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Obama's wink and nod on abortion

During an Oval Office meeting with Senate leaders yesterday, President Obama symbolized the sorry, misleading state of public argument about the Supreme Court. He insisted that he has no “litmus test” on abortion for his Supreme Court nominee, while asserting that his choice will interpret “our Constitution in a way that takes into account individual rights, and that includes women’s rights. And that’s going to be something that’s very important to me.”

So no litmus test on abortion -- except the protection of “women’s rights,” which everyone in the room understood as a reference to abortion. Obama’s pose of neutrality came with a theatrical wink and nod. Everyone got the joke.

Of course a Democratic president is going to propose a Supreme Court nominee committed to abortion rights. Don’t Republican presidents do the same on the other side? Not really. There are few mainstream voices in conservative legal circles that would urge the Supreme Court to apply 14th Amendment protections to developing life from the moment of conception. All the conservatives currently on the court would merely allow democratic processes on abortion to work in the states -- as they were working before Roe v. Wade.

The conservative Supreme Court litmus test (and there is one) concerns the return to a democratic process that may or may not result in restrictions on abortion – a process that would allow liberal abortion laws to remain in place in most of America. The liberal Supreme Court litmus test (and there is one) mandates an outcome -- a general abortion right -- that cannot be democratically overturned. The conservative litmus test allows pro-choice Americans to fight for their views and, if they persuade a majority, prevail. The liberal litmus test prevents pro-life Americans from prevailing, no matter what a democratic majority is persuaded to believe.

In spite of his protests, Obama is employing and defending a litmus test, which insists on a certain controversial constitutional interpretation, which imposes a legal and ethical outcome on the entire country.

By Michael Gerson  | April 22, 2010; 3:17 PM ET
Categories:  Gerson  | Tags:  Michael Gerson  
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Comments

One more time.

A citizen's right to Constitutional protection is not a matter of a popularity contest.

Remember how popular Jim Crow laws were? People were willing to kill to defend them.

Posted by: Robynmarigny | April 22, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Very thought-provoking. I too, noticed Obama's inconsistency in dismissing the litmus test but also requiring protection of women's rights. Somewhat oxy-moron-ical.

Posted by: RambleOn | April 22, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I don't buy it. President Obama was almost certainly also referring to the Ledbetter case in his argument for women's rights, so in fact I would argue precisely the opposite of Gerson. An Obama appointment will defend the rights of women, broadly construed, while Conservatives have been focused very narrowly on overturning Roe v Wade.

Posted by: bertram2 | April 22, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Yes I am sure conservatives everywhere would rally around the cry, "We should be able to vote on whether or not to kill unborn babies." This is a silly simplification of a complex issue with valid points on both sides. It is either a human rights issue regarding a fetus' right to live or a human rights issue regarding a woman's right to make choices about the biological contents of her body. Human rights are protected by the constitution not voted on by the people and it should not be up to a vote either way. I personally find a pregnant woman with full cognitive capacities to be more deserving of constitutional protection than an unborn collection of cells with limited biological functions and zero cognitive capacity, but that's just me...

Posted by: devin3 | April 22, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Gerson you ar a Republica.

Which mean abortion is a Political issue
not a public issue.

When we see that you are responsible for the many issues involving abortion, such as adoption, fixing the adoption complex, making it easier to adopt US babies.

Then I MAY and only MAY listen..

PROVIDED that you are concerned as a public issue and not another GOP generated Political issue.

Like you did with Healthcare Reform..which is only a GOP political Issue

ISA

Posted by: Issa1 | April 22, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

In 2004, George W. Bush liked to envoke the Dred Scott decision when talking about who he wold select for a judge. Was this not a wink and a nod at the anti-Abortion crowd who has long used Dred Scott as a comparison to Roe v. Wade? You were behind that wink and a nod campaign, were you not?

Posted by: kreuz_missile | April 22, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

"Don’t Republican presidents do the same on the other side? Not really."

