abortion-on-demandIn the midst of much rethinking on the part of pro-lifers now in 2013—forty years after Roe—one question that's not often asked is whether opponents to abortion are the only ones who've been marginalized by the infamous Court decision, and what that might mean. Specifically, what of our counterparts on the pro-choice / pro-abortion / pro-unenforced-pregnancy—"other"—side of the aisle? Are they getting what they asked for?

Among other things, Jon A. Shields suggests that the sharply negative impact of Roe cuts both ways:

One of Roe’s unfortunate consequences is that it not only disenfranchised pro-life citizens; it also silenced the voices of most pro-choice citizens. Millions of citizens who supported abortion in the first trimester, but not later, were told that their policy preferences violate the Constitution.

This is an important point. And, I imagine, one that most aren't working actively to appreciate and resolve. While any legislation that protects the destruction of innocent human life is highly blameworthy, the political efforts that get us there can be very instructive, and even valuable. (The means of political engagement don't justify such a horrible end as protected abortion, but clarity can certainly arise in their course.)

Shields proposes a constitutional amendment that would allow, not require, states to ban second-trimester abortions. He suggests that this is the sort of thing that could revitalize authentic political contributions to the debate, insofar as negotiation and middle ground (between absolute right to life and abortion on demand and without apology) would become much more realistic prospects.

Shields's solution is an interesting one; not necessarily the best, or even a worthwhile, option in reality. But the general idea, to understand and work at resolving the core of the Roe dilemma, is spot on, and indeed highly reflective of the situation that all Americans face, now four decades along under a regime of false absolutes and imposed political impotence.

At the very least, what we've learned is that pro-lifers aren't the only ones who should be concerned about Roe. They're not the only ones who've been disenfranchised.

Andrew M. Haines is editor and founder of Ethika Politika, and co-founder and chief operating officer at Fiat Insight.