'Live Science' or Last-Minute Scare? Republicans Will Rip at Roe v. Wade

As the obsession with "ultraconservatives" who oppose abortion in every circumstance continues, some in the media are baiting Republicans to fall into the whirlpool of abortion, contraception, and the like to make this election be about anything but Obama’s record.  For example, Yahoo! News has a piece from Rachael Rettner of LiveScience discussing if Romney could overturn Roe v. Wade, which is odd since this is a column about the courts – not science.

LiveScience already has seen some controversy when it published a study indicating that low IQ and conservative political beliefs are linked to prejudice.  However, concerning abortion rights, Rettner cited I. Glenn Cohen, Harvard Law School assistant professor and co-director of the school's Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, who said that "with the justices sitting on the court now, it's very unlikely an abortion case would garner the five votes needed to reverse the ruling." 

But Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a left-leaning judge who is 79, could retire during the next administration, allowing the president to nominate a more conservative-minded judge. Another justice could retire as well.

If that happens, it's "possible to likely" that the court would have enough votes to overturn the 1973 ruling, Cohen said.

For the Roe v. Wade decision to be overturned, a case dealing with abortion rights would have to reach the Supreme Court, and there are cases in the lower courts that could easily make their way to the nation's top court, Cohen said.

Even if a case does not directly address the legality of abortion — but instead, for example, centers on whether a pregnant woman should be required to view an ultrasound image of the fetus before an abortion — the court could use the case as an opportunity to rule on Roe v. Wade as a whole, Cohen said.

It’s the sum of all fears – for liberals.

Towards the end of her piece, Rettner notes that the Supreme Court picks around eighty cases per session, and it’s not certain that an abortion case could be added to their docket in the near future.  Nevertheless, she notes from Cohen that the Court could narrow the amount of time that is legally permissible to obtain an abortion if the question hinges on if the fetus feels pain.

However, the most egregious part of the piece is the last sentence where in bold Rettner tells us to “pass it on: It's possible Roe vs. Wade could be overturned if a new Supreme Court judge is appointed who takes a stance against abortion rights.”  Yes, if scary, anti-woman Romney gets elected, American women will be harvested.  Run Away!  Rettner’s piece is extraneous to the parameters of LiveScience, and is unrelated to the issues that are the most salient in this cycle.  Roe v. Wade is not an issue in this campaign, nor has it ever been front and center concerning the economic pain Americans are currently enduring. 

Campaigns & Elections 2012 Presidential Journalistic Issues Rachael Rettner