Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Supreme Court Upholds Law Banning Abortion Method

Required for Con Law and Internship Students (Read NYT article or opinion)
In a 5-4 decision written by Justice Kennedy the Supreme Court upheld a federal law outlawing "dilation and evacuation" or "partial birth" abortions. In 2000 the Court struck down a state version of the ban in an opinion written by Justice O'Connor. O'Connor's replacement, Justice Alito, joined the majority in upholding the federal ban. The Act upheld this week in Gonzales v. Carhart does not contain an exception if the procedure is conducted to protect the health of the mother. The Court ruled that this exception was not necessary because there is not a medical consensus that the procedure is ever necessary to protect the health of the mother. Kennedy argued that "the government has a legitimate and substantial interest in preserving and promoting fetal life" and this interest "would be repudiated were the court now to affirm the judgments" that struck down the law.

In the dissenting opinion Justice Ginsburg argued that the Court "applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists....And, for the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception safeguarding a woman's health." She reflected that "One wonders how long a line that saves no fetus will hold in the face of the Court's 'moral concerns.' The Court's hostility to the right Casey and Roe secured is not concealed. Throughout, the opinion refers to obstetrician-gynecologists not by the title of their medical specialties, but by the pejorative label 'abortion doctors.'"
Linda Greenhouse has analysis in the New York Times.


Anonymous said...

It's about time.

Anonymous said...

I feel as though this decision was based on the Justices moral beliefs. My personal "moral" opinion is that God gave mankind the freedom to choose what they want to do with their own bodies and the government shouldn't interfere. And this ranges from drug use all the way to suicide.

As long as no one else is being hurt, I think people should be allowed to do what they want with their own bodies.

If a mother wants to abort her own child, and the father doesn't object, then that's a decision she will have to live with for the rest of her life.

Leave God's laws for Him to judge, and man's laws for man to judge.


Anonymous said...

In response to patriot:

"As long as no one else is being hurt, I think people should be allowed to do what they want with their own bodies."

Agreed, but someone is being hurt--the aborted child.

You might say, then, that you do not recognize an unborn child as a human being. However, you draw upon God's freedom-license given to man as support for allowing people to do what they want. What do you have to suggest that God, who gave you the right to "do" with the limitation "not to harm" would not count the unborn child a person, and thus count an aborter as an offender and a murderer? The Bible, which substantiates your "freedom-license to man from God" notion and is probably the most famous source of the notion, which I, like you, agree with, happens to strongly indicate that this very same God identifies an unborn child as a human being. For examle, see:

PSALM 139:13-16, ISAIAH 46:3, ISAIAH 49:1, ECC. 11:5, JOB 10:10-11, PSALM 51:5, JER. 1:4-5

Anonymous said...

Well sir, my "freedom license" comes from the obvious fact that God gave us the ability to choose what we will do. There is no natural prohibition on mankind to commit murder, whether that murder be against an adult, a child, or one's self.

I believe that a child is a human, in the sense that the government should be concerned, after conscientiousness occurs. Before that the fetus is no more than a bunch of cells lumped together.

I never said that abortion was morally right. All I am saying is that the government should not interfere in the matter.

God will judge those things that fall under His law. I don't see how men are qualified to do that which is His.


Anonymous said...

Again, in response to Patriot:

"I believe that a child is a human, in the sense that the government should be concerned, after conscientiousness occurs. Before that the fetus is no more than a bunch of cells lumped together."

Before I say anything else, I must point out that that statement is phrased to suggest that in the time period before conscientousness, the child exists only as a fetus. By that reasoning, the child only ceases to be a fetus (AKA "no more than a bunch of cells lumped together") when it begins to think and become self aware. Did you catch that? The child remains a fetus/cell cluster well after birth and into his infancy.

Now, onto the bulk of my opinion. Again, that's quite an interesting statement. I do not want to put any words in your mouth, but that statement does put some assumptions into my mind--so I'll ask for your responses before drawing conclusions.

First, how do you know when consciousness occurs?

Second, most anyone would concede that it surely occurs sometime well after birth, not immediately upon birth. Therefore, is killing a young infant permissible for an extended period of time after birth? And if so, for how long?

Third, what if you somehow permanently lost your consciousness, Patriot? Would it not be murder to kill you in such a situation? What if it was a temporary loss? What if it was a loss with no indication of whether it was permanent or temporary?

(If you did not intend for "consciousness" and "conscientiousness" to be used interchangably, I apologize, and please let me know)

To me this just illustrates the problems with attempting to draw a line on when someone is "human" and "not human" at any other place than conception.

If one is an athiest and believes in abortion, it (to me) seems very futile to try to persuade them that it is morally wrong without first converting them away from athiesm. Since you already profess a belief in God, Patriot, do you think he has an opinion on the matter? I've previously given you biblical references suggesting that he does, but perhaps that is not your God. So I must ask, just what God do you believe in and where do you derive any information about him?

And finally:

"There is no natural prohibition on mankind to commit murder, whether that murder be against an adult, a child, or one's self."

I take it, then, that you are not a subscriber of the Natural Law school of thought. This begs me to ask of you, what is the purpose of government? Do you believe at all in the idea of "human rights"?

Anonymous said...

I am no medical expert, so I don't know when "consciousness" starts. I leave that to be determined by the experts. By consciousness, I mean when the heart begins to beat and the brain begins to function. I do believe that is when the Catholic Church says "life" begins. Obviously sir we're all just a bunch of cells just lumped together, but I think you know what I meant.

I believe in small government. Obviously, the government has it's purposes (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness), but I don't believe it should interfere in one's personal life, when public safety is not threatened.


Anonymous said...

Last I checked, the Catholic Church says life begins at conception. If, however, they now believe what you said they do, Patriot, then I'm not surprised--it wouldn't be the first time they throw scripture right out the window as soon as it conflicts with a catholic doctrine.

I, too, believe in small, limited government. I believe the sole duty of the government is the securing of our rights. And I believe the government should, in exercise of that duty, personally interfere with my mom should she try to murder me, regardless of what stage of life my body happens to be in.

And we're only a bunch of cells lumped together if you look at it that way. Maybe your comments are nothing more than letters lumped together? Sure, if one deliberately ignores the very real yet unseen existence behind such physical manifestations that it trumps. That is to say, there is human life in those "cells" as much, if not more than, there is meaning in these very letters you are now reading. The limitation of this analogy, granted, is that the meaning in the letters is assigned by collective judgment of society--whereas the cells were, are, and will continue to be me, regardless of the label they are given by society. That is, whether majority opinion tells me I am or am not me, I am still me. Likewise, whether majority opinion tells me that was or was not me, or that I was or was not human, in my mother's womb, it was still me, and I was still human complete with my human rights--or does ignorance of my rights rob me of them?

Anonymous said...

I happen to agree with you that abortion is morally wrong. I think people should take more care with their actions, but I think we both know the world doesn't work that way.

Fact is, prohibition does not work. People will still smoke crack, shoot each other, and abort their unborn children whether legal or not. Degenerate behavior cannot be stopped through legislation.

The best we can hope to do help these people avoid getting pregnant in the first place.