The Supreme Court upheld a nationwide ban on partial birth abortions today in a 5-4 vote. The Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush received immediate challenges. The procedure at issue involves partially removing the fetus intact from a woman's uterus, then crushing or cutting its skull to complete the abortion.
The argument that crushing a baby's skull is a "constitutional right" is the most outrageous thing I have ever heard, and I am elated the Supreme Court rejected that notion. Hopefully this will be only the first step in a series of laws which will eventually do away with the abortion on demand society we currently live in.
Planned Parenthood was obviously troubled by the decision with spokesperson Eve Gartner stating, "This ruling flies in the face of 30 years of Supreme Court precedent and the best interest of women's health and safety. … This ruling tells women that politicians, not doctors, will make their health care decisions for them."
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg agreed with Planned Parenthood, stating in her dissenting opinion, "Today's decision is alarming… [the ruling] refuses to take … seriously" previous Supreme Court decisions on abortion.
Prior to this ruling, six Federal courts have said the law is an impermissible restriction on a woman's constitutional right to an abortion. I have read the Constitution many times, I have never seen any clause which even remotely implies the right to take an innocent life. So in order to understand why these Federal courts ruled as such, it is necessary to take a look at the Supreme Court case which invented the right.
Abortion advocates claim their right to kill the unborn is protected by the Constitution, and as we all know, in Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court did indeed say that:
State criminal abortion laws, like those involved here, that except from criminality only a life-saving procedure on the mother’s behalf without regard to the stage of her pregnancy and other interests involved violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which protects against state action the right to privacy, including a woman’s qualified right to terminate her pregnancy. Though the State cannot override that right, it has legitimate interests in protecting both the pregnant woman’s health and the potentiality of human life, each of which interests grows and reaches a “compelling” point at various stages of the woman’s approach to term.
There you have it. Apparently it is the Fourteenth Amendment which gives women this "right". So let's take a look at the 14th and see if we can find the "right" they refer to:
…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
It would appear to me that any state which allows abortions to occur would be depriving a person of life, and therefore would be violating the Fourteenth Amendment. But I am not a Constitutional lawyer, so what do I know?
Let's see what those wiser than me had to say. Justice Rehnquist’s dissenting opinion in Roe summed it up pretty good:
Even today, when society’s views on abortion are changing, the very existence of the debate is evidence that the “right” to an abortion is not so universally accepted as the appellant would have us believe.
To reach its result, the Court necessarily has had to find within the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment a right that was apparently completely unknown to the drafters of the Amendment. As early as 1821, the first state law dealing directly with abortion was enacted by the Connecticut Legislature. By the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, there were at least 36 laws enacted by state or territorial legislatures limiting abortion. While many States have amended or updated their laws, 21 of the laws on the books in 1868 remain in effect today. Indeed, the Texas statute struck down today was, as the majority notes, first enacted in 1857 and has remained substantially unchanged to the present time.
But that was a dissenting opinion, so let's take a look at the concurring side. Chief Justice Burger’s concurring opinion says:
I do not read the Court’s holdings today as having the sweeping consequences attributed to them by the dissenting Justices; the dissenting views discount the reality that the vast majority of physicians observe the standards of their profession, and act only on the basis of carefully deliberated medical judgments relating to life and health. Plainly, the Court today rejects any claim that the Constitution requires abortions on demand.
As you can see from Chief Justice Burger’s concurring opinion, when he ruled in favor of Roe, he did so under the presumption the most doctors are ethical, and would only perform these procedures if there were a medically viable reason for it. As organizations like Planned Parenthood and doctors like George Tiller have shown us, this is not the case!
With more than one million abortions performed in this country annually, it can no longer be considered a medical procedure, it now must be considered an epidemic.