Talking Points Memo has a nice catch: Norm Coleman, the former senator from Minnesota who is on the Republican Jewish Coalition’s board, tells Jewish voters in Beechwood, a Cleveland suburb, that Roe v. Wade will not be reversed.
I heard something similar from the RJC director, Matt Brooks, when I was in Tampa at the GOP convention in August, but Coleman is more unequivocal:
It’s not going to be reversed.
Coleman’s argument echoes Brooks’ — there have been conservatives in the White House and on the Supreme Court since the 1980s and it has not been reversed.
That suggests to me preparation, and that suggests that Republican Jews realize the degree to which the topic unnerves Jewish voters who might otherwise consider a Republican. Interestingly, Beechwood has a high concentration of Orthodox Jews; when I was in Cleveland during the 2008 election, McCain-Palin signs predominated, and I hear the same is true about Romney-Ryan now.
As TPM, notes, Coleman’s statement would appear to directly contradiict, at least in tone, Romney’s expressed hope that the Supeme Court would reverse its 1973 ruling that granted weight to a woman’s right to privacy in considering the legality of abortion. It’s not clear from his statements that Romney would proactively seek a reversal of Roe v. Wade.
Also important: Brooks, not of the campaign, was speaking as a partisan analyst. Coleman is an adviser to the campaign.
Coelman acknowledges a degree of nuance in the matter:
We have fights over the edges on that, parental notification, partial birth abortion, etc.
Pro-choice groups would argue that these fights would more accurately be described as successes, at least in the case of late term abortion, where opponents have accrued success passing a federal ban and getting it upheld by the Supreme Court. Most states require some form of parental notification.
Also, there would likely be a difference of opinion as to whether such laws are discrete, as Coleman suggests by describing them "on the edges," or whether, as pro-choice groups argue, they tend to influence the overall culture, and inhibit access to abortion even among women not directly affected.