Sure. It's just a coincidence that the last five Republican appointments happened to be conservative Catholics.

Disingenuous much?

Posted by: rashomon | April 22, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

This doesn't make sense, Michael. Republicans will pick a candidate who supports their view on how abortion rights should be decided, just like Democrats will. It IS the same thing, the difference between the two is the level of government that can decide.

Posted by: Section506 | April 22, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

The only thing that that "controversial constitutional interpretation" is "imposing" is the assertion that a woman should have some say about her own body. On the other hand, you and your ilk would prefer to impose your personal beliefs upon everyone else.

Posted by: jaybee4 | April 22, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

It is also ironic the circular logic: no personal opinions, just one who "strictly interprets the Constitution." so what does it mean to "strictly interpret the constitution?" Normally, rejecting Roe v. Wade.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | April 22, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, Missy: if we can get "50 percent plus one" to agree to your medical procedure, then so be it. And, we'll be back next week to vote on your freedom of religion. And, after that, your freedom of speech. And,...

Posted by: vinceporter | April 22, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"The conservative Supreme Court litmus test (and there is one) concerns the return to a democratic process that may or may not result in restrictions on abortion – a process that would allow liberal abortion laws to remain in place in most of America."
----------------------------
Gerson, I still say you are a real piece of work. How much doodie can you spew in one day?

Posted by: OHREALLYNOW | April 22, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Both conservatives and liberals should stop kidding about a neutral Supreme Court. There is no such thing, the present justices have shown their biases strongly by electing Bush and declaring corporations to be persons with the right to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence public policy. Nothing strictly constitutional about those decisions. Those who wish to impose restrictions on a woman freedom of choice of course want another "strict" interpreter of the constitution on the court that will overturn Roe vs. Wade. As if the constitution had anything to say about it. And no liberal is ever going to vote to confirm a Supreme Court justice that openly advocates overthrowing Roe vs. Wade. The whole charade of neutrality is quite stale. Most people prefer to see a Supreme Court that increases personal freedom, not one that decreases it, regardless of how anyone else likes to interpret the constitution. A "strict" interpretation is the legal equivalent of a "literal" interpretation of the Bible.

Posted by: serban1 | April 22, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

You people keep barking up the wrong tree.

If you're so staunchly against abortions, you need to direct your demands to people who are getting the abortions.

Instead, I see the wackos constantly trying to create laws to control other people's behavior.

For those of us who already have raised our families, you're making us sick.

Why not bark at your GOP members and try to force them to do what you say.

Try to get to your target audience, the ones who are seeking and obtaining abortions, and quit trying the either blame everybody else, or force more "goverment control" on people.

Posted by: lindalovejones | April 22, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Gerson: Don’t Republican presidents do the same on the other side? Not really.

The liberal litmus test prevents pro-life Americans from prevailing, no matter what a democratic majority is persuaded to believe.

______________________________

in what alternate universe do you preside? conservatives have fought time and time again to reverse roe v. wade and don't kid yourself into thinking that the repubs won't do whatever they can to vehemently reject any nominee that shows the slightest tendency to support and uphold women's rights.

Posted by: countdown2009 | April 22, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, this is the one blind spot from conservatives. They feel the need to let democracy settle everything...even if it means trampling the rights of the minority. I hasten to tell them that they might be minorities one day...and then see what happens.

Posted by: brandonesque | April 22, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

In the six years you were pimping for Bush, Gerson, you alleged "do-gooding" pro-lifers had control of the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court.

How come abortion is still allowable?

Why didn't you do something about it when you had the chance?

What's your excuse, you hypocritical piece of effluent?

Posted by: WhatHeSaid | April 22, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, Obama is "wink and not" on everything. "The People" are waking up to the reality that Bush is gone and in his place is a tax and spend Liberal with Socialist leanings on Big Government taking over America's free-market economy. His year and a half in office is marked by high unemployment, unimagined spending, weak foreign relations, socialized medicine and a takeover of the economy by a corrupt government that is rightfully distrusted by 76% of Americans.

