Archive for Thursday, April 19, 2007

Anti-abortion activists look to build on victory

April 19, 2007


Elated and emboldened, anti-abortion activists in state after state are planning to push for stringent new limits on second- and third-trimester abortions in the hopes of building on their victory Wednesday at the Supreme Court.

By a 5-4 vote, the justices upheld a federal ban on a procedure critics call "partial-birth abortion," which involves partially delivering the fetus, then crushing its skull. The ruling included strong language asserting the state's "legitimate, substantial interest in preserving and promoting fetal life."

Advocates on both sides of the abortion debate predicted the ruling would spur a flood of legislation.

"We're moving beyond putting roadblocks in front of abortions to actually prohibiting them," said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, a national anti-abortion group based in Wichita, Kan. "This swings the door wide open."

He and other strategists said they hope to introduce legislation that would:

¢ Ban all abortion of viable fetuses, unless the mother's life is endangered.

¢ Ban mid- and late-term abortion for fetal abnormality, such as Down syndrome or a malformed brain.

¢ Require doctors to tell patients in explicit detail what the abortion will involve, show them ultrasound images of the fetus and warn them that they might become suicidal after the procedure.

¢ Lengthen waiting periods so women must reflect on such counseling for several days before obtaining the abortion.

It is far from certain that the Supreme Court would uphold all these proposals. But anti-abortion activists clearly feel momentum is on their side.

In particular, they're pleased that the court upheld an outright ban - with no exceptions - on a surgical procedure performed in the second trimester, when the fetus is too large to be evacuated through a suction tube.

For more than 30 years, the Supreme Court has required every major restriction on abortion to include an exception waiving the law if a woman's physical or emotional health is at stake.

As a result, many abortion bans have been largely symbolic. At least 40 states, for instance, outlaw abortion of viable fetuses - but because of the health exception, doctors still can terminate such pregnancies if they certify that the woman suffers depression or anxiety.

Abortion opponents consider that a major loophole, leading to what they call "abortion on demand." The ruling Wednesday gave them hope for a new standard. The procedure at issue is used only rarely - it's more common in second-trimester abortions to dismember the fetus inside the womb - but abortion doctors had argued that they should be able to use it when they considered it better for the woman's health. The justices disagreed.

Abortion-rights attorney Katherine Grainger predicted that the ruling would "open the floodgates" in state after state.

"The state's interest in the fetus has now been elevated above the woman's health, whereas before, the women's health always trumped," said Grainger, who directs state policy for the Center for Reproductive Rights. "States are going to push the boundaries and try to restrict access on all fronts."

Because most state legislatures have just a few more weeks in session, Grainger said she expects the bulk of the proposals to come next year. When the bills are filed, anti-abortion activists plan to pursue two strategies that won tacit endorsement in the Supreme Court ruling.

First, they intend to try stirring public discomfort about specific abortion techniques. The Supreme Court opinion referred to the partial delivery of a live fetus during an abortion as "shocking." Activists plan to argue that other, far more common, methods of ending pregnancy are just as distasteful.


Ragingbear 11 years ago

Won't happen. Why don't you just shut up and take care of your own problems for a change?

KS 11 years ago

Tiller, the killer may be headed to the unemployment line! About time.

KS 11 years ago

Ragingbear, when one is on the right side, they will never "shut up", as you so crudely put it.

SettingTheRecordStraight 11 years ago

Just as America now views slavery as a dispicable, disgusting chapter of our past, I'm hoping our society will one day view abortion as the shameful and horrific act that it is.

Ragingbear 11 years ago

Well, Phelps thinks he's on the right side. Hitler thought he was on the right side. All you anti-abortionist are are terrorist, plain and simple. You should all be taken to Guantanamo.

preebo 11 years ago

Why hasn't anyone talked about the real issue here, which is there was no provision for the welfare and health of the mother in this ruling. As the article says, that has been the precedent for over 30 years. I for one, am concerned about this part of the language. I am in no way advocating Partial Birth Abortion, but as an attorney I find the courts language too broad and not specific enough. What this seems like to me is legislating from the bench and not adhering to the rule of law. This, however, is the courts ruling and I would be interested to see what happens in future related cases brought before the Supremes.

Ragingbear 11 years ago

We don't talk about the issues here. We just rant and rave and quote scriptures that don't exist and have our churches take stances on political issues while they enjoy their tax exempt status.

So not only do they take from the poor slobs that go to their "church" but they also make more money because they don't have to pay taxes.

Ragingbear 11 years ago

Because their church tells them that birth control is a sin. And because people listen to those idiots that are responsible for all the wrong in the world.

SettingTheRecordStraight 11 years ago

Ragingbear, You must be tramsmitting your drivel from recess or lunchtime or study hall at the local middle school.

Porter 11 years ago

Good points, Preebo. I hope O'Reilly and Limbaugh are going on and on today about "activist judges".

Somehow I doubt it.

jonas 11 years ago

"Posted by KS (anonymous) on April 19, 2007 at 7:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Ragingbear, when one is on the right side, they will never "shut up", as you so crudely put it."

What happens when there is no "right" to an issue, and people just babble on anyways in their own arrogant assuredness?

Right, this will end abortion.


The issue will never be solved. Later supreme courts will reverse any ruling, and ones later than that will reinstitute them, and ones after that will reverse, and on. Because there is no provable right, or truth, or anything, to this argument, except for the very real factor of political clout and influence, and that won't change.

kshiker 11 years ago

Pilgrim --

That is an overlooked and very good point. I'm thinking it may be a little hypocritical to attack the Supreme Court for upholding a peice of legislation that the good Senator from Nevada actually voted for.

I've heard plenty of BS from politicians in my life, but I have never been enlightened on the wisdom of voting in favor of legislation that you believe is unconstitutional.

Ragingbear 11 years ago

Yeah. Not like the men had anything to do with it. Apparantly all women are ignorant sluts incapable of making their own decisions and taking responsibility for their own actions. So retards like you terrorist from WBC decide to go make the decisions for them. Then have the nerve to go around and push your idiotic "abstinence only" sex ed programs.

Perhaps next we should forbid women from wearing shoes to keep them pregnant and in the kitchen. We should also keep them from going to schools and voting...

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