Thursday, February 15, 2007

Giuliani & Abortion

Ace characterizes Giuliani's position on abortion:

He's basically parrotting Bush's position, which is, felicitiously enough, my position, and a principled, coherent position to take on the issue. Put strict constructionists on the court to adjudicate not legislate new dubious rights, and Roe may or may not fall, and then the states can decide on the question (and three quarters of states will be pro-choice to one extent or another, meaning women seeking abortions in a pro-life state will have to face the grim decision of a back-alley abortion or buying a Greyhound ticket to Chicago).

This is very close to how I put it a little while ago.

Giuliani is stating no position on Roe vs. Wade, but he's swearing up and down he'll nominate strict constructionist judges. My guess is that he wants conservatives to anticipate a post-Roe world. Ace has done exactly that. I did that too. It's clearly a pretty good bet that lots of other conservatives will as well.

Eventually someone will call him on it. That is, if Giuliani goes around everywhere saying 'I have no opinion on Roe, but I'm going to appoint judges like Scalia, Roberts and Alito,' and his conservative supporters go around saying 'I can live with states setting policy on abortion,' someone is going to put two and two together. I mean, can Rudy succeed by saying 'I have no position on Roe,' while his supporters all see him as practically promising an end to Roe?

Also, credit to Ace for noting that Giuliani's position on abortion really doesn't seem all that far from Bush's. They both support some federal restrictions on abortion (partial birth and parental notification, notably). They both favor strict constructionist judges. And both have made clear their intention not to pursue policies to dramatically reduce or eliminate abortion. There remain open questions that might make clear that they do differ in important ways (taxpayer financing, coverage in health plans, and other potential questions), but until Giuliani defines his views more clearly, I don't see a big difference.

A rose is a rose is a rose. Bush describes himself as pro-life; Giuliani as pro-choice. That doesn't necessarily mean that they're all that far apart - in terms of practical effect.

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