No one on the pro-choice side wanted Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization to be decided and the abortion issue left to the 50 states to decide, with all the uncertainty and confusion that has created.
Having said that, there is something happening in politics around the country the likes of which we haven't seen before.
It's real, and it's powerful.
This time, it's in Ohio.
You need 413,446 valid signatures to get a constitutional amendment on the fall ballot.
Groups supporting a proposed abortion rights amendment, in a show of widespread support, delivered nearly double that number of signatures this week to the secretary of state's office.
"Today, we take a huge step forward in the fight for abortion access and reproductive freedom for all, to ensure that Ohioans and their families can make their own healthcare decisions without government interference," Lauren Blauvelt and Kellie Copeland of Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom told reporters in a statement.
"The 422 boxes are filled with hope and love and dreams of freedom, of bodily autonomy, of health, of being able to say, 'We decide what happens to us.'"
Ohio's proposed amendment uses Michigan's newly enacted amendment as a model, providing for "a fundamental right to reproductive freedom" with "reasonable limits" after viability, which is typically around the 24th week of pregnancy and was the standard under Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) .
These are not the fights we were looking for.
But they are the fights that were foisted upon us.
And here's the point.
They may prove that we are not a 50-50 nation, but more like a 55-45 nation or a 60-40 nation --- that is, that on many of the "old" social issue flash points, like abortion and gay marriage, we have in fact moved beyond the narrow right-wing views of a rigid minority that our politics no longer reflects.
What if there really is a new middle that will emerge if we let it?
In the first statewide test following Dobbs Kansas voters protected abortion rights last August. Wisconsin voters turned a judicial election into a referendum on abortion.
Meanwhile, four other states in addition to Michigan, whose language Ohio tracks —California, Kentucky, Montana and Vermont — have either enshrined abortion rights or rejected constitutional restrictions to it.
There was a time, not so long ago, when Democrats were afraid of these social issues.
That time has passed.
The public stance toward these issues has changed as have the voting demographics of this country. It's the right wing of the Republican Party that is hopelessly out of touch and that, if put to the test, might actually be exposed as such.
On issue after issue on the social agenda, the Republican Party has lost touch with its traditional conservative and libertarian/contrarian base.
Those who thought that Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., might give any voice to an outsider or contrarian viewpoint are left shaking their heads, wondering if RFK Jr. has some secret sauce (he doesn't), or whistling Dixie.
In the meantime. On a state-by-state basis. Abortion is serving as an organizing and energizing tool. It will be on ballots in the fall of 2024. It will energize voters.
My generation may be tired of writing abortion briefs, but a new generation is learning that they hold their fate in their hands and they have the power and the responsibility to control it.
Passivity is not an option. Politics is essential.This was not our choice.
The choice was made for us.
But we may yet benefit from it, in how it changes our politics, in ways we did not expect.
Susan Estrich is a politician, professor, lawyer and writer. Whether on the pages of newspapers such as The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post or as a television commentator on countless news programs on CNN, Fox News, NBC, ABC, CBS and NBC, she has tackled legal matters, women's concerns, national politics and social issues. Read Susan Estrich's Reports — More Here.