Posted by: 2009frank | April 22, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"So no litmus test on abortion -- except the protection of 'women’s rights,' which everyone in the room understood as a reference to abortion. Obama’s pose of neutrality came with a theatrical wink and nod. Everyone got the joke."

Wow. So Gerson completely defines women by their ability to carry babies. For the rest of us, the protection of "women's rights" refers to concern over violence against women, equal pay for women, equal opportunity for women and a host of other issues--along with the right to autonomy.

Conservatives have been "winking" at women's rights long enough.

Posted by: multiplepov | April 22, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

The fact is that abortion is legal in the United States. It has gone to the Supreme Court several times and has been reaffirmed several times. The Republicans have been lusting after that fifth vote on the Supreme Court for years precisely to overturn Roe Vs. Wade, and -- like Roberts and Alito -- were willing to lie to the Senate to get on the Court. Bush said that "activist judges concern me." Yeah, that there weren't enough of them. Women's rights deserve to be protected by the Court, something Republicans don't do very often.

Posted by: rbmurals | April 22, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Abortion rights forever. Down with the morons who are against it. And you are a moron if you are against it. Don't have one yourself but try to stop others from having one if they want. Find some other moral issue to occupy yourselves you idiots.

Posted by: davidsawh | April 22, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Whoever Obama picks will be light years better than the four dummies who want to take the country on a trip to Franco's Spain.

Posted by: rusty3 | April 22, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse


Gerson you really don't get it.

Republicans will not actively repeal abortion ever.

They need it to run on against Democrats.

If there was ever a time to repeal access to abortion it was during the years when Bush had a Republican majority in Congress + a SCOTUS that was heavily in their pocket.

But that would have been "work."

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | April 22, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I propose a law restricting the discussion of the abortion issue to two weeks in August.

Posted by: chucko2 | April 22, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, once again you show your gross stupidity. I can't understand why anyone pays you. But in hope of enlightening you, the president's statement was entirely clear: He's looking for a nominee who will protect everyone's rights, which is more complex than using abortion rights as a litmus test. Can't you Fascists ever get it right?

Posted by: jlhare1 | April 22, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

"Sadly, Obama is "wink and not" on everything. "The People" are waking up to the reality that Bush is gone and in his place is a tax and spend Liberal with Socialist leanings on Big Government taking over America's free-market economy. His year and a half in office is marked by high unemployment, unimagined spending, weak foreign relations, socialized medicine and a takeover of the economy by a corrupt government that is rightfully distrusted by 76% of Americans."

I cannot imagine a grosser distortion of the last year if I tried. That this drivel is a mantra amongst the right is demosntration of the sad intellectual state of the right and the reason I left the GOP.

No one is taking over the free market. I will repeat that NO ONE. Our free market system almost collapsed recently dead head and required the gov't to prop it up. Unless of course you wanted another great depression. You had a limited set of choices. Free market propped up the gov't or a free market in free fall into depression.

The unimagined spending was to prop up economy from an unimagined financial crisis. Again limit set of options. Prop up the economy or have it fall even more then it did.

High unemployment. Not a product of any of the above. Caused by the economic crisis. It could easily have been 20% instead of 10%.

Socialized medicine? Where? Certainly not in this health bill.

Takeover of the economy: What limited pieces the gov't has a stake in running will be liquididated within 1-2 years. Some have already been liquididated, some will be shortly. No one in the gov't has any desire to run any of these industrys. That you think they do is paranoia.

Corrupt gov't: Well I can't argue with that. There is a lot of corruption in our gov't.

Posted by: kchses1 | April 22, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Except the rights for one part of the population should not be overturned by a vote.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | April 22, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Last time I checked, a woman's right to choose was the law of the land; i.e. "Roe v. Wade". Why would Obama go out of his way to pick an anti-abortion candidate? Why are you writing on this? Fresh out of Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin idiocies?

