Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Supreme Court Breaks My Heart

Of course, we predicted this when Justice Roberts and Justice Alito were confirmed as the Supreme Court's newest justices.

So, why does today's ruling upholding bans on late term abortion procedures come as such a blow to my heart? Should it be a surprise that Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy were the 5-4 majority that decided that Congress and politicians have more right to determine which procedures are available than doctors and women?

Justice Ginsburg spoke for women everywhere in decrying this step today that undermines women's moral agency and women's rights to safe and legal procedures. I can only begin to imagine what it must be like to listen to one's only other colleagues -- eight men -- debate women's lives and bodies, knowing that their words may tragically cost women's lives.

Yes, we should do everything we can to end unplanned pregnancies. Yes, we should be sure women know that the safest abortion procedures take place earliest in pregnancy. Yes, we should assure that women have access to abortion and prenatal services early on. Yes, we should encourage teenagers to involve their families as soon as possible. In a perfect world, there wouldn't need to be abortion procedures late in the second trimester...but there are.

Teenagers and low income women who didn't get care early enough. Wanted and love dpregnancies where the fetus develops a life limiting or life threatening anomaly. Health conditions that threaten the future well being of the woman involved. And in those cases, the government simply should NOT have a role in overriding a doctor's decision.

My blood ran cold when I read this online: "Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition of America, said: “With today’s Supreme Court decision, it is just a matter of time before the infamous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 will also be struck down by the court.”

We must do everything we can to make sure that does not happen.


Bill Baar said...

Striking down Roe v Wade is the best thing that could happen for the left. Check Lexington writing in the Economist a while back,

Embracing the democratic process would send a powerful signal that the Party of the People has rediscovered its faith in the people. Relying on judges to advance the liberal agenda allowed conservatives to seize the mantle of populism. Roe has given Republicans a free ride: they can claim to oppose abortion in the comfortable knowledge that it will never be banned. But imagine if Roe were overturned. How many Republicans would vote for a ban on abortion that only one in five Americans support? The conservative coalition would be split asunder.

Why too many on the left fear that popular debate and in large their right too fear it because they haven't dusted off their arguements in ages.

Cassandra said...

Bill, I saw this piece awhile back and thought it was an interesting bent on the Roe VS Wade debate.

I guess I don't see this as a male VS female issue. For me, even as a woman, I see this as a victory for human rights.

Bill Baar said...


You see the court's decision here as a victory for human right?

I think Rev H. would find it just the opposite.

I find the decision a victory for Scalia's position that a judge is no better equipped to make judgements on these moral issues than anyone else, and therefore they properly belong in the Legislatures.

It's worth noting the law upheld here finds no health exception for the mother but also specifically excludes any punishment for those found doing a partial birth abortion when the life of the mother involved... after a lengthy denial that such a procedure is ever necessary for the life of a mother...

...that's the kind of appropriately fussy law a legislature can compromise at, and a court could never, or should never, dream of grounding in a right.

It's a good law in that sense and the court right to uphold it.

Cassandra said...

Bill, I understand the why this decision is problematic, however, I'm hopeful that it might help to move this out of the Supreme Court's realm. And really, the original decision was tenuously based on a "right" to privacy. I guess my bigger point was that I don't see abortion as just a women's issue. I think it's of concern to all of society, male or female since the ramifications are so far reaching. You might enjoy this article: