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Political Phriday: Abortion Debate After Court Decision

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Political Phriday: Abortion Debate After Court Decision

Postby StlSluggers » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:14 pm

I've been really wary about bringing up this issue, because the argument can become so heated (and, frankly, we've all heard it before. However, I want to question this whole thing in a way that I've never considered before. Please share your thoughts.

For those that didn't know (because it really hasn't received much press), the Supreme Court decided to uphold the ban on partial-birth (intact dilation and evacuation) abortions. For the sake of this discussion, please ignore the details of that procedure. I want to talk about some of the ancillary comments coming from both sides of the battleground.

The conservatives are understandably reenergized by this decision. They are saying that there are plans to proceed with more specific lawsuits in certain states around the country.

The liberals are understandably agitated as they see this as a slippery slope that could lead to the Supreme Court reversing it's decision on Roe v. Wade.

Here's the part that's bothering me: Each side keeps talking about gaining control of the Supreme Court in order to make sure this works out in their favor. If that's where this battle is to be fought, what's to stop this from being a see-saw issue with each generation overturning the decision of the one before it?

I'm wondering... "Is there a way that we can get this resolved - one way or another - permanently?"

I don't care how it works out. I'm sick of it being a judicial issue.
Last edited by StlSluggers on Fri Apr 20, 2007 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby BGbootha » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:21 pm

there is a fairly long thread over on the light side, that has been going on for a few days regarding this and it has stayed very civil
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Postby Coppermine » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:37 pm

From what I understand, this marks the first time the Supreme Court has upheld an abortion ban that does not include an exception for the health of the mother. Legislators say it's unnecessary; doctors say otherwise.
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Postby Art Vandelay » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:39 pm

I'll repost my initial remarks from the thread on the football side:

Some scattered thoughts on this:

I have been somewhat critical of the direction of the pro-choice focus for awhile. I think the focus has been "making sure Roe v. Wade is not overturned." This deflects the issue from what is really going on. Technically, Roe v. Wade was overruled in the 90s by Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Casey replaced Roe's muddled analysis with a vague "undue burden" standard. In other words, Congress, or the states, cannot pass abortion restrictions that place an "undue burden" on the right to an abortion.

As I understand it, the new ruling would outlaw not only "partial birth" abortions, but many late-term abortions as well. It's telling that many major medical associations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are against this. I don't like the government (who are not medical experts) deciding that doctors can't perform procedures that most doctors say are safe, and sometimes necessary. Also, there seems to be some confusion here over whether this law in question contains an exception for the health of the mother. I haven't read this in detail but my understanding is this: the law makes a distinction between "health of the mother" and "saving the life of the mother." "Partial birth" abortions would still be allowed to save the life of the mother, but if a woman's health is in danger (but not her life) then she is out of luck. There are certain situations where a "partial birth" abortion is medically necessary for the health of the mother, but where she is not in danger of dying. Those are the women who are screwed.

This law is most definitely NOT about someone drawing a line. This is about a systematic pullback of abortion rights. The people who wrote this law will keep testing the waters. They will keep arguing that each new restriction does not place an "undue burden" on the right to an abortion.

Anyone read Ginsburg's dissent? I haven't had time to read the whole thing yet, but from what I've read so far, she was on point.

the Court's opinion 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. For the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception protecting a woman's health." She said the federal ban "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. A decision of the character the Court makes today should not have staying power."
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Re: Political Phriday: Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Upheld

Postby PlayingWithFire » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:56 pm

StlSluggers wrote:I'm wondering... "Is there a way that we can get this resolved - one way or another - permanently?"


No law should ever be permanent.
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Re: Political Phriday: Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Upheld

Postby Coppermine » Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:25 pm

PlayingWithFire wrote:
StlSluggers wrote:I'm wondering... "Is there a way that we can get this resolved - one way or another - permanently?"


No law should ever be permanent.


True; the constitution is a "living document" for a reason and our government is divided into three branches to debate and make decisions that reflect the will of the people (to a degree). The checks and balances system generally keeps a relatively middle ground on divisive topics, deferring to the constitution and precedent in many cases.

Since the country is pretty much split on a topic such as abortion, the debate will seemingly continue indefinitely. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and bits and pieces of the law will come and go as the political climate changes.

