April 18, 2007

Mr. Bush's Court Chips Away At Roe

I am quite unhappy to find that the Supreme Court upholds the "partial birth" abortion ban legislation in a 5-4 vote. Mr. Justice Kennedy voted with the majority. The entire decision (PDF) is here. Justice Ginsburg wrote an admirable and well reasoned dissenting opinion that includes the following bits.

the concerns expressed are untethered to any
ground genuinely serving the Government's interest in
preserving life. By allowing such concerns to carry the
day and case, overriding fundamental rights, the Court
dishonors our precedent.

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. (States are free to enact laws to provide a
reasonable framework for a woman to make a decision
that has such profound and lasting meaning.). 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.

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,"

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."

The only think I can say is that this might ensure a generation of Democratic presidents.

1 comment:

Jolene said...

Well, I hope you're right on that last point. But I fear my cynicism is going to get the best of me.

I feel ill. What is happening to this country?