Abortion Rights and the Constitution
Re ''Not All Abortions Are Equal,'' by Ross Douthat (column, New York Times on the Web, June 9):
The reason for a constitutional right to an abortion -- and to free speech and to due process -- is not that ''where there are exceptions, there cannot be a rule.'' It's that the only way to keep the exceptions narrow is to start with a strong right, and let the courts define its boundaries through ''reasonable distinction-making.''
The courts do take note of the popular will when they survey state laws to discern the evolving standards of decency, and over the years they have fashioned ''saner, stricter legal regimes'' for many seemingly clear-cut constitutional rights. They're fully capable of doing the same for abortion.