Serving Arizona State University Online Since 1995  Current Issue: Tuesday, January 23, 2007





One group mourns,
another rejoices

Professor: Roe v. Wade leaves little room for middle ground

 by Jonathan J. Cooper
 published on Tuesday, January 23, 2007

PRO-LIFE: Justice studies alumni Christopher White and Math senior Maureen Barr (left) talk to students about abortion issues on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade./issues/news/699345
Jamie Scharer / THE STATE PRESS
PRO-LIFE: Justice studies alumni Christopher White and Math senior Maureen Barr (left) talk to students about abortion issues on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.


ASU students met the 34th anniversary of legalized abortion on campus with a protest Monday and a celebration planned for today.

Activists on both sides of the abortion debate recognized the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide, Roe v. Wade.

Anti-abortion organizations set up more than 500 small white crosses on the student services lawn.

"Cemetery of the Innocents," read a sign.

The crosses were symbolic tributes to millions of "babies killed" since abortion was legalized, said Catherine Smith, a member of the Network of Enlightened Women, one of the groups that sponsored the event.

"I'm dedicated to seeing Roe overturned," Smith said. "It wasn't a vote by the American people. It was a court case."

But for industrial design junior Tiffany Duening, a court case is enough.

Duening, a member of Voices for Choice, a pro-choice group, said women should make their own abortion decisions.

Voices for Choice will hand out food and prizes today on Hayden Lawn in honor of the anniversary, she said.

Duening said she isn't too worried that Roe v. Wade would be overturned.

But she is concerned that laws and court cases could slowly chip away at abortion rights, she said.

"Right now we're trying to hold on to Roe v. Wade," Duening said. "But I'm worried about the statewide small bans that could eventually weaken it."

In November, the Supreme Court heard arguments on a constitutional challenge to the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.

If the act is upheld, it would ban some late-term abortions.

The court is expected to rule later this year.

As an issue continually in the public spotlight, abortion will continue to be important to some voters but will probably not play a central role in the 2008 presidential election, said Patrick Kenney, political science department chair.

"The Republican candidate, similar to George Bush, will make specific appeals to certain constituencies," Kenney said. "But the overriding issue in the 2008 campaign will be the war in Iraq."

Abortion has become such a divisive political issue because "there's no easy or
clear middle ground," Kenney said.

"There's no easy compromise that's acceptable to the pro-life or the pro-choice people," he said.

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