The Three Most Common Views on Abortion

Pro-Choice Supporters Rally In DC Against Restrictive Abortion Laws
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Nearly everyone who has a well-defined position on abortion holds views that fall into one of these three categories:

Right to Life

People who support a federal ban on abortion believe that the federal government has a moral responsibility to protect fetuses and embryos and that there is no constitutional right to abortion. Most supporters of a federal abortion ban would allow exceptions in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the woman.

Those who support a federal abortion ban usually support amending the U.S. Constitution to overturn Roe v. Wade by legislative mandate, rendering the Supreme Court's views on the matter moot.

State Decision

Not everyone who opposes abortion rights believes that the federal government should ban all abortions. The most common view among 2008 Republican presidential candidates is that the federal government should have no involvement in the abortion rights debate either way -- that state legislatures should be allowed to ban or not ban abortion as they so choose. This would be the de facto status quo if Roe v. Wade were overturned.


Most Americans and most members of the U.S. Supreme Court believe that there is a constitutional right to abortion. Under this view, most definitively articulated in the Supreme Court's majority ruling in Roe v. Wade (1973), abortion must remain legal in every state.

State laws that ban abortion, or pose an undue burden on women seeking abortions, are unconstitutional under this standard.

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