Abortion Ruling Is All About Alito

This is why presidential elections matter even if and when you don't particularly like one candidate or the other. The re-election of George W. Bush in 2004 begat the nomination to the United States Supreme Court of Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. and Justice Alito's ascenion to the High Court last year begat today a landmark abortion ruling that anti-abortion advocates have pushed to get for years. You can spin this any other way you want but in the end it comes down to a simple matter of personnel. Justice Alito was willing and able to go in the law where his predecessor, former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wasn't. And, as a result, doctors in this country now may be sent to federal prison for performing a type of abortion procedure even if those doctors believe that a woman's health would be jeopardized by not having the procedure. As the late, great Kurt Vonnegut might have said: so it goes.

Today's sharp 5-4 ruling in Gonzales v Carthart signals a new era in abortion law. With this precedent on the books, legislators in states around the country now can (and will) come forward with similar or slightly different bans upon various types of abortion procedures. We even may see that long-anticipated full, frontal challenge to Roe v. Wade (although opponents of that ruling still don't yet have the solid votes necessary to knock it out of the box). The woman's "health exception," which until today had survived all sorts of legal scrutiny, now is effectively gone and along with it an important line of defense for abortion rights advocates. Those folks ultimately picked bad ground upon which to fight-- a significant majority of Americans are opposed to the so-called "partial birth" procedure and agree with a ban upon it-- and now they have been left reeling by the Court's shocking turnaround in its post-O'Connor era.

I will have more on the ruling tomorrow morning after I have had more time to digest it.

By Andrew Cohen |  April 18, 2007; 2:20 PM ET
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Just one clarification -- the health exception is not gone. The whole intact D&E procedure is gone. The health exception remains on all other procedures, including those that are used post-viability.

Posted by: | April 18, 2007 04:04 PM

Justice Kennedy's opinion is a study in nuance, but at first read is not the home run which might have been expected by anti-abortionists. It preserves the right to attack the statute "as applied," though finding it facially constitutional. It even suggests several ways around the prohibitions of the law, in its language on intent...(if a doctor does not intend to abort a live fetus, the law does not apply) and by tightly interpreting the language of the statute so that if a Doctor were to intend to abort the fetus, it would not violate the statute if the fetus were killed first. So if a doctor intends an abortion with intact dilation and extraction, he or she can be certain the fetus is dead or dismembered first, or if the doctor is not certain he wants a dead fetus, then he can begin the intact d & e with the intent to deliver, not abort. That would not violate the statute, even if the procedure became an abortion instead of a delivery. Prosecutors would have a tough time getting a conviction with those strictures. Might happen, but that would lead to a lot of cases on jury selection questioning. It could have been much better, but it could have been much worse.

Posted by: Bob, as well | April 18, 2007 04:22 PM

Ladies, save those metal coat hangers.

Posted by: Old Enough to Remember | April 18, 2007 04:24 PM

Here we go...pretty soon we'll have priests and imams roaming the halls of hospitals to ensure that no woman decides for herself regarding any medical issue.

It wasn't that long ago when men were consulted before their wives could have their tubes tied.

And, today in Catholic hospitals (partially funded with our tax dollars), you are not allowed to prescribe the pill.

While we're at it, we can issue guns at the hospitals so those who claimed to be raped can arm themselves next time!

Sheesh!

Posted by: Kate | April 18, 2007 04:26 PM

In spite of your factless and unsubstantiated proclamation that the "Abortion Ruling Is All About Alito", there is a clear majority of Justices that finds no "constitutional basis" for partial birth abortion, this coming from the most liberal of the majority, Justice Kennedy. You are obviously are an accolyte of the other Kennedy, the one that has publically stated that it is important to restate and rephrase a valid question and then "lie, lie, and lie with your answer such that eventually your lie becomes a fact". You obviously choose to ignore every single poll of "us guys", commonly referred to as regular decent and responsible-for-our-actions folk who are not part of the elitist, self-proclaimed intelligensia that spew repulsive, venemous, illogical and unsubtantiated rants that defy any element of common decency, logic and verifiable fact.
If the "shoe fits" Mr. Cohen, please have the decency and professional and individual integrity to acknowledge and admit that it "fits". Absent and acknowledgement, your clear lack of any integrity will be obvious and proven. Ignorance of fact is no excuse for a person of integrity.

You remind of the adage that "marshmellows appear to have substance but under any degree of inspection or heat, they melt".

Posted by: B Johnson | April 18, 2007 04:35 PM

Another example of conservatives successfully pushing an agenda with semantics ("death tax", anyone?). I feel like my civil liberties are slipping through my fingers like sand.

Posted by: amw1972 | April 18, 2007 04:36 PM

Kate and Old Enough to Remember,

Spare the mellow-drama for the moment and look at the facts, legislative history, and reality of this procedure. It's gruesome and in fact, many doctors came before congress to testify that it was never medically necessary. You're talking about outlawing one and only one type of abortion, which was outlawed by Congress for its sheer brutality. Hyperbole aside, it's a far cry from going back to back allies or having some strange pseudo-cryptic religious state imposing its views on its citizens. Watch a slide show of the procedure and honestly come back and say that it doesn't make your stomach churn and shouldn't be outlawed.

Yeah, and also, Kate, keep your anti-catholic bigotry to yourself.

Posted by: Icarus | April 18, 2007 04:38 PM

It is probably significant that the most recent Bush appointees Roberts and Alito did not join in Quiet Justice Thomas' dissent repeating the "originalist" mantra that abortion has no basis in the Constitution. A reversal of Roe is thus very unlikely as a 7-2 majority would still uphold it. Nor could Roe be reversed without reversing its predecessor case finding the right to privacy within the penumbra of rights in other Amendments.

Posted by: JTSpangler | April 18, 2007 04:39 PM

The previous comment by "Bob" that states "So if a doctor intends an abortion with intact dilation and extraction, he or she can be certain the fetus is dead or dismembered first, or if the doctor is not certain he wants a dead fetus, then he can begin the intact d & e with the intent to deliver, not abort." hits the nail on the head (probably unintentionally. "...dismebered first..." is unambiguously accurate as it relates to the "brain sucking" procedure that is excused as "partial birth abortion". Now what part of this definition and example don't people with an IQ above 5 understand?

Posted by: B Johnson | April 18, 2007 04:41 PM

I'm told by a nurse that a "partial-birth abortion" is actually the delivery of a fetus that died in utero -- the words "birth" and "abortion" in this context both being complete misnomers. I asked the nurse why this fact is not reported and she indicated that pro-choice advocates have not been able to get this information reported in the main stream media. Can you address this question?

Posted by: Verify | April 18, 2007 04:46 PM

Not only did a majority of Justices uphold the ban, a majority of Americans support this ban as well. The judiciary and the People have spoken with one voice. Liberals should heed that.

Posted by: alvin | April 18, 2007 04:49 PM

so alvin, do you follow your own advice when it comes to Roe vs Wade?

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | April 18, 2007 04:56 PM

It is truly a sad day in the field of women's health. As a law student, I can truly say that this opinion was in complete disregard of not only Supreme Court precedent, but also of the medical community and their expert opinions. This opens the door for more attacks on issues relating to women's health. I don't know about anyone else, but I trust my doctor to make decisions regarding my body more than I trust Congress or the Supreme Court, especially when they aren't thinking about my health, but a super conservative agenda put forth by our so-called President. Also, to Icarus, just because a procedure makes your stomach turn doesn't make it any less necessary. I don't like to watch open heart surgery or amputations, but they are necessary for people's health. You really need to reexamine your standards if you measure the benchmark for medical necessity by how much something makes your stomach turn.

Posted by: Lawgirl 16 | April 18, 2007 05:03 PM

from Wikipedia, searched for 'partial birth abortion'. (All text from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partial-birth_abortion) "Preliminary procedures are performed over a period of 2-3 days, to gradually dilate the cervix using laminaria tents (sticks of seaweed which absorb fluid and swell). Sometimes drugs such as synthetic pitocin are used to induce labor. Once the cervix is sufficiently dilated, the doctor uses an ultrasound and forceps to grasp the fetus' leg. The fetus is turned to a breech position, if necessary, and the doctor pulls one or both legs out of the birth canal, causing what is referred to by some people as the 'partial birth' of the fetus. The doctor subsequently extracts the rest of the fetus, usually without the aid of forceps, leaving only the head still inside the birth canal. An incision is made at the base of the skull and a suction catheter is inserted into the cut. The brain tissue is removed, which causes the skull to collapse and allows the fetus to pass more easily through the birth canal."

Posted by: JDM | April 18, 2007 05:05 PM

A lot of Americans don't have the full facts about the procedure, hence they disagree with it because they've simply been told about all the nastiness. There are some cases (and let's keep in mind that the procedure is rare to begin with) where it is medically necessary. Why should a judge or a congressperson know better than a certified obstetrician/gynecologist or M.D. what is or isn't medically justified?

Ginsburg's statement today included this: "the Court's opinion tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide A PROCEDURE FOUND NECESSARY AND PROPER IN CERTAIN CASES by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. For the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception protecting a woman's health." (emphasis mine).

There ARE times when it's necessary, but the only "education" on this issue have been the rabidly "pro-life" people, who by and large don't give a damn about the actual living. They oppose stem-cell research, they DON'T oppose the death penalty, so their idea of "pro-life" only applies to the unborn. I'm not saying that's how they all feel, but a large number do, and they're the ones explaining this issue. Doctors need to step up and explain that there are medical consequences to this political decision.

Posted by: TZ | April 18, 2007 05:14 PM

Cohen - like most political pundits with his name - is a liberal hack who distorts information to his liking. There IS an exception to this law when the life of the mother is in question. On a different note, this country is all about rights and rather than responsibilities. You get pregnant *under normal circumstances*, you should have a responsibility to that life you created, not a right to kill.

Posted by: speed123 | April 18, 2007 05:16 PM

I lost 2 grand children to partial birth abortions. Both children were exo-skeletal. I other words, their spines were outside the body.

This is a direct result of my exposure to agent orange in Viet Nam. Proven fact.

Now our 31 y/o daughter has breast cancer, agent orange? We are doing genetic testing.

I got three cigarettes in every meal during three tours, thanks America.

Posted by: Phil Elliott | April 18, 2007 05:18 PM

The "chipping away" argument is very weak. One cannot expect to have a right that is not limited in some way to avoid an completely unreasonable outcome. For example, we enshrine "freedom of speech" but there are even some limits placed on that right. One cannot publish visually obscene photographs and sell them at public newsstands in most cities. There is a right to bear arms in the Constitution, but in many states and cities there is not an unfettered right to have a gun (and nor should there be). In this case, just because there are some limits placed on access to abortion, it does not necessarily follow that abortion will become illegal. Those are the types of scare tactics the NRA crowd uses to keep assault weapons legal. The majority of Americans support some level of legal abortion (albeit only a tiny percentage believe it should be legal in all cases, and a strong majority are opposed to partial-birth abortion). It is hard to imagine any "health exception" that would outweigh the gruesome and barbaric practice of delivering a child, dismembering it and crushing its skull.

Posted by: Mark | April 18, 2007 05:18 PM

Finally, a vote that protects the innocent unborn from the uncaring part of society called liberal. It is time for conservatives to take a stand against those that attack us with their mean spirited words. We are also Americans and it is time to get off the sidelines and take to the streets for our beliefs. We need to raise our voices louder than them.

Posted by: tdewayne | April 18, 2007 05:20 PM

in response to TZ, and building upon Bob's comment: Justice Ginsburg states that the procedure at issue is "necessary and proper in certain cases." Because the majority opinion written by Justice Kennedy leaves open the ability to challenge the law on an as-applied basis -- that is, when the procedure is "necessary and proper" to a given patient -- can it really be said that the Court has shifted materially on abortion? I also found noteworthy JTSpangler's comment that the Chief Justice and Justice Alito did not join Justices Thomas and Scalia's dissenting opinion that would remove abortion from constitutional jurisprudence.

Posted by: hmmm | April 18, 2007 05:23 PM

All these "values" legislations are fascist leaning events - and Americans do not understand what that means. Sleepwalkers. Government has NO BUSINESS telling citizens what to think or how to decided their health related decisions; telling them how to live their lives, what is good and bad. This is the basis of fascist government. So it goes, one more step down the slippery slope.

Posted by: jmm430069 | April 18, 2007 05:44 PM

I don't know what to make of this, if anything, but all 5 of the majority are Catholic (http://www.adherents.com/adh_sc.html).

Posted by: BuddyK | April 18, 2007 05:44 PM

"Ladies, save those metal coat hangers."

Disgusting. Please don't group all ladies together -- this lady thinks all abortion is abhorrent.

When someone physically tears apart a human body - whether that body is entirely contained in a womb, partially, or not at all - the act is the same. A murder so horrific, so shocking, so base, that no one should be capable of it.

I'm a woman in my twenties - and I'm outraged that so many of my generation have suffered this fate.

Posted by: My generation | April 18, 2007 05:47 PM

With the appointment of Roberts and Alito, the majority of the SCOTUS justices are Catholic, the same majority of five that voted to uphold the ban on the medical procedure known as "intact dilation and extraction." The politically-charged term "partial birth abortion" does not exist in the medical lexicon.

Doctors and their patients no longer have the autonomy to decide what is medically appropriate for themselves. What's next, granting the unborn fetus rights of "personhood"?

Posted by: Abigail Hayward | April 18, 2007 05:49 PM

Most Americans are opposed to 'partial birth' abortions if you describe an intact D&E like a scene from a horror movie. Bust ask Aericans if they support abortion between 12 and the legal limit of 22 weeks and a majority are in favor! What has hurt the pro-abortion side is how this procedure was framed and described by non-doctors. It's infuriating.

Posted by: Dhalgren | April 18, 2007 05:55 PM

THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!!!! PRAYER DOES PREVAIL! YES, if a doctor or expectant mother go ahead with a partial birth abortion they should be tried for murder and sent to jail to serve no less than a life term for the life they took.

Posted by: Angela | April 18, 2007 05:57 PM

Conservative white men telling women what they can do to their bodies. American Equality!

Soon white men will be tellng the whole worldw hat they can do.

Women everywhere should unite against the conservative republican base and declare their own freedom of choice, even if their husbands do not allow them to be free. Courage leads to equality!

Republicans lack courage and so they fight behind black robes and republican ideals.

Posted by: patrick | April 18, 2007 06:08 PM

B. Johnson, there is no liberal member of the supreme court any further. The Supreme Court has moved so far to the left the center appears to be the right now and truly conservative measure appeear liberal in nature

Posted by: patrick | April 18, 2007 06:10 PM

Question for your reporting:
Was it just a wedge for anti-abortion foes or do they have some rationale why they addressed a "type" rather than timing? They had to argue to win that there are other types of abortion so partial birth type isn't needed. If partial birth is so abhorent, why isn't third trimester large fetus dismemberment abhorent? Of course to them it is, but they couldn't win on "tough, let the woman die."

So we have both "sides" narrowly defining the debate to the point where the woman's health exception is now thrown out. Great......

Posted by: Silver Spring | April 18, 2007 06:25 PM

Speed123: "Cohen - like most political pundits with his name - is a liberal hack who distorts information to his liking."

What do you mean by "like most political pundits with his name"? Do you mean Jewish people?

I find that comment disturbing, and wonder if the repeat of the facist viewpoints of the Nazi party are coming to pass in the U.S. The parallels are chilling. And I am so sick of of neo-conservatives making people with differing viewpoints out to be evil, this kind of sputtering, rabid posturing is tearing this country apart. Sinclair Lewis said: "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." And the scary thing is, I think the idealouges are proud of this. We are living in dangerous times people, the "religous" right can obtain a foothold in our government. I truly fear for the sake of our union.

Posted by: amw1972 | April 18, 2007 06:28 PM


What the anti-abortion folks don't realize, is that all of us pro-abortion folks don't do squat about the Roe VS Wade because it has been safe from overturning. If it looks like it will be tried to be overturned, we will come out in full force, and take back this country from the religious right - which with their control over the past 6 years, has proven horribly wrong.

I don't understand how it is a liberal thought and/or position to allow a woman to choose to carry a fetus to term. If men were the ones to be pregnant, then this would never be an issue.

And I'd like to add that all of the efforts that have gone into overturning Roe, surely add up to millions if not billions of dollars - wouldn't that money have been better spent helping the poor? helping single mothers with pregnancy issues? AIDS? Dafur? New Orleans! Anything other than this constant, useless bickering. If you dont like abortions, dont get one.

Posted by: Keep religion out of government | April 18, 2007 06:36 PM

"You can spin this any other way you want but in the end it comes down to a simple matter of personnel. Justice Alito was willing and able to go in the law where his predecessor, former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wasn't."

