed up, and she went on to lead what looks like a fairly normal life. But then her child, using matches in an online DNA database, found his birth family and brought the whole thing out into the open, leading to a lot of pain and angst. I think this is the future that any young mother has to consider, because there can no longer be any hope for secrecy.
And then this:
The case that could lead to the end of Roe v. Wade includes a novel argument: that the right to an abortion is no longer necessary because it has become much easier for women to combine work and family.
In Roe, the Supreme Court said that an unwanted pregnancy could lead women to “a distressful life and future,” and in a 1992 case, Casey v. Planned Parenthood, that abortion rights were necessary for “women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the nation.”
On Wednesday, the court is hearing a case from Mississippi regarding a law banning most abortions after 15 weeks. In a brief to the court, lawyers for the state argued that those ideas about women’s lives had been obviated by “the march of progress.”
“In these last 50 years,” Mississippi’s attorney general, Lynn Fitch, said in a statement, “women have carved their own ways to achieving a better balance for success in their professional and personal lives.”
This isn't really true, and an unplanned birth is still an economic catastrophe for single women. (Mississippi in particular does almost nothing to require paid leave for childbearing or to support poor mothers.) But I would say that this argument shows one of the problems with the way Roe v. Wade was originally argued and decided. The court has said repeatedly that part of the government's interest in abortion is economic, in that abortion keeps women in the work force. I think that is a lousy argument and it shows that the court was basically floundering around to find a constitutional justification for their belief that abortion is a woman's right. The result is, I think, a very weak legal argument that has stood so long for purely political reasons.
I have always thought that although I consider Roe v. Wade a bad decision without any real constitutional justification, it was probably better for the nation to have it settled by the Supreme Court rather than becoming an even more toxic political issue that will only add to our already disturbing partisanship. I think we are soon going to find out if that is so.