Vogue says overturning Roe means the US is not a ‘functioning democracy’ – here’s why they’re wrong

June 24, 2022

By Tim Worstall

Vogue reacts to the overturning of Roe v. Wade and it is possible to wonder how much they grasp the subject. For example: “[I]t’s still jarring — to say the least — that we now live in a country with no constitutional protections for abortion.”

Most countries don’t – they have laws passed by the legislature which allow it. It’s long been the U.S. that was the oddity with the constitutional right, rather than the normal passing of a law.

This is more than just some weird gotcha point because it leads in to what is then quoted:

“America isn’t a functioning democracy. It hasn’t been for some time.”

The overturning of Roe makes America more of a democracy, not less. If abortion is a constitutional right, then it’s something that voting and normal politics is not able to affect. Maybe that’s the way it should be too – we’re not expressing a view on that. But clearly, if abortion stops being a constitutional right and becomes something decided by State legislatures then that is more democracy, not less. Because, you know, people get to vote for legislators who then vote on abortion – democracy.

As the Vogue article goes on to say:

“Now, abortion rights will be up to individual states to grant, and some local politicians, including New York Attorney General Letitia James, have pledged to accommodate abortion-seekers in their states. James wrote on Twitter on Friday, “While other states strip away the fundamental right to choose, New York will always be a safe haven for anyone seeking an abortion.”

That’s democracy – that’s more democratic than the previous situation.

Again, we want to emphasize, we’re not here taking a view on right or wrong or what the law should be even as we obviously, like everyone else, have our own views. It’s that abortion as a constitutional right was, in many ways, anti-democratic as it meant that democratic politics was not able to decide upon nor even influence the subject. Perhaps that’s as it should be, perhaps it should be such a right – again, we are not expressing a view upon that here. But it is clear and obvious that making abortion subject to democratic politics, politicians, voters and legislatures, is more democratic than when it was a constitutional right. 

Vogue is, as we all know, part of the Conde Nast empire and as such is not short of the ability to research matters properly. The website alone gains some 16 million visits a month. We expect more accuracy from such an outlet.

It’s entirely possible to have any view one wants about the overturning of Roe. But it is factually incorrect to call it undemocratic – subjecting abortion law to legislatures is the very definition of democracy.


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