The media, which are inordinately fond of both Kennedys and abortion, seemed to lap it up, but don't be surprised if it politically backfires. Most Americans who support legal abortions do so despite a certain bad taste in their mouths: Sucking a baby (or even a "fetus)" from a mother's womb is at best perceived as a necessary evil and not as a great and glorious freedom to fight and die for. On this issue the Democratic Party has allowed itself to become the party of weird extremism, of pro-abortion zealots and fanatics.
In New Jersey, for example, when pro-choice GOP Gov. Christie Whitman signed the most modest of abortion "restrictions" last year -- requiring parental notification or a judge's permission for minors' abortions -- the pro-abortion lobby denounced her as a traitor to her sex. Just this week, Elizabeth Volz, president of the New Jersey chapter of the National Organization for Women, told The New York Times that Whitman had "decided that the Republican Party was more important to her than the young women of New Jersey" -- "young women" now being the politically correct term for teen-age girls who've proved their maturity by getting pregnant out of wedlock before they are old enough to vote for Al Gore.
But not to worry -- what Gov. Whitman taketh away, judges appointed by Gov. Whitman giveth back. The New Jersey Supreme Court this week overturned notification requirements on the grounds that they violate the state's equal protection laws. New Jersey's constitution, a 4-to-2 majority rules, "does not permit the state to impose disparate and unjustifiable burdens on different classes of young women when fundamental constitutional rights hang in the balance."
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.