All-Star Panel: Lessons learned since Roe v. Wade

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," January 22, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


NANCY NORTHUP, CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS PRESIDENT: Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe versus Wade and we are using this ad to bring attention to the fact that it's time to draw the line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, hey, baby. Did you think I forgot? I didn't forget. How could I ever forget our anniversary? All these years, so many people say we'd never make it. They've been trying to tear us apart, take you away, put limits on you, on me, on us.

CHARMAINE YOEST, AMERICAN UNITED FOR LIFE PRESIDENT: Over the last two years since the mid-term elections of 2010, Americans United for Life is the legal arm of the pro-life movement. We have seen 50 bills that we've been involved in that a pro-life legislation passed in to law.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, that ad there raised eyebrows, as you can imagine. This is the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court opinion Roe versus Wade, 40 years ago. Pro-life groups are out with ads as well. This one is on a website, it details the number of abortions since 1973. And that number actually is at the bottom of the page, 54,559 -- I'm sorry, 54,559,615, I should say.

We're back with our panel. This is obviously leading up to a big, big fight. There have been statewide efforts, Charles. This administration is committed to pro-choice. Where do you see this standing right now?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well what's interesting is that unlike the other social issues, like legalization of drugs or gay rights, abortion is one where the pro-abortion side, the liberal side, is not the wave of the future. And what is interesting is that if you look at the opinions of the younger generation, they are more pro-life than others in the other age range, which is again surprising and different from the other social issues.

And so I think it is one that will remain in contention for generations. And the lesson here, especially for the gay rights legislation, that the court is going to look at -- do not repeat Roe. Roe happened at a time when there was a rapid social change. Ronald Reagan had signed the most liberal abortion law in the country. The major states were changing, liberalizing. And this put a stop to all of that. It decreed a liberal success long before it was generally in the culture and it created all this social tension. Let the people work it out in the states, in referenda, but not to do it by decree on high. I hope that the court learned that lesson and won't do the same with gay issues as well.

BAIER: Fox poll right before the election, A.B., had the split pro-choice, 50 percent, pro-life 42 percent. You know, depending on the poll, it is a fairly close split, maybe a change here and there.

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: Those people would argue that using those terms is not really accurate polling. Everyone is pro-life, even if they support the right to an abortion. So that's the problem, is that when you look at other polling, there is a majority in the high 60s in support for Roe and legal abortion.

That said, the fight that the pro-life movement has waged on restrictions and access has been very successful, and they have succeeded in enacting restrictions across the country in almost every state that has reduced access to abortion that has frankly taken the pro-choice movement a little bit by surprise.

BAIER: Hundreds of thousands turn out for pro-life march -- the March for Life here on the Mall.

JONAH GOLDBERG, AT LARGE EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: Yeah, I'm a little [INAUDIBLE] here. I thought that ad was absolutely repugnant and political counterproductive and grotesque. Because basically what they're doing is trying to make it into some sort of late night joke about what a lot of people consider to be mass murder. And that is disgusting. And it's one of these things, that we get in the age of Obama, of the sort of smug liberalism that makes a joke of other people's principled dissent. And I found that repugnant.

That said, also, the problem with Roe and Doe -- its companion case Doe -- isn't just that they short-circuited the democratic process, they were terrible constitutional law. Most serious liberal legal scholars think they are a joke and they've distorted our politics for a long time coming. Whichever side you come down on it is not the way the government should run.

BAIER: Much more to talk about this in days ahead ahead. That's it for the panel, but stay tuned for a case of mistaken identity.

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