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New York Times Editorial: If Roe v. Wade Goes

It is no secret that Mitt Romney and his running-mate, Representative Paul Ryan, are opponents of abortion rights. When Mr. Ryan was asked at last week’s debate whether voters who support abortion rights should be worried if the Romney-Ryan ticket were elected, he essentially said yes.

They would depart slightly from the extremist Republican Party platform by allowing narrow exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the woman. Beyond that, they would move to take away a fundamental right that American women have had for nearly 40 years.

It would not take much to overturn the Roe decision. With four of the nine members of the Supreme Court over 70 years old, the next occupant of the White House could have the opportunity to appoint one or more new justices. If say, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the oldest member, retired and Mr. Romney named a replacement hostile to abortion rights, the basic right to abortion might well not survive.

The result would turn back the clock to the days before Roe v. Wade when abortion was legal only in some states, but not in others. There is every indication that about half the states would make abortion illegal within a year of Roe being struck down, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The Center for Reproductive Rights, which challenges abortion restrictions around the country, puts the number at 30 states. For one thing, abortion bans already on the books in some states would suddenly kick in. And some Republican-controlled state legislatures would outlaw abortion immediately.

Read the complete editorial on the New York Times website >