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Abortion and Political Realignment

Richard A. Baehr

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The debate over abortion has been an emotional one for thirty years in America. It is an issue on which partisans have shown little ability or willingness to compromise. When one side considers the procedure murder, and the other a constitutionally protected right, there is no split-the-difference compromise in sight. Certainly, some political realists on the pro-life side of the debate, anticipating that abortion will not be banned outright, have attempted to move the goalposts a little in their direction, by working to ban partial birth abortion or institute parental consent requirements in individual states.

But one aspect of the abortion issue that is rarely addressed is the impact of the legalization of abortion on the country's political demography.  By this I mean: what of the  absence of the 40 million-plus who were never born since abortion was legalized?  Has their non-existence affected the political balance among those who are left among us? Given that Roe V Wade was decided in 1973, only those who would have been born between 1973 and 1986 would now be eligible to vote (in New York State from 1970 to 1986), about 40% of the total number aborted or 15 million eligible voters.  Put another way, the absence of those who were aborted, only began showing up in elections after 1991 (1988 in New York state).

One astute observer who has noticed all of this is James Taranto, of the Wall Street Journal's Opinionjournal.com website. He even coined a name for the phenomenon: the Roe Effect. "If a pregnant woman chooses tomorrow to have an abortion, the result in 2021 will be one fewer eligible voter--and that's a statement of fact, not a moral judgment. If tens of millions of women have abortions over decades, as they have, it will eventually have a significant effect on the voting-age population."

Read the entire article on the American Thinker website.

Posted: 1/7/04



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