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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

# Posted 9:22 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

OPEN THREAD: PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION. I have a few gut instincts about abortion, but very little knowledge. So here's my question: What is the significance of the Supreme Court's decision to uphold a ban on partial birth abortion without an exception for the health of the mother?

In today's WaPo, Ruth Marcus observes that partial birth abortion is a rather gruesome procedure. But so are the other methods of performing a second-trimester abortion. If a law can ban the former, why can't it ban the latter? Is there any legal doctrine to explain why one is allowed but not the other?

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(15) opinions -- Add your opinion

Comments:
You should ask some of your female friends. You'd find that abortion is a lot more common than you think.

There were 1,313,000 million abortions in 2000. Intact dilation and extraction, or what the Right Wing has re-labeled partial birth abortion, is an obscure procedure, 0.17% of abortions, but it occurs at the same stage of viability as other methods. The fact that there was no exception granted regarding the health of the mother means that five old men weren't particularly concerned about the health of the mother. And after a baby is born, they aren't particularly concerned about the baby's health either. Infant mortality in America is 6.37 deaths/1,000 live births, 41st in the world and the worst for industrialized countries.
 
SCOTUS upheld the law banning Partial Birth Abortions because they were only a method for second trimester terminations and that other legal methods were available.

If there ever were a case in which an abortion could only be procured safely through a partial birth abortion then the lack of a health exception would have become significant and the court might have struck down the law.

Secondly because it's a law passed by congress, no legal doctrine is involved.
 
Secondly because it's a law passed by congress, no legal doctrine is involved.

Except perhaps for Roe v Wade which concluded that abortion rights derive from privacy doctrine under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. But you were close.

The five old guys did it because they wanted to do it.
 
The five old guys did it because they wanted to do it.

I agree, Roe v Wade is bad law.
 
I fail to see how this law actually has any impact on Roe versus Wade as it is a regulation of process rather than outcome. Just because the Supreme Court says there is a right to abortion does not mean that laws regulating abortion are illegal. The Supreme Court under the same principle found that there was a right to contraception under the right to privacy yet access to contraception is reglated by law.
 
Since it was a "facial" challenge, what lost before the Court was a claim that the law was so obnoxious that it essentially had no constitutional applications. Now come the "as applied" challenges, where the Court establishes under what circumstances it will permit the law to stand. Presumably there are some. Presumably they won't be ones where medical necessity can be shown.

Anon is a bit hysterical; The Supreme court has allowed all sorts of federal laws with implications for people's health stand, in the face of far sounder constitutional challenges. (Medical pot in the Raich case, for instance.) The only thing unusual about this case is that they treated abortion like they treat all other medical issues.

And after the baby is born wasn't before the court.
 
I fail to see how this law actually has any impact on Roe versus Wade as it is a regulation of process rather than outcome.

Roe holds that a woman has a right to privacy before viability. Hence, I fail to see how it is any of Congress' business. As Marcus says, there is an unstated but unmistakable willingness to dispense with inconvenient precedent.

The law and the accompanying decision were political achievements, red meat to the Right Wing. Morality wasn't an issue, as is further made clear from the legalistic discussion here.
 
If a woman's health is in danger during the 2nd or 3rd trimester, you would simply deliver the baby by c-section. There is no medical necessity for the partial birth abortion!! I have many friends and family who have had premie babies. These babies are now happy, healthy kids. These babies could have been terminated by having their legs pulled out of the birth canal, their sculls punctured and their brains sucked out. How anyone can look at this procedure and say it's a travesty for a woman's right to choose is beyond me. I'm a woman who never wants the right to perform this procedure. It's barbaric and I am so glad it's finally been banned. I repeat, there is no medical necessity for this procedure!
 
If abortion shouldn't be regulated because it's a matter of woman's privacy, would it be unconstitutional to mandate medical degrees and sanitary equipment for the procedure?
 
A women should have the complete right to control her own body and that includes aborting a fetus in her womb. Where do we get the unmitigated gaul to regulate a women's natural processes. If people are so concerned about human life, why don't they focus on the millions of humans already suffering and dying on the planet?
 
We're not regulating a *natural* process. We're regulating an entirely UNNATURAL process.
 
If a woman's health is in danger during the 2nd or 3rd trimester, you would simply deliver the baby by c-section. There is no medical necessity for the partial birth abortion!!

Except that there are many occasions that C-section is too risky due to serious medical problems in the prospective mother. Problems like cancer, hormonal/thyroid abnormalities, severe blood clotting, and pregnancy-induced heart arrythmias. And if the fetus is dead, then the risk of complications goes WAY up.

For an excellent discussion of this, check out http://community.livejournal.com/5th_estate/281538.html
 
I don't know law, but I am a doc. Here's the medical summary:

The Partial birth abortion is a technique that predates anesthesia and cleanliness. It hasn't been done in 80 years even for dead babies because of risk to the mother of perforated uterus, or cervical tears with hemorrhage and incompetent cervix causing future miscarriages.

But the reason they do partial birth abortion can be found in a BBC article that shows ten percent of second and third trimester abortions end up with live babies...

As for nonsense about the mother's "heatlh", when we do abortion for toxemia or cancer etc, we do everything to save the baby, who is usually wanted.

And Anonymous is wrong about high infant mortality in the US: The figures are squewered statistically because we count a 1 lb kid who takes a breath as a live birth, but in other countries non viable babies are not counted.
 
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