Jun 27, 2022Liked by Sarah Haider

I think, ultimately, not so far in the future, the abortion question is resolved by technology. Someone develops an artificial womb, and someone else develops a procedure that can be had during the first trimester that moves the baby into it. The zillion dollar bill on the sidewalk is just too tempting.

At that point pro lifers 'win', so to speak, in that abortion becomes (give or take a generation and some edge cases that are never invoked) illegal, but they never 'win' in the sense that history will continue to regard them as the present regards them, as the antagonists of Very Special Episodes.

In the near term, I think that the repeal has a fairly muted outcome, in favor of pro choice politicians. It motives some people to vote who would not have otherwise bothered. This effect goes down over time as people experience the reality that the difference between the pre world of 'if you discover you are pregnant and need an abortion you go to a planned parenthood and get one' and the post world of 'if you discover you are pregnant and need an abortion you go to a planned parenthood in another state and get one' is far from the real world/mad max schism that it is being painted as.

I disagree about the idea that, in the longer term, people move between pro choice and pro life camps as the result of this. I hear you about the media, sympathy, etc, but it seems to me like those things were true yesterday as well. As far as evidence goes, all I've got is this, that If being the bad guys to the culture makers was going to persuade pro lifers and/or keep young people from joining them, their movement would have died sometime in the last 50 years.

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David R

just now

I think you’re absolutely correct. Thanks.

Among other factors, finally reframing gay marriage as marriage equality shifted focus and helped create change. Similarly maybe pro-choice could be reframed. “Pro” suggests there is a “con.” Maybe some revised and updated versions of the old standbys Family Planning or Planned Parenthood. Maybe Reproductive Health Equality. (I’m not good at this naming stuff so please chime in.)

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I very much appreciate this article. While understandable, some of the panic seems over the top. “They’re coming for your birth control next!” People don’t seem to realize that the court can’t just rule on things whenever they want. There would have to be a birth control-related lawsuit working its way through the courts. Is there any evidence that this is happening?

Meanwhile, I’ve seen people reacting to this by saying things like “riots work” and “the only way to gain/protect rights is through violence.” I find this to be really stupid because a) the riots of 1967 helped usher in Nixon, so how is it that riots work exactly? And b) people who say things like this, who think that the processes of democracy don’t work, have likely never participated in them. Change is often accomplished through boring things like meetings and phone banking, and you often don’t get your way. It’s much more fun to take to the streets and get high on the euphoria of being surrounded by people who agree with you.

All of this is a long way of saying that I think you’re right and I hope people don’t burn things.

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I agree with everything you said. But the biggest factor holding progress back on this topic is that many of the people who individually may favor the legalisation of abortion in certain circumstances are part of cultures and communities where they can't freely express these opinions. It is similar to the gay marriage topic, but the position on abortion is much more strongly held in these communities. It seems like an extremely long road ahead to break down those cultural barriers.

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Good points! Also this vs. thinking is misunderstanding. Noboady wants more abortions. Best results for society require safe abortions, affortable contraception and proper sex education.

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the youngest age cohort is more more prochoice after decades of generational stagnation (driven by secularization)

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What do you think will happen now that wouldn’t have happened without this decision?

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The logic makes sense, but I don't think it matches the electoral configuration. Red states are heavily gerrymandered (so are blue, but that doesn't matter in this case). Most of the pro-choice forces are in the urban areas, but the their political power is split up. Austin for example, is split into multiple districts that overlap with rural areas so that voting power is diminished.

In that world, there still isn't a lot of incentive for a heavy R district to run on "compromise" because they will get primaried from the more motivated Christian pro-lifers.

And those demographics show national averages, not state level, and I suspect that's heavily biased by the populous coasts. No way Missouri (where I live) is getting less Christian. The urban areas (St. Louis & KC) are flat in population growth because their most ambitious residents move to places like Austin or the coasts.

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Hi Sarah, this is the best essay I know of regarding the quagmire of abortion. Caitlin Flanigan writing in The Atlantic, 2019. Really should be read and here is an excerpt:

"The argument for abortion, if made honestly, requires many words: It must evoke the recent past, the dire consequences to women of making a very simple medical procedure illegal. The argument against it doesn’t take even a single word. The argument against it is a picture."


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I agree that the pro choice side is better positioned to get more of what it wants. The shock of suddenly losing a right will likely be a stronger force than the desire to eradicate something most people think should be guaranteed.

My worry is that the pro choice side will squander the opportunity by demonizing pro lifers as misogynists. I fear blue states will react to red state restrictions by allowing abortion even at the point of birth.

A national level resolution is better than each state doing its own thing. But neither side is going to completely triumph. Core beliefs on both sides are too strong for either to accept final defeat.

The first side that makes a small concession, that accepts the validity of the other side’s view while sticking to its own, will probably have an edge. I hope that will be the pro choice side (say, if they pair Hyde amendment repeal with a third trimester ban), but ideological purity could easily win out.

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I knew we were going to lose Roe in 2015, when I discovered how many Intersectional "feminists" were trashing the feminism of the Second Wave.

The ONLY wave of feminism that accomplished anything tangible for women was Second Wave feminism.

It was the Second Wave that gave us Roe, Title IX, Title X, laws against marital rape, rape shield laws, domestic violence shelters, the criminalization of domestic violence, and laws against sexual harassment.

The other "waves" have been a joke by comparison. "Free the nipple" feminism was especially egregious and it basically slut-walked us off a cliff.

I agree that over-turning Roe could have an up side, not the least of which is to acknowledge that biological sex is not only real, but is the most common axis of oppression in human history.

Genetic women need to STOP apologizing for caring about sex based human rights and STOP taking a back seat to every other type of oppression.


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