For instance, this is a perfect indication. President Bush replaced two justices that, naturally, were sympathetic to his ideology. Sandra Day O'Connor, a moderate justice with a penchant for women's rights was often the "deciding vote" in cases such as this. Now that she, and the chief justice, have been replaced by Bush appointees, you can expect to see more and more divisive and idealogical issues shift in the other direction, 5 to 4.

Many people still complain that the court system is still full of "advocate judges" (which seems to be a way of saying liberals) but it has certainly taken a more conservative shift with the appointment of Alito and Roberts.

But that's politics and the makeup of SCOTUS has a way of balancing itself out from term-to-term, president-to-president just as the power of the Republicans and Democrats are rarely held in monopoly for very long.

For anyone who truly believe that Roe v. Wade can be overturned, well, it is a possibility... but unless a justice or two get hit by a bus before 2008, it's unlikely. And then it all depends on the next president. Of course to stack a court with all left or right leaning justices would mean a number of factors would have to fall into place. If it were overturned, it's inevitable that it would likely be overturned again a short time later.

So, my point is that it people understandably feel very, very strongly about this sort of thing... but divisive topics are divisive for a reason and the shifting political climate throughout America's history gives an indication that divisive topics will always be up for debate.



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Postby Nberan » Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:42 pm

Even If Roe v Wade is overturned it won't do any good. It will reduce the chance's of a mothers survival during the procedure. Also the cost of the illegal procedure will go up with it being illegal. Prohibition shows that even if the government makes it illegal it won't make it stop.
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Postby AcidRock23 » Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:43 pm

I don't agree w/ this at all. While the victims are often politically cast as confused teenagers who can't make up their mind quickly enough, the people who opt for these procedures are most often middle aged women who have struggled to conceive who then find out that despite their work, the child is not viable, etc.

An acquaintance of mine got involved in this, had one child who lived for 11 days in evident discomfort from a rare disorder (no diaphragm or something like that), conceived again when fetus got to term they discovered that it had the same allegedly non-genetic disorder so they chose not to subject it to what they'd seen it's brother go through. They have since had a successful conception.
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Re: Political Phriday: Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Upheld

Postby StlSluggers » Fri Apr 20, 2007 2:23 pm

PlayingWithFire wrote:
StlSluggers wrote:I'm wondering... "Is there a way that we can get this resolved - one way or another - permanently?"


No law should ever be permanent.

I wasn't talking about a law. I meant, is there a way that we can get the "Legislate via Supreme Court" technique quelled. It's going to be very annoying to hear the Supreme Court reverse itself on this every 20 years because of the natural ebb and flow of politics.
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Postby Absolutely Adequate » Fri Apr 20, 2007 2:39 pm

Well, first, I think -to avoid trouble - you should refer to the procedure by the name given to it by doctors: "intact dilation and evacuation." The name "partial-birth abortion" is a term that already swings the debate one way. It implies that the procedure involves giving birth to a baby and then hitting it on the head. That's quite misleading.

In fact, intact dilation is one of the more rare procedures done by doctors. It is often used to save the mother's life.

I wonder if liberterians have it right: to leave it up to the states. I have to go teach class, but here's something from andrewsullivan.com that sums up the argument concisely:

The alleged logic of overturning Roe v. Wade is, for many libertarians, that it will throw the issue back to the states. There, states will rapidly use the legislative process to come to a compromise that makes the majority of people within their borders roughly happy, and both the pro-choice and pro-life groups will lose much of their energy.

This argument has a lot of appeal. As one of my colleagues at The Economist pointed out, Europe had the same conversation as America about abortion in the sixties and seventies. The difference is, European countries either passed laws, or submitted the question to referendum. Even those who weren't happy with the outcome felt the process by which it had been reached was legitimate. In America, neither group feels that the Supreme Court's process was morally legitimate--or at least, I infer that pro-choicers do not, since they seem to view an attempt to ban abortion by exactly the same process as a completely illegitimate usurpation of power by conservative ideologues.

Besides, the more local a problem is, the less anger it generates; American pro-lifers do not, after all, head over to England to hold their candlelight vigils, nor do pro-choicers fly to Germany to protest the country's near-complete (de jure, though not de facto) abortion ban.
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