Support for rushed abortions drops; Roe fan calls for free speech

Two particular items in the news feed this morning warrant attention, no matter where you are post-Roe.

Drive-through abortions losing public support

Among the abortion regulations gaining traction in various states is a 24-hour waiting period between the time a woman gets medical counseling for an abortion and the time the abortion is induced.

I heard operators of three of New Hampshire’s freestanding abortion facilities testify last year that by the time a woman arrives at an abortion facility – oops, a “full-spectrum reproductive health facility” – she already knows what she wants. Ergo, why waste time on barriers like finding out about who’s going to do the procedure, complication rates, and fetal development – not to mention pregnancy support options available in the community?

I call a one-stop pregnancy confirmation, counseling, and abortion process a drive-through abortion. Great for abortion facility revenue, lousy for women’s health. Evidently, I’m not the only one coming around to that view.

A recent Rasmussen poll of 1000 likely voters found that 49% favored some kind of waiting period before an abortion. 39% were opposed, while 11% were undecided. Rasmussen reports that support for a waiting period is at its highest level in two years.

Roe supporter criticizes “buffer zones” as case comes to Supreme Court

In today’s Wall Street Journal, a self-described supporter of Roe v. Wade strongly encourages the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Massachusetts’s 35-foot “buffer” against peaceful pro-life witness outside abortion facilities. Read Floyd Abrams’s “Abortion Rights as a Free-Speech Flashpoint.”

On January 15, the Court will hear oral arguments in McCullen v. Coakley, the challenge to the buffer zone. (Note that the Massachusetts attorney general defending the law, Martha Coakley, has run unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate and may yet have her eye on a federal-level office.) In his article, Abrams draws a distinction between laws against physical obstruction and intimidation of people entering an abortion facility and laws that ban all peaceful pro-life advocacy outside those facilities. He says that the former are “narrowly drafted and do not raise any plausible First Amendment objections,” while the latter are an example of “overbreadth.”

His remarks on how the views of the ACLU have changed regarding free speech in this context are interesting, and enormously revealing of the policy priorities of the group. “The old ACLU got it right,” says Abrams.

New Hampshire legislators will consider a buffer zone bill during the session that begins this week. That’s premature at best, with the Massachusetts case still pending.