Giuliani's Support For Abortion Rights Could Help Overturn Roe

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Abortion Rights

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's (R) support for abortion rights and opposition to the "constitutional logic" used in the 1973 Roe v. Wadecase could help abortion-rights opponents "win" the abortion debate atthe state level, Eric Johnston, a graduate student of theology at Catholic University of America, writes in a New York Times opinion piece. Giuliani is running for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

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Although Giuliani has expressed "ambivalence" about Roe,which effectively barred state abortion bans, such ambivalence is"consistent with his belief that judges should not seek to achievepolitical ends," according to Johnston. Abortion-rights opponents"should applaud, not condemn" such a philosophy because it is also theposition "consistently articulated" by their "favorite" Supreme Courtjustices and because Giuliani "promises to nominate judges who are'strict constructionists,'" Johnston writes.

According toJohnston, Giuliani would be the "most effective advocate" forabortion-rights opponents "precisely because he is unreligious and asupporter of abortion rights" and because he would not be "perceived astrying to advance his own religious preferences." Other Republicanpresidential candidates, such as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Hukabee and Sen. Sam Brownback(Kan.), "would preserve the status quo for the abortion debate," butGiuliani "just might win it" because he believes that the government"should not use public money and public space to insult the values ofthe people, including social conservatives."

Only a "constitutionalist who supports abortion rights can create an anti-Roe majority by explaining that the end of Roe means letting the people decide, state by state, about abortion," Johnston writes (Johnston, New York Times, 9/14).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyWomen's Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for emaildelivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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