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Ramesh Ponnuru

Three Truths About Abortion and the Supreme Court

Precedents can be abandoned. But there is no guarantee that will happen to Roe v. Wade.

Abortion opponents in 1989. 

Abortion opponents in 1989. 

Photographer: Mark Reinstein/Corbis Historical via Getty Images

Abortion isn’t mentioned in the Constitution, but it is the main topic in the debate over replacing retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. We are certainly going to hear a lot of polarized rhetoric about abortion over the next few months. But we should keep in mind three middle-of-the-road truths.

First: The public is ambivalent about abortion. People who favor legal abortion can point to a lot of polls that appear to show them in the majority. Because it’s a Supreme Court nomination we are going to be debating, right now they are especially eager to note that polls have pretty consistently shown strong support for Roe v. Wade. In the most recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, two-thirds of Americans supported it.