The Abortion Debate: Finding a Forum

Policy Today magazine cover
May/June, 2006

When does life begin? While scientists strive to answer the question empirically, the world's major religions have their own answers. Somewhere between or within the two camps, each of us harbors individual feelings. Why then, should Americans cede the final word to eight men and one woman in black robes?

For better or worse, the age of instant media coverage has turned American political discourse into a barrage of short-lived concerns. But while many "big" stories prove fleeting, the U.S. abortion debate is the political equivalent of the sun rising in the east. Nearly everyone has an opinion, and stalwarts on both sides of the issue are passionate and vocal. In the 30 years since Roe vs. Wade, however, the American public has assumed that the courts are the primary venue for the discussion. Consequently, legislators on both sides of the aisle outline their stance before their constituents and pledge to promote favorable court picks if elected. It has thus been assumed that abortion is a legal issue, and to a lesser extent, a political one.

But is it either?

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