« John Steele Gordon: Debt and the Constitution
Michael Ramsey
| Main | Can the Federal Government Take State Property?
Mike Rappaport
»

12/18/2012

Andrew Koppelman: Originalism, Abortion and the Thirteenth Amendment
Michael Ramsey

Andrew Koppelman (Northwestern University Law School) has posted Originalism, Abortion and the Thirteenth Amendment (Columbia Law Review, forthcoming) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Does an originalist reading of the Thirteenth Amendment support a right to abortion? Not long ago a negative answer seemed obvious enough to make the question silly. Since then, however, originalism has become more sophisticated. It is now understood that original meaning, not original intent, is the most appropriate originalist source of constitutional law. The original meaning of constitutional language sometimes focuses on paradigm cases: specific evils that the Constitution aims to keep from recurring. The Thirteenth Amendment’s purpose is to end the specific institution of antebellum slavery. A ban on abortion would do to women what slavery did to the women who were enslaved: compel them to bear children against their will.

Thanks to Michael Perry for the pointer.