Ellen Andersen

Abortion Ban Upheld by the Supreme Court

Filed By Ellen Andersen | April 18, 2007 12:03 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, Samuel Alito, Sandra Day O'Connor, Supreme Court

From the Wall Street Journal:

The Supreme Court upheld the federal ban on a disputed abortion procedure, handing abortion opponents the long-awaited victory they expected from a more conservative bench. The 5-4 ruling said the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and Bush signed into law in 2003 doesn't violate a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.

So what does this mean, really? I've only just glanced at the ruling, but it appears that the Supreme Court has effectively tossed out the "undue burden" test. It's going to be open season on abortion legislation in the next few years. Expect states and the federal government to pass restrictive laws designed to make it increasingly difficult for a woman to terminate her pregnancy.

And take from this ruling the principle that the President's power to appoint justices to the federal courts really does matter. When Justice O'Connor stepped down from the Supreme Court in the summer of 2005, President Bush appointed Justice Alito to succeed her, replacing a moderate justice with a conservative one. Justice O'Connor was the swing justice on a host of important Supreme Court cases (including the abortion cases) and her replacement by Alito puts a number of precedents at risk.

Expect the Supreme Court to revisit the following issues: the constitutionality of affirmative action programs (a decision will be coming on this issue within a month or two); the constitutionality of direct government aid to religious schools; the constitutionality of displays of the 10 Commandments; the right of patients to get a second doctor over an HMO's objections; and the standard of reasonable competence required by the 6th Amendment on the part of defense counsel. It's going to be a bumpy flight....


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Ruth Bader Ginsberg had this to say about the majority's opinion: "cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away a right declared again and again by this court, and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women's lives."

Wilson46201 | April 18, 2007 12:55 PM

Everybody who voted for "compassionate conservative" George W. Bush must take responsibility for these Supreme Court decisions. He announced clearly he was going to appoint extremely conservative Supreme Court judges and he did.

Elections have consequences!

Yes, indeed, it looks to be that things will get much worse before they get any better.

I am pro- life, myself, for I can only speak for myself. When it comes to all other women, I am pro-choice.

My arguement to those who wish to take away a woman's right to choose, will always be the same- if you are so concerned about the right to life, then please start, by opening your homes to the flood of children that are already growing up in a very broken foster system. Not to mention that changing the adoption laws would be a good place to start as well.

Jen Jorczak | April 18, 2007 5:52 PM

Thanks for posting Ellen--I was too busy in the office all day to alert Bilerico fans.

It is a sad sad day when 5 Supreme Court Justices decide to put their personal ideology ahead of the constitution and ahead of the lives, health, and safety of our citizens.

This likely means more bad news from the court and from our state legislators--as we see so often, too many of our legislators are all too willing to put their own ideology first!

The only solution I can see is that more of us have to run for office.

Joe Miller | April 18, 2007 7:19 PM

Today's ruling is an outrage. How dare a majority of this court tell
100,000 women in our country that the advice and decision that their
doctor is giving them about the best way to perform a critical,
frightening and life-endangering procedure on their body is not a
decision that should be made by their doctor. Rather it's a decision
that's more properly made by politicians.

This is a foothold that the wing-nuts will certainly use to their
advantage nationwide as they step up their frontal attack on woman's
rights in their local state legislatures. If I were a woman in this
country today, I would be shivering in my boots at the ramifications of
today's ruling and would genuinely fear for the future of my female
children and grandchildren.

To the people of America who sat home and did not vote for our side,
please don't bitch about what this government has done and is continuing
to do to you. As Wilson reminds us in his earlier post today, "elections have consequences".

This Supreme Court would not exist today if our side had won in 04.
Our side could have won if many of our candidates had worked harder and
smarter and we would have done a better job getting out the vote.

Perhaps one solution is for the old, white conservative Republicans on
the US Supreme court to have to endure the same reproductive health care
exams and ultimate procedures via their urethra tube, that woman have
had to endure in their bodies.

I'm outraged by today's ruling.