Posted by: shapiromarilyn | April 22, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

These online newspapers charge for those annoying advertisements based on click-through rate:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Click-through_rate

When a write like Gerson hasn't been getting the visits he needs, he writes an annoying piece on a hut-button issue like abortion to satisfy the editor's demands for CTR.

Remember, it's a business. Gerson doesn't care about any of these things. His niche is the rightwing nutjob, he has to satisfy their pandering needs, as well as get the liberals who hate them the most to show up and whine.

Posted by: barferio | April 22, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

First it was Thiessen, the torture apologist, wondering whether a fetus feels pain. Now that's the issue of the day.

Now your idiocies on abortion which is, after all, the law of the land. Abortion is a political wedge issue on which the GOP has fed for many years -- nothing more, nothing less.

Where does the Post get former Bush speechwriters like you and Thiessen and why should anyone care what you think? This is real bottom feeding.

Better that your return to "going to bat" for the Pope on pedophile priests, and that was about as low as you can stoop. Shameful!

Posted by: harper-d | April 22, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Yes I am sure conservatives everywhere would rally around the cry, "We should be able to vote on whether or not to kill unborn babies." This is a silly simplification of a complex issue with valid points on both sides. It is either a human rights issue regarding a fetus' right to live or a human rights issue regarding a woman's right to make choices about the biological contents of her body. Human rights are protected by the constitution not voted on by the people and it should not be up to a vote either way. I personally find a pregnant woman with full cognitive capacities to be more deserving of constitutional protection than an unborn collection of cells with limited biological functions and zero cognitive capacity, but that's just me...

Posted by: devin3 | April 22, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

**********************************************************************************
Not to mention a woman right to privacy in a medical decision between her and her doctor, and not have Tom Delay making the decision for her.

Posted by: ORNOT | April 22, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Imitating Castro, Chavez, and the rest of the Marxist thugs who are destroying Latin America, dictator Obama promotes abortion. He not only supports abortion but also infanticide (late-term abortion). He will not say it openly, but his record and actions demonstrate it.

Dictator Obama is stealing from us (and from our children and grandchildren) to fund abortion not only in the U.S. but also in other countries.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | April 22, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

"Don’t Republican presidents do the same on the other side? Not really."

If Gerson really believes that, I'm not so sure what planet he's been living on. But he doesn't really believe that, now does he? Which means he's a liar, which we already knew from all his other disingenuous pieces.

Posted by: pejesq | April 22, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gershon, please say hello to your fine as hell sister Gina for me. I see she got the talent in the family.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | April 22, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

"Don’t Republican presidents do the same on the other side? Not really"

OMG, how did he type this without LOL?
whatta liar!

Posted by: newagent99 | April 22, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

If YOU believe abortion is murder, dont' have one if you're female, and if male,don't have sex unless you wish to father a child (and the woman wishes to get pregnant).

Better yet, if you believe abortion is murder , then get a visectomy for your sons .. they can have it reversed when they're married.

problem solived

Posted by: newagent99 | April 22, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson - I believe you do a disservice to our country with this article. I am all for women's rights. Aren't you? Would you be willing to die during childbirth...particularly if the pregnancy was caused by rape or if the baby had no chance of living a normal life? I am taking the argument to extreme, but you should be careful about your judgments since you have never been in that position. Many women have been in that position, and many have died in the distant past. Some are still dying. Abortion is a valid option in many cases. You do not have the right to make the judgment about another person's options.

Posted by: ThelmaMcCoy | April 22, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

"All the conservatives currently on the court would merely allow democratic processes on abortion to work in the states -- as they were working before Roe v. Wade."

If the process had been working we wouldn't have needed Rove v. Wade. Allowing or disallowing medical procedures by state makes zero sense. If only politicians would worry about politics and leave "morality" alone...

Posted by: leuchars | April 22, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Women's health issues aren't the concern of anyone but the woman, her family, and her doctor. Why do conservatives, men in particular, want to intervene in women's health issues? People who are against abortion in any situation don't have to have one. But all women should be able to make their own health choices without a group of conservative men in the examining room.

Posted by: MNUSA | April 22, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Gerson is a winking and nodding expert!!

Posted by: Freethotlib | April 22, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse


Does Gerson understand that abortions are already legal?

Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | April 22, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Abortion is not this country's big problem. It's greed.

Posted by: SarahBB | April 22, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

""The People" are waking up to the reality that Bush is gone and in his place is a tax and spend Liberal with Socialist leanings on Big Government taking over America's free-market economy. His year and a half in office is marked by high unemployment, unimagined spending, weak foreign relations, socialized medicine and a takeover of the economy by a corrupt government that is rightfully distrusted by 76% of Americans."

Posted by: 2009frank


Wow! that was complete BS, Frank!...

Posted by: vigor | April 22, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
22 April 2010

Conservative pundit [and former George W speechwriter] Michael Gerson is obviously critical of President Barack Obama's statement to the effect that abortion will not be a litmus test in his decision to pick a nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

He is obviously reading more than what President Obama's statement literally denotes. Mr. Gerson wants to distort that statement to mean that in fact President Obama will use abortion as a litmus test. In effect, he wants to put words into President Obama's mouth--but words which the president cannot be tricked into uttering.

What's wrong with making sure that a Supreme Court nominee for the position of a Justice will protect and defend the U.S. Constitution as well as a woman's right to privacy?

The law of the land on abortion is the Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade, right? And does not that ruling clearly postulate that a woman's right to privacy is constitutional protected?

So what's Mr. Gerson's problem?

Mariano Patalinjug
MarPatalinjug@aol.com

Posted by: MPatalinjug | April 22, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Talk about tone-deaf last century talking points.

Here we have the unpatriotic America-hating Republic Party of No comrade Gerson pontificating about stuff nobody cares about anymore.

Why don't you move to Costa Rica with your Party Leader and the rest of your comrades, Gerson?

We won't miss you and your lies.

Posted by: WillSeattle | April 22, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I hope it was a wink and a nod. After the sick Taliban-wannabees nominated by Reagan and W. Bush, there is a serious need for balance. Since the Party Of No, and their unstable attack dogs, are determined to bring further national destruction, Obama should stop going overboard to please them and focus on principle.

Posted by: revbookburn | April 22, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Let's see...doctrinaire Roman Catholic Gershon sees no litmus test involved in Republican presidents putting four rigidly doctrinaire Roman Catholics on the Supreme Court, plus one slightly less doctrinaire one (Kennedy).

If someone says they're a devout Roman Catholic, you don't need to ask what they think about abortion.

I don't think most Americans realize the consequences of what countries under the Catholic Church's thumb do about abortion.

Consider Mexico. Right now, in Mexico a TEN YEAR OLD GIRL is being forced to carry her fetus to term, after having been raped by her stepfather. Her state, Quntana Roo, forbids abortion after 90 days and the little girl is past that. Case closed.

Here's the UPI link:
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/International/2010/04/20/Pregnant-girl-sparks-abortion-debate/UPI-42751271766063/

This case isn't unusual, by the way. It's a routine outcome in Latin American countries.

To have this barbarism applied here would be Gerson's dream of heaven on Earth.

Remember, the Catholic Church's official position is no abortion under any circumstances, regardless of the age of the female, regardless of incest or rape, regardless of whether carrying the fetus to term endangers the life of the mother.

The Church Universal also opposes the use of condoms and all other birth control devices.

This on a planet whose human population has quadrupled since 1900, & which is growing at a rate of over 140 additional people per minute.

And you thought its protection of pedoPriests was its worst sin.

Catholics really should consider more humane religions that still preserve the ancient rituals, such as the Episcopal church.

I'm neither Catholic nor Episcopal, so I don't have a dog in this fight. But really, if you love your fellow man and want to follow Christ, and want your church to reform, you need to leave.

