Settle this issue (cont'd)

December 11, 1991

Pennsylvania has joined the challengers of that state's highly restrictive new abortion law in asking the Supreme Court to reconsider the 1973 case of Roe vs. Wade. Since most of the nine justices are already on record on the fractious question of whether to uphold or overrule the right-to-abortion decision, there is no reason why this issue cannot be decided expeditiously. Failure to do so will leave the court open to the charge of manipulating judicial process in order to accommodate the 1992 elections.

Voters as well as candidates alike are entitled to know where the court stands. If Roe is upheld, even in its present tattered form, then candidates would face a simple issue: whether to support or oppose a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe vs. Wade. If Roe were overturned, then candidates could commit themselves for or against legislation to restore the right taken away by the court. And most of all, candidates for president should be called upon to make an unequivocal commitment as to whether they would sign or veto any federal legislation designed to restore the rights under Roe vs. Wade.

Our own preference would be for the court simply to uphold Roe vs. Wade in its original form -- reasserting an unequivocal right of a woman to terminate pregnancy in its early stages. We believe that abortion is a fundamental right which should be no more subject to abridgment by state action than the right to attend or not attend whatever religious services one chooses.

As a fundamental right, abortion has no place on the political agenda. If, however, the court chooses to throw the issue back into the political thicket of Congress and the 50 state legislatures, then let it be done forthwith, so that the matter can be settled as efficiently as possible through the 1992 elections.

Confronted with a stagnant economy, runaway inflation in health care, mounting joblessness, inadequate housing, spreading ZTC urban blight and a multitude of other legitimate public items on the public policy agenda, the nation cannot afford to continue to expend its political energies on a matter that in the end, whether legal or not, will remain a matter for personal choice.

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