The Roe Effect

OpinionJournal points out how the issue of abortion has given Republicans winning elections ever since Roe v Wade. After that decision, the Republicans took the pro-life side in 1980, and the Democrats took the pro-choice side. Every presidential and vice-presidential nomination since then has voted their party line. Since then, Republican have taken the Senate, the House, and the Presidency. Republicans have won 5 of 7 Presidential elections, and the 2 won by Democrats were by less than 50% of the voters.

Part of this is due to what the author calls The Roe Effect: Every abortion eliminates a potential voter 18 years later; there have been 40 million legal abortions since 1973. Abortions are not randomly distributed – blacks have by far the highest percentage of abortions, followed by Hispanics, then whites. These groups vote Democratic in large numbers. If they hadn’t aborted so many blacks and Hispanics, would they then have had sufficient numbers to beat Bush the last two elections?

The author points out another advantage the Republicans have had – they are extremist pro-life only in theory. In actual practice, Republicans vote only against the worst practices such as partial-birth abortions, taxpayer-funded abortions, and a minor’s right to an abortion without parental notification, forcing the Democrats to defend these practices.

While abortion isn’t the only issue, of course, one cannot argue that being “pro-choice” has helped the Democrats in any way in the last 30 years.


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