I see. So, this is supposedly without spin? It is true enough that Alito was willing to go where O'Connor wasn't, but that really doesn't settle the issue of who was on firmer ground, legally and constitutionally, does it?

"And, as a result, doctors in this country now may be sent to federal prison for performing a type of abortion procedure even if those doctors believe that a woman's health would be jeopardized by not having the procedure."

I suppose it doesn't matter to you that any abortion puts a woman's life and health at risk? Not to mention her psychological well-being? Or that in every abortion a human being dies? Ah, but for some it's just a matter of control.

Posted by: JPF | April 18, 2007 06:38 PM

With the makeup of this court, this is hardly a surprise.

JPF has a good point. Alito could vote this way. O'Connor couldn't even if she wanted to, lest she fear for her and her family's safety.

The 3rd posters comments about metal coathangers either shows grave ignorance about this procedure, or a callous attitude towards life in general.

Posted by: DC | April 18, 2007 06:45 PM

Without agreeing or disagreeing with the Supreme Court ruling, I would just like to address a common comment that Congress and the Supreme Court should not usurp the judgment of qualified physicians. I should point out that Congress and the Supreme Court are constantly making decisions in areas that are not part of their expertise. Indeed, it is their job to do so. How many senators or congressmen are Army Generals? Yet they debate and appropriate military budgets (sometimes with strings attached). Despite what some may say, they are right to use their own judgment in pursuing particular policies. The supreme court ruled in a case involving global climate change, yet not one of them has extensive scientific experience, let alone in atmospheric chemistry. But after digesting the testimony of experts, they concluded according to their understanding. It's there job. So you may prefer to trust your gynecologist more than you would Justice Kennedy, but you don't have that choice because Congress and the Supreme Court have done the job that they are supposed to do.

Posted by: BFair | April 18, 2007 07:06 PM

AMW1972's linking of abortion and nazism is interesting. It is all in the language.
Whether it is abortion, the death-camps, slavery, or apartheid, to justify doing something objectively abhorrent to a fellow human being, be it extermination or enslavement, we first have to convince ourselves that the victim is "other" i.e. not one of us.

Posted by: TMH | April 18, 2007 07:13 PM

I'm very pro-choice, and I frankly don't have a problem with this ruling for several reasons, here's why:

1. The majority ruling, with no concurring opinions taking away from it, recognized a "constitutional right to abortion." Read the wording:

"Held: Respondents have not demonstrated that the Act, as a facial mat-ter, is void for vagueness, or that it imposes an undue burden on a woman's right to abortion based on its overbreadth or lack of a healthexception."

"(b) The Act's failure to allow the banned procedure's use where " 'necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for preservation of the[mother's] health,' " Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New Eng., 546 U. S. 320, 327-328, does not have the effect of imposing anunconstitutional burden on the abortion right."

The justices then go on to cite Casey, essentially mirroring Justice Kennedy's dissent to the Nebraska law several years ago, that when Casey was ruled on, it was still supposed to provide lattitude for regulation beyond the first trimester while recognizing an absolute right in the first trimester. Today's ruling serves to strengthen and clarify Casey, and still can be questioned again should a doctor ever be held for performing a procedure he deemed medically necessary.

2. Let's face it, this is an overwhelmingly popular law, in greyer territory than many other abortion cases, and was the Right's strongest card on the issue. Allowing this issue to die and go away will weaken their hand in future arguments, and may even provoke them to overplay their hand, getting to my third point:

3. The court, in the nature of their ruling, suggests to me that while they wanted to rule on this to clarify Casey and specify when regulating abortion may be ok, I think it's pretty clear they don't want to touch the issue again for a while. Kennedy was the key to the Casey decision, and he, not Alito, is the key to this decision. This decision went as far to the right as the court could pull Kennedy, and he's not going to budge an inch further.

I am, however, interested in why the issue of Congress' authority to legilsate in this case was never challenged. Is partial birth abortion really an interstate commerce issue, or are they trying to contort the 14th Amendment well beyond what even conservatives accuse Roe of doing?

Posted by: Michael | April 18, 2007 07:23 PM

I was not liking abortion and Nazism....I was linking neo-conservatism and Nazism. Speed123 made a veiled anti-Semitic remark, based on a man's last name.

