... the larger problem is that, because the distinction between D&X abortions and any other procedure is wholly arbitrary, legislatures can invent further distinctions and continue to tie the hands of abortion doctors. As Eve Gartner, the lawyer representing Planned Parenthood, put it during the oral argument, "to allow such an expansion of pre-viability abortions that can be banned would set the stage for continued legislative efforts to ban other iterations of the classic D&E method of abortion, until truly there would be nothing left at all of Casey's holding that it is unconstitutional to ban second-trimester abortions."
Partial-birth abortion bans involve inventing a scary-sounding but scientifically meaningless term, applying it to an abortion procedure morally indistinguishable from any other, and using the legislative results as a Trojan Horse to undermine popular judicial protections of a woman's right to choose. They are the ultimate example of the increasing cynicism and emptiness of the leadership of the American "pro-life" movement, and the crass exploitation of its rank-and-file by Republicans (and too many Democrats) happy to use the issue to mobilize the base as long as the access to abortion of women in their social milieu aren't affected. Congress is employing rank dishonesty to play political games with the lives and bodies of American woman.
Here's a feminist whose first comment was "We're f***ed." Sure, lady,
if you mean that you can't go to an abortionist when you're 6+ months
pregnant and have your unborn baby almost completely delivered except
for his head and have his brains sucked out while he's still alive
because you just don't feel like being pregnant any longer, then yes,
I suppose you're f***ed.
...let's also remember the underlying gender assumptions of those who support the power of the states and the federal government. Ann has already noted this powerful passage in Justice Ginsburg's brilliant dissent: "Revealing in this regard, the Court invokes an antiabortion shibboleth for which it concededly has no reliable evidence: Women who have abortions come to regret their choices, and consequently suffer from '[s]evere depression and loss of esteem.' Because of women's fragile emotional state and because of the bond of love the mother has for her child,' the Court worries, doctors may withhold information about the nature of the intact D&E procedure. The solution the Court approves, then, is not to require doctors to inform women, accurately and adequately, of the different procedures and their attendant risks. Instead, the Court deprives women of the right to make an autonomous choice, even at the expense of their safety. This way of thinking reflects ancient notions about women's place in the family and under the Constitution ideas that have long since been discredited."
Given Alito's assumption that the state has the same interest in regulating married adult women as it has in regulating children, that he would vote to uphold this ban isn't exactly shocking.
...the anti-abortion rights position is based on an assumption that women aren’t real people — especially women who get abortions. Oh, they’re human in a scientific sense, but they aren’t people. They are archetypes who live in the heads of the anti-abortion righters — Careless Woman, Selfish Woman, Woman in a Vacuum. The same people who imagine embryos can think and feel emotions — and therefore deserve protection — must believe a pregnant woman is just a major appliance.
There are copious anecdotes from abortion providers who say that often the same people protesting outside the clinic one week are patients (or parents of patients) the next week. These people assume that their situations are unique and should be the one exception. They often want the abortion staff to know they aren’t like those other women who get abortions. This inspired the bitter joke that the legitimate reasons for abortion are “rape, incest, and me.” Such people recognize their own humanity (or their daughter’s), but those other women who get abortions are just archetypes who don’t deserve respect or consideration.
I’ve long believed that whether one is pro-choice or anti-choice does not depend on whether one thinks embryos are human beings. It depends on whether one recognizes that women are human beings. Not archetypes, but real, individual human beings. Including women who get abortions.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., took no position on two of the hottest social issues in America today -- guns and abortion -- in a week when those subjects were brought before the public in quite compelling ways.
Asked about this morning's historic and unprecedented decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a state ban on an abortion procedure, Pelosi -- longtime backer of abortion rights -- said, "This is an issue I need to review." Reid immediately changed the subject to the prevention of unwanted pregnancies. "That's what it brings to my mind," Reid said.
Two days after the slaughter of 32 innocents on the campus of Virginia Tech by a shooter with two handguns, Pelosi demurred on whether Congress was in any mood to examine gun control laws.
"The mood in Congress is one of mourning, sadness and the inadequacy of our words" to help the bereaved, Pelosi said.
Welcome to the Democratic Party 2.0. After years in the political wilderness -- President Bush in the White House, Republican majorities in the House and Senate -- Democrats are wary of engaging in hot-button social issues such as the "3 G's" -- guns, God and gays.
Many political observers, including Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, believe former Vice President Al Gore's support of gun control cost him the 2000 election, essentially handing over to Bush states such as Montana, Tennessee and West Virginia.
At a Harvard seminar following the 2000 election, Steve Rosenthal, then the AFL-CIO's political director, was asked what the Democratic party should do on gun control.
"Shut the hell up," he said. Democrats have largely heeded that advice.
Moreover, many in their ranks who are responsible for Democrats having recaptured the House and Senate -- what Speaker Pelosi calls "the majority makers" -- hold conservative positions on many of these issues, such as Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., Jim Webb, D-Virginia, and Bob Casey Jr., D-Penn. Reid himself is a foe of abortion who has in the past voted in favor of a ban on the procedure abortion opponents call "partial birth abortion
If the Court applied the Salerno rule to abortion cases, it would mean that plaintiffs could not directly challenge new abortion regulations as soon as they were passed. Instead, a series of plaintiffs would have to go to court and prove that the law was unconstitutional as applied to their individual circumstances. This process would be time consuming and expensive, and it would take years to produce a jurisprudence limiting the statute's unconstitutional reach. Thus, the effect of applying Salerno (as opposed to what the Court actually did in Casey) would be to allow states to pass significant restrictions on abortion and keep them in force for long periods of time until a series of time consuming and expensive cases gradually eliminated their unconstitutional features. Indeed, precisely because creating an appropriate factual record for an individual as-applied challenge by a pregnant woman may be time consuming and expensive, the series of suits may never be brought, with the result that a whole host of abortion limitations that are actually invalid under the undue burden test will remain in force and will be applied to limit women's right to abortion. Applying Salerno to abortion litigation, in short, would drain much of Roe's and Casey's practical applicability to the real world. And because this will be achieved through an abstruse and technical doctrine of court procedure, many members of the public will not even realize that Roe and Casey have been effectively gutted.
...the rule that Justice Kennedy seems to have crafted has most of the disadvantages I pointed out back in 2005.