Because the Catholic Church won't listen to your pleas and complaints about its Medieval abortion policy. The only thing it will listen to is shrinking numbers of tithing adherents.

www.blogzu.blogspot.com

Posted by: ehkzu | April 22, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Pah, Americans pay for abortions in China every single hour of the day. The Right is full of magical crap that stinks and sinks against most applications of reason.

The ostensible will of a magic dead man, a lot of bloody sign waving, hatred, murder, terrorism, and no end of stupid sadly can not stand next to the truth in the open light of day.

Mr. Gerson, don't just do the research you want to do. The truth doesn't lie there.

Posted by: Nymous | April 22, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson, why don't you commit yourself to carving the next two years out of your schedule to go down and do some volunteer work in Haiti?

People who seem to be so staunchly committed to bringing more unplanned pregnancies into the world are often missing in action where it concerns helping the needy and the poor in our world.

Posted by: sthomas1957 | April 22, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

"The conservative litmus test allows pro-choice Americans to fight for their views and, if they persuade a majority, prevail. The liberal litmus test prevents pro-life Americans from prevailing, no matter what a democratic majority is persuaded to believe.

In spite of his protests, Obama is employing and defending a litmus test, which insists on a certain controversial constitutional interpretation, which imposes a legal and ethical outcome on the entire country."

Well said!

Posted by: kwoods2 | April 22, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

This is a disingenuous analysis that is so self righteous in its defense of the Right that it completely defies belief.

The fact is that this is not an easy issue. The Right's position isn't as clear cut or as simple as Mr. Gerson suggests. And the debate is ultimately about when life begins, a question that is hard to answer because we don't really understand what we mean by life.

At some point a mass of cells that appears otherwise lifeless transforms to become a human being. It does so inside the body of another human being. In fact, until a certain point, even with the most advanced technology, we could not create the human being without the mother.

Most people, even on the liberal side, do not condone the termination of the life of a baby. But, that cannot surely mean that the mother has no right to decide what happens in her body. For instance, would you argue the same if the woman's life was in danger? What if the woman is in the first trimester? What about before the egg has attached itself to the womb? What about when the egg hasn't descended into the womb? What about in an ectopic pregnancy?

If you agree that in some of these cases the woman's life may take precedence then you have in effect acknowledged that this is a murky issue.

The conservatives have a moral position, which isn't the law as it stands now. The GOP "test" for a judicial nominee amounts to judicial activism, i.e. overturning 30 years of judicial precedent through reinterpretation of the law. If conservatives want a political remedy, than can always pass a constitutional amendment overturning Roe v. Wade.

Obama, in his writings, unlike Mr. Gerson, was significantly more nuanced and demonstrates a deep understanding of the complexities of the issue. There are political remedies that can address this in a more mature manner. We don't need more judges who reinterpret laws to their political convictions.

Posted by: autish2 | April 22, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Why does a paid publicist for the Republican party get to pretend to be a real journalist here at the WaPo?

Posted by: turningfool | April 22, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Mr Gerson says:

"The conservative Supreme Court litmus test (and there is one) concerns the return to a democratic process that may or may not result in restrictions on abortion – a process that would allow liberal abortion laws to remain in place in most of America."

May or may not result in restriction on abortion? Has he heard about the restrictions on abortion the state legislature is trying to put in place in Oklahoma? The ones that include a mandatory ultrasound exam before an abortion with a requirement that it be done by vaginal probe if it gives a better image? This law would require a teen aged rape victim to to submit to having a probe inserted in ########## before she could abort a fetus conceived by sexual assault.

There is no doubt abortion would be prohibited in Oklahoma and in states like if is Roe v Wade were overturned.

The freedom of a woman to decide what to do with her own body should never depend on what state she happens to live in.

Posted by: MsAlley1 | April 22, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it funny how conservatives get so worked up about states' rights, except when states take positions which differ from those of conservatives? Abortion rights, restrictions on handgun ownership, gay marriage, and marijuana are all issues which states had taken positions on prior to any Federal court decisions and/or statutes. When the courts uphold something conservatives happen to like, that's not viewed as judicial activism, except when courts strike down something conservatives don't like. What a bunch of hypocrites.

