(This started as a comment at Uppity’s place)
I was in junior high when Roe v. Wade was handed down. I remember the issue being debated in class. There is nothing quite like a bunch of virgins debating reproductive rights. It’s kinda like the Vatican, only with kids instead of old farts.
Some people thought the abortion issue was settled once and for all time. They were wrong.
Now, almost 40 years later, here’s my take:
Most Republicans don’t really care all that much about the abortion issue. They nominally oppose it but they really don’t want to fight about it. They have other priorities.
The same goes for the Democrats but in reverse. The fact is most people really don’t think about abortion very much or very often. It’s not a subject you deal with on a daily basis.
Both sides have a minority that cares passionately about abortion. In order to keep that minority happy, both sides pay lip service to the issue. Every election the issue gets dragged out of wherever they keep it stashed and put up for everyone to see – just like Christmas decorations. Then when the election is over it gets boxed up and put away.
In fact, it’s kind of a game the Republicans and Democrats play. Every once in a while a red state fundamentalist politician will introduce some bill proposing a draconian new restriction on abortion. Left wing advocacy groups swing into action, sending out emails to rally the troops and requesting donations to fight against the bill.
Usually the bill gets voted down or amended to remove the objectionable stuff. Occasionally the bill gets passed and is then vetoed. On rare occasions the bill makes it into law and is then appealed. It’s been a while since any significant new restriction on abortion made it past the courts.
Here’s the dirty little secret – neither side wants to win this fight. As far as the Republicans and Democrats are concerned it’s win-win as long as the fight continues. They both use abortion as a shiny thing to distract us from other issues.
And that’s my take.