MINOT, N.D. — A Texas law banning abortion after a heartbeat is detected has been allowed to stand by the U.S. Supreme Court.

We live in an unnuanced time, so the reaction to this development was glee from the right and Armageddon from the left — "It’s worth noting that many of the same people attacking the Biden Administration for leaving women’s rights behind in Afghanistan are eager to control women’s bodies and choices in the United States," wrote disgraced former journalist Dan Rather on Twitter.

A note of caution: late Wednesday night, a 5-4 majority of the court wrote that their forbearance was based on matters more procedural than substantive.

“The applicants now before us have raised serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law at issue,” the court’s majority wrote. “But their application also presents complex and novel antecedent procedural questions on which they have not carried their burden.”

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Even so, the judicial winds seem to be blowing in the pro-life movement's favor.

Let's try to take some of the hot air out of the sails and dwell on what's important.

Is the goal to reduce abortions? Or scoring political points with restrictive laws?

Some of you will argue that the latter promotes the former, but we have a long and ugly legislative history, from alcohol prohibition to mask mandates, which tell us that passing a law is one thing and enforcing it is another entirely.


There was a black market for abortions prior to the Roe vs. Wade decision. One that persists even today. The more restrictive abortion laws become, the more likely it will be that women turn to that black market to get what they're seeking, and that's not an outcome any caring human being should want.

Lots of people have sex before marriage. A study published by the National Institutes of Health found that in 2002, nearly two decades ago now, some 77% of Americans had sex by age 20, with 75% saying it was premarital sex.

By age 40, about 95% of participants in the study said they had premarital sex.

This isn't a modern development. "Among those turning 15 between 1954 and 1963, 82% had had premarital sex by age 30, and 88% had done so by age 44," the study found.

That's our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.

Do restrictive laws stop abortion? A 2018 study from the CDC found a 26% decline in abortions between 2006 and 2015. During that time, many states passed restrictive abortion laws, but access to sex education and contraception also improved.

Which do we credit more?

That's a debate for another column.

The point, for this one, is if we're going to have restrictive abortion laws, let's also promote sex education and easy access to contraception toward the goal of making those laws a moot point.

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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at rport@forumcomm.com.