Seattle Times: Roe v. Wade is "Chilling"

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Many people still do not get that Roe v. Wade -- and every precedent to follow it -- asserted that the government has a right to abolish abortion, as long as the life and health of the mother is protected.

For example, Roe says:

For the stage subsequent to viability the State, in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life, may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.

In English, that means, the government is allowed to abolish all abortions of viable fetuses, as long as the life and health of the mother are protected. Again, this is from Roe v. Wade itself, and every court precedent on the subject since has reaffirmed this.

Enter today's Seattle Times editorial.

This is my favorite sentence in it:

Justice Anthony Kennedy, speaking for the court, had some chilling things to say, particularly that the court "may use its voice and its regulatory authority" to dissuade women from ending pregnancies.

Which is, of course, precisely what Roe said. Except for the "court" part. But Kennedy didn't say "court", he said "government."

So according to the Times, Roe is "chilling." Gotcha.

My next favorite setence is this:

If this court can go along with this, it can glide rather effortlessly into abolishing second-trimester abortion and requiring parental notifications, two areas where polling shows more public ambivalence.

Where the Times means the Court can uphold those laws (and not make those laws itself), and where those second-trimester abortions are postviability, yes. Roe and Casey and all the rest say explicitly that the government can abolish postviability abortions. This decision does not open the door for that, because that door has always been open, and no Court decision has ever closed it, and Roe and Casey and all the rest explicitly reaffirm that the government has this authority.

As to parental notification, similarly, there is no indication in any Supreme Court decision that would imply children have the right to abortion without parental notification.

What is being made clear by these recent abortion decisions is that many people think Roe did not go nearly far enough. That is why NOW and other pro-choice groups are working on the Freedom of Choice Act which would go much farther.

Oh, and the funny part about this Freedom of Choice Act is that it may, in fact, render it much easier to pass bans of things like partial-birth abortion. The only actual argument against the procedure was that the health of the mother was not sufficiently protected, but this law would still allow prohibitions that protect the life and health of the mother, and the mere passage of such a Ban pursuant to passage of the Freedom of Choice Act would be a tacit admission by Congress that the Congress found the Ban does protect the health of the mother.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on April 26, 2007 3:33 PM.

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