April 18, 2007

Get ready to kiss the right to abortion goodbye.

In today's ruling about so-called 'partial birth abortion,' two members of the US Supreme Court (Thomas and Scalia) made it clear that they're ready to toss Roe v. Wade into the trashcan.

In a blistering dissent to the Supremes' 5-4 ruling, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made it clear that she knows what's at stake:

Today’s decision is alarming... It tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). It blurs the line, firmly drawn in Casey,between previability and postviability abortions. And, for the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception safeguarding a woman’s health....

The Court's hostility to the right Roe and Casey secured is not concealed. Throughout, the opinion refers to obstetrician-gynecologists and surgeons who perform abortions not by the titles of their medical specialties, but by the pejorative label "abortion doctor...." A fetus is described as an "unborn child," and as a "baby"; ... and the reasoned medical judgments of highly trained doctors are dismissed as "preferences" motivated by "mere convenience..."

Though today's opinion does not go so far as to discard Roe or Casey, the Court, differently composed than it was when we last considered a restrictive abortion regulation, is hardly faithful to our earlier invocations of "the rule of law" and the 'principles of stare decisis." Congress imposed a ban despite our clear prior holdings that the State cannot proscribe an abortion procedure when its use is necessary to protect a woman’s health.... Although Congress' findings could not withstand the crucible of trial, the Court defers to the legislative override of our Constitution-based rulings.... A decision so at odds with our jurisprudence should not have staying power.

In sum, the notion that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act furthers any legitimate governmental interest is, quite simply, irrational. The Court's defense of the statute provides no saving explanation. In candor, the Act, and the Court's defense of it, cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this Court—and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women's lives.... When "a statute burdens constitutional rights and all that can be said on its behalf is that it is the vehicle that legislators have chosen for expressing their hostility to those rights, the burden is undue...." [Emphasis added]

If you're one of the people who voted for the prez despite warnings that he could appoint some really nasty Supreme Court judges, I hope you're happy now.

Posted by Magpie at April 18, 2007 10:07 AM | Law/Justice | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |