Beyond Roe and Wade

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Is it possible to re-cast the debate on abortion? Are we stuck with the same arguments, framed thirty years ago and repeated at regular intervals since? John Roberts’s Supreme Court nomination is already reviving America’s favorite and most divisive political debate. In this country, abortion defines candidates and wins or loses elections, but is there a way to actually make the problem better? It can start, we hope, at least, by trying to think of it in a different way.

Chris, in a meeting this morning, described the prospect of a family locked into a living room that no one likes. It’s impossible to paint the walls a different color or move the ottoman; the arguments are old and intractable, so we sit on the couch we all hate and glower at each other.

But what if we just moved?

Frances Kissling

President, Catholics for a Free Choice

Author, Is There Life After Roe?.

from Robin’s pre-interview notes:

Essentially what I have put forward is the notion that the abortion question has to some extent deteriorated because it’s only viewed as a political question. When you put an issue that is as essential, an almost primordial question related to reproduction, to life itself, when life will be be allowed to come to fruition and when it will not, you are really touching on issues that are more than political. There is enormous dissatisfaction throughout the whole country with the political reality and the courts, that this is something which is either legal or illegal. That doesn’t settle the question.

What I’m saying is that to some extent, those of us on the pro-choice side have to move beyond the discourse of the law, the courts, and Roe, to cultural and moral terms. Not because of the Democrats, but because of the reality and desire for a conversation with multiple components.

William Saletan

Author, Bearing Right: How Conservatives Won the Abortion War

Chief Political Correspondent, Slate

Stuart Taylor Jr.

Senior writer and columnist for National Journal and a contributing editor at Newsweek. He’ll join us from his office in Washington, DC.

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