Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Government: Supreme Court to Ban Late Term Abortion

Abortion will soon be limited to the first trimester of pregnancy. Regardless of what your view on abortion is, this doesn't really make much sense.

From USA Today...

WASHINGTON (AP) -— The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will consider the constitutionality of banning a type of late-term abortion, teeing up a contentious issue for a new-look court already in a state of flux over privacy rights.


The outcome will likely rest with the two men that President Bush has recently installed on the court. Justices had been split 5-4 in 2000 in striking down a state law, barring what critics call partial birth abortion because it lacked an exception to protect the health of the mother.

But Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was the tie-breaking vote, retired late last month and was replaced by Samuel Alito.

The federal law in the current case has no health exception, but defenders maintain that the procedure is never medically necessary to protect a woman's health.


The case that will be heard this fall comes to the Supreme Court from Nebraska, where the federal law was challenged on behalf of physicians. Doctors who perform the procedure contend that it is the safest method of abortion when the mother's health is threatened by heart disease, high blood pressure or cancer.

More so then allowing or banning it altogether, placing time limits on abortion has some really sticky implications.

If abortion is murder and/or there is no generalized right to privacy in the Constitution, then there should be no legal abortions, unless you value other overriding concerns such as rape, incest, domestic violence, or the health of the mother. Even then, abortion would be extremely rare, and would only occur when the mother is somehow violated or in danger.

If abortion is simply destroying a clump of cells, and/or a woman's right to control her own body includes the right to end the life of her child, and/or there is a generalized right to privacy in the Constitution, then abortion should legal and accessible, with possible barriers to minors and certain notification rights for fathers, depending upon your perspective.

But late term abortions effect very, very few individuals. Anyone who elects to get an abortion almost always does so within the first three months of pregnancy. Making abortion illegal in the second or third trimesters only prevents a small handful of women with medical or domestic violence issues from getting the abortion.

From a legal strategy point of view, it makes perfect sense - grind down abortion laws until there are none left.

But from a moral and ethical point of view its incomprehensible. Why would you purposefully target women who are in danger, even when most pro-lifers would leave an exception for such women in a system with no other abortion rights? The only "solution" I see is that the legal challenge is being driven by craven tacticians, or by individuals who believe that all abortions should be illegal without exceptions.


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