The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

For nearly 50 years, the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling has protected a woman's right to an abortion. It also protected many politicians' careers. Lawmakers who opposed abortion knew that as long as abortion remained available, pro-choice voters wouldn't care much about their positions on the matter.

That would be especially true of suburban mothers. Once reliable Republican voters, they have moved toward Democrats in recent elections. If the GOP wants them back, forcing their impregnated high schoolers to bear children will not help. If Roe is overturned, more than 20 states are likely to make abortion virtually illegal, as Texas has done.

The Gallup polls show that public support for the right to an abortion has only grown stronger. Some 32 percent of adults surveyed said abortion should be legal under any circumstances, up from 26 percent in 2001. Some 48 percent want it legal only under certain circumstances, which is where the Roe decision (and I) stand. Those wanting abortion totally banned accounted for only 19 percent of the respondents.

Some politicians calling to outlaw abortion play the weasel by offering to make exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. They are total hypocrites. There is no moral difference between an embryo created in love and an embryo resulting from sexual violence.

Our partisan passions have made it fairly impossible to conduct a reasoned discussion of this issue. Many European countries have tighter rules than this country does. Germany, for example, allows abortion on request up to only 12 weeks after conception. In Sweden, it's 18 weeks. The limit here is about 24 weeks. Both Germany and Sweden permit later abortions under special circumstances. In some cases, they also pay for the procedure.

Regardless of what happens to Roe or in the states that seem ready to ban all (or nearly all) abortions, access to abortion will not disappear. Obviously, telemedicine and the abortion pill will let some women bypass local obstacles.

Then again, a bounty hunter in Idaho could hack the computers of women in Texas to find transactions related to the abortion pill. He could then report the delivery guys who dropped the pill envelopes at their doors to the Texas authorities — and collect $10,000 from Lone Star taxpayers.

Of course, there's always travel. Texas women seeking abortions have reportedly been flying thousands of miles to other states to obtain one. Maryland, Ohio and Washington are among the destinations. A reason for this long-distance travel is that clinics in bordering states, such as Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico, are overloaded with patients from Texas.

With the added hassle and expense, women who are poor or dysfunctional will be the least able to end their unwanted pregnancies. In 2014, some 75 percent of abortion patients were poor or low-income, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks these things.

To sum up, about four of every five Americans want to keep abortion legal. Roe has given anti-abortion politicians the ability to placate "pro-life" voters while not inconveniencing the others. But make one's daughter, one's wife, or oneself fly from Mobile, Texas, to Seattle, Washington, for a procedure that once was locally available, and there are going to be repercussions at the polls.

There's a silent majority here. Suburban mothers are not marching around with signs saying they want their daughters to get an abortion, but they want one if it's needed.

In recent elections, this important voting bloc has been swinging between the parties. A decision upending Roe that leads to bans on abortion could tip the scales in favor of candidates who vow to protect the right to one. That would be the Democrats, and the party's leaders know it.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Donald Trump

Image via Twitter

A year after former President Donald Trump left the White House and Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States, Trump continues to have considerable influence in the Republican Party. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a former Trump critic turned Trump sycophant, recently told Fox News that having a “working relationship” with Trump must be a litmus test for anyone in a GOP leadership role in Congress. But an NBC News poll, conducted in January 14-18, 2022, finds that many Republican voters identify as Republicans first and Trump supporters second.

Analyzing that poll in the New York Times on January 21, reporters Leah Askarinam and Blake Hounshell, explain, “Buried in a new survey published today is a fascinating nugget that suggests the Republican Party may not be as devoted to Trump as we’ve long assumed. Roughly every month for the last several years, pollsters for NBC News have asked: ‘Do you consider yourself to be more of a supporter of Donald Trump or more of a supporter of the Republican Party?’ Over most of that time, Republicans have replied that they saw themselves as Trump supporters first.”

Keep reading... Show less

Ivanka Trump, right

Image via @Huffington Post

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection moves along, it is examining Ivanka Trump’s actions that day — especially the former White House senior adviser urging her father, then- President Donald Trump, to call off his supporters when the U.S. Capitol Building was under attack. This week, Ivanka Trump’s importance to the committee is examined in a column by liberal Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent and an article by blogger Marcy Wheeler.

Sargent notes that the committee’s “new focus on Ivanka Trump” shows that it “is developing an unexpectedly comprehensive picture of how inextricably linked the violence was to a genuine plot to thwart a legitimately elected government from taking power.”

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}