Posted by: stillaliberal | April 22, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

It's sad, that even today, a president of a modern nation has to qualify his reference to the importance of preserving individual rights under our Constitution, with a, "that applies to women too," clarification.

That a writer for the Washington Post is unclear on the basic concept, that women are human beings, is just, laughable.

Posted by: btmsp | April 22, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, Gerson, Gerson - you are really something. I guess women only have a right to choose but what about workplace discrimination (Ledbetter Act).

So Pres. Obama "winked and nodded" about choosing someone who cares about women's right - WOW - how dare he especially since Republican President didn't - yeah right.

Posted by: rlj1 | April 22, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

GINA GERSHON IS SO HOT

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | April 22, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

As a woman, I am pleased that our president went on record to affirm that individual rights, and women's rights are not mutually exclusive, like some on the right would have us believe. What gives these moral legislators the notion that they can wield machine guns in public, spew hateful speech freely, but have a say on how much women can earn for the same work and litigate our bodily integrity?

Posted by: Jose5 | April 22, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Those who make the laws should, also, have to comply with them.

No legislator or Supreme Court Justice should be allowed to vote for any law which does not, also, affect them directly and with which they don't have to or can't comply. Therefore, no male, who obviously would not be directly affected by abortion laws, should be allowed to vote for any law regarding abortion restrictions, inasmuch as there are no restrictions on decisions a man may make about his own body.

Posted by: BettyW1 | April 22, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Don't care about abortion pro or con, just want to know how to get Michael Jerkson out of the Washington Post.

Who asked you?

Posted by: lambcannon | April 22, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, regardless of political persuasion, education, perspective, beliefs, family upbringing, power, wealth, possessions, or any other influence you may think you have on the outcome of mankind - YOU DO NOT, EVER, under any circumstances, have any decision authority over a woman's right to choose what happens to her body - PERIOD.

You are the lowest form of planetary scum to even entertain a thought otherwise.

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | April 22, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

I lost all respect for the anti-abortion crowd when it became apparent that none of them have a problem with illegal immigrant children being denied health insurance in the so-called reform bill. They want to protect the unborn but could care less about children once they are born. Hypocrites all of them and that includes you, Mr. Gerson!

Posted by: paris1969 | April 22, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

A woman should have no "right" to have her baby killed because she does not want it.If she does have "right" to have her baby killed why not at any time.

Posted by: Imarkex | April 22, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

People, it's not a CHOICE! It's a life! No one should ever have the right to take away the life of another human being regardless of whether it's inside her body. This is the biggest social injustice of our time. I cannot understand how women who have had children and have seen and felt the life inside you can be for abortion. It's absolutely absurd.

That aside, Gerson's point is that the conservative LEGAL view of abortion is not to make it illegal. The conservative legal point of view is that what is specifically not articulated as a federal gov't role in the constitution shoudl be left to the states. Therefore, if they overturn Roe v. Wade, it wouldn't make abortion illegal it would put it back to the states so state legislatures could decide.

Conversely, for liberals, the position is that you massage the interpretation of the constitution to incorporate all of these "implied" rights as they see them. No way - the constitution was very specific about the LIMITED rights and authority of the federal government over the states. Anything that wasn't specifically articulated in the constitution should be left to the states (10th Amendment). If you read the federalist papers, etc. these are the thoughts of our founding fathers. They were EXTREMELY wary of an overreaching and overly centralized federal government.

Posted by: jsypal | April 22, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Who pays Gerson for this???

Posted by: shaldar44 | April 23, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Abortion is legal. Get over it Gerson. Wink and nod all you want to. Abortion is legal.

Posted by: kurthunt | April 23, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

President Obama is an extremist on abortion. For he agrued that doctor's should be able to kill a baby who survives an abortion.

Communist China forces families to abort their children. But China also prohibits their people from viewing pornography on the internet. Why? Because China doesn't want their people to become homosexuals, rapists and child molesters.

