Brooks and his Roe-Colored Glasses

All sorts of people and parties have been blamed for the conservatives’ reckless threat to go nuclear in the Senate. But New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks reveals that at the root of all of this is…the Roe v. Wade decision. Like a kneejerk radical conservative, he attempts to blame all our political problems on the infamous Supreme Court decision, contending that “Unless Roe v. Wade is overturned, politics will never get better.”

While you’re shaking your head in confusion, let me explain his logic: By removing the abortion issue from the legislatures, Roe “suppressed that democratic abortion debate the nation needs to have.” As a result, all battles over judges are really battles over abortion — no matter what people say.


Mr. Brooks will have to excuse those of us who find it hard to believe that hard-lined conservatives feel justified in trashing a 200-year-old Senate tradition because of their belief that a single Supreme Court decision is illegitimate and must, at all costs, be overruled. The Roe decision has hardly stifled debate over the abortion issue; joined only recently by gay marriage, Roe is often all we hear when the right needs an example of “what’s wrong with our country.”Moreover, if abortion were left to the states, we’d hardly end up with the nice, middle of the road approach that Brooks would lead us to believe. The Center for Reproductive Rights predicts that if Roe were struck down, 30 states would outlaw abortion in short order. Even now, with Roe still technically in place, states have done a dandy job of regulating abortion almost out of existence: 87% of United States counties do not have an abortion provider. And Congress has certainly done its part to help. In just the last two years, Congress has passed three major bills related to abortion and has several more in line.

If Brooks took off his Roe-colored glasses, he’d see that the Supreme Court decision was actually a victory for proponents of limited government. It effectively states that there are some areas that government should not regulate (or should regulate only minimally) and abortion is one of them. Instead of castigating abortion as the downfall of minority rights, perhaps he should attack the real culprits — those who seek unchecked majority rule regardless of the issue. And he can start with those trying to go nuclear.

– Jessica Arons