Imagine that today’s March changed the mind of one or two justices and as a result the Court were to overturn its 1973 holding as poorly reasoned and wrongly decided (both true). This would have the effect of allowing states once again to set up their own laws governing abortion. Some states would quickly enact a series of prohibitions or limitations, from outright banning of abortion to severe restrictions on its practice. Other states, one supposes, including some of the most populous such as California and New York, would almost certainly maintain near-limitless permission to abort children. It’s quite possible that the number of abortions would be reduced as the practice was outright banned or severely restricted in some parts of the country, but it’s also likely that those with means would simply travel where abortion would be legal, and even possible that the pro-choice movement would provide funding to pregnant women of limited means. One certainly can’t predict in advance what would happen, but it’s at least conceivable that as long as some states permitted abortion on demand, that the number of abortions would hardly drop.
On the other hand, imagine that seven (or even just four) justices remained convinced that Roe v. Wade should remain the law of the land, but that American people’s view of abortion was transformed—that it came to be widely accepted that abortion was simply wrong, that it came to be widely held that it was the taking of an innocent human life, the brutal murder of the weakest and most needy among us. Abortion would remain officially legal but increasingly unpracticed—indeed, unthinkable as something a civilized person would do.
These are not necessarily mutually exclusive scenarios, but given a choice between the two, I’d hastily accept the latter.