Remember pornography,abortion and sodomy are laws of the land of America as determined by our Supreme Court. America land of the slaves to abortion, pornography and sodomy.

Posted by: Chuck8764 | April 23, 2010 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Sour grapes. Of course Bush appointed those he thought might overturn Roe v. Wade. Conservatives don't dislike activist judges, as they claim. They just dislike activist judges whose views don't conform to the GOP platform.

Posted by: readerny | April 23, 2010 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Gerson has never been correct about anything in his opinion pieces. It was also his idea to hang the "Mission Accomplished" banner.

Posted by: ginabw | April 23, 2010 4:04 AM | Report abuse

conservatives cry foul if you legislate industry or commerce but they don't hesitate to legislate our bedrooms and dr.s offices.

Posted by: blinwilly | April 23, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

While I do not agree with Obama's vision for the country - I remain most trouble by his ease and willingness to say anything that sounds good to sell his vision and agenda - basically lying on a constant basis. I really feel ashamed to have someone so willing to lie so often.

Posted by: lynnman1 | April 23, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

This is preposterous. By this reasoning, overturning Brown v. Board of Education would merely return to the "democratic process" the question of whether individual states or communities choose to segregate their schools, while upholding the Court's precedent would "mandate an outcome." With due respect, I suspect Mr. Gerson would benefit from a basic high school civics class lesson on the role of the Supreme Court in our system of government.

Posted by: PaulF2 | April 23, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

How fascinating that right wingers are so certain that women's rights distill to just abortion. Women have no other problems in our current society. Their pay levels being low or sexual harrassment are mere piffle and unworthy of discussion or legal protection.

As we all know America's right wing fights bravely if not heroically to see to it that women are not ever beaten and abused by their husbands or boyfriends. They pay their female employees the same salary for the same work as they do for men and they never harrass any female with requests for sex or make jokes at her expense about her sexuality.

If we believe the above paragraph to be true and valid, then women's rights is strictly a matter of abortion which is a problem to be setteld between a woman, her mentors and her physician.

It is not a matter for a religious leader to define as being murder as soon as an ovum meets a sperm cell. I will relent on this point as soon as a religious leader takes a fertilized ovum home and raises it into a viable child without massive medical intervention.

Let us witness their faith create an event that science is incapable of replicating. Let us see their deity back up their words for them.

Let us see them verify that they are not just trying to control the behavior of poor women. None of the abortion laws have any significant effect on the rich and upper middle class. They simply go where abortions are legal and available and deal with their needs as they see fit. It is the poor who are restricted from settling their affairs and meeting their personal needs as they see fit.

Posted by: palnicki | April 23, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Considering the fact that this "Administration of death" has proclaimed and vigorously supports a policy of being an extremely zealous pro abortion administration, is there anyone who is so blind as to think that Obamanation will not appoint a Supreme Court Justice that "boot steps" to his political and immoral views?

His administration is steeped in the philosophy of "relativism" which declares that there is no sin unless I say it is sin, there is no wrong unless I say it is wrong. He has no moral compass!

And as usual, he practices his art of deception, learned through his legal training, which is to give an answer which can be construed in differing points of view, which is not a denial of what he will do, but gives rise to the question as to whether he will do what he says he wont do. This man is doing nothing but feeding the fires of division among all of us!

Welcome to the Socialist Republic of the United States of America! Open your eyes and watch as this nation slowly crumbles into obscurity, like the Old Roman Empire!

Posted by: Jordan48 | April 23, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Well now, the "President of Death" has spoken! He will, but he wont, but he will!
This man is a deceiver and a liar, plain and simple!

Posted by: Jordan48 | April 23, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Well now, the "President of Death" has spoken; "I will, but I wont, but I will." The only time you can tell for a certainty that he is lying, to the American people, is when his lips are moving!

Posted by: Jordan48 | April 23, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

What in the world is Gerson doing under the "Post Partisan" heading?

Posted by: lycg | April 23, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

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