Posted by: amw1972 | April 18, 2007 07:32 PM

As somewhat who struggles with the abortion question, I don't understand what this law is supposed to change. Can the pro-lifers on this board please explain how banning D&X while maintaining D&E changes anything? Is it simply a step towards banning abortion completely? Is taking that step worth risking a woman's life or health? Is killing a fetus by chopping its arm off or ripping into pieces somehow so less gruesome than D&X that it necessitates that risk? I just don't understand what this law accomplishes.

And the media completely failed to report the opinions of the justices correctly. The opinion did not uphold the constitutionality of the law. It reserved the issue of constitutionality for an as-applied challenge as opposed to a facial challenge. Anyone want to place wagers on how long it will take for an as-applied challenge to be filed? I'm betting Monday morning.

Posted by: | April 18, 2007 07:44 PM

AMW1972, you are right. It is all in the labelling of the victim. Whether it is Jews or unborn children, once they have been identified as the enemy within, it becomes easier to subject them to the unthinkable.

Posted by: TMH | April 18, 2007 07:47 PM

I'm betting not, the procedure is a rare one, and the benefits of it over the others are real, but small, so most doctors will opt for one of the other methods. This ruling is largely about symbolism and nothing more. The idea of Casey being overturned anytime soon is absurd, and as you say this is about a facial challenge rather than an as-applied challenge, so most of the issue was ducked even in what should have been a fairly straightforward case under Casey and Kennedy's past opinions. I think the abortion debate will largely settle at this semantical point of second-trimester abortions and the nature of the health exemption, but I don't see anything significant beyond that anytime soon, if ever.

And for all you nutty wingers, who the hell considers the fetus an "enemy." This is exactly why mainstream America will never take you seriously. just like this will likely be a relatively popular decision that you insist everyone should live with, Roe and Casey were also and are also popular decisions that will stand whether you like it or not. Today's ruling only furthered than notion, so it's time for you to get over it.

Posted by: Michael | April 18, 2007 07:54 PM

Oh, I get it now. You're 12.

Posted by: amw1972 | April 18, 2007 07:57 PM

For B Johnson,

As a "regular decent and responsible-for-my-actions person, who is not part of the elitist, self-proclaimed intelligensia that spew repulsive, venemous, illogical and unsubtantiated rants that defy any element of common decency, logic and verifiable fact", it is my opinion that you obviously need to take a course in reading comprehension.

Cohen made a valid point that the combination of a presidential election and the resignation of a Supreme Court justice made the difference in a decision. I don't know where you get your news, but many political analysts (both right and left leaning) predicted that Alito would make a difference in abortion cases.

Why did Cohen's reasonable comments trigger ***you*** to make such a 'illogical and unsubtantiated rant'?

LOL

Posted by: can u read | April 18, 2007 07:58 PM

As a man, it's not as big a deal what I think because, honestly, I'm not the one that has to carry a baby to term. I'm pretty sure that whether it's for an abortion or for carrying a baby to term when you have no desire to have it, it's a tough decision. This ruling is about one big issue.

Given that abortion is a recognized right according to the Constitution, we need to start getting things regulated to the point that the country can quit the spitting contest about abortion and set down some hard rules and procedures. Partial-birth abortion gets the boot unless it is a danger to the mother to use another method (and for the record, none of the doctors I've spoken with on the ruling would think twice about performing the procedure if the mother's life is at risk). Now what will be legal, what won't be legal. If we can maybe reach a consensus compromise in this country, maybe abortion won't be that little question nobody talks about in polite conversation and hints at jokingly as a hard topic.

Then again, a lot of people make a lot of money off the fiery rhetoric that anti-abortion activists use. I doubt they're going away anytime soon.

Posted by: Vic van Meter | April 18, 2007 08:02 PM

What Vic said

Posted by: Michael | April 18, 2007 08:35 PM

It's time for you women to learn your place. Get back in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant where you belong.

Posted by: Thomas Jefferson | April 18, 2007 09:10 PM

In its immediate impact the Supreme Court decision seemed to say that banning intact D&C is permissable because the language was narrowly written, women had alternative means to end a pregnancy, they can challenege the ban in those few cases where the procedure might be needed, and the ban arguably effected only a few women.
But the decision also used language that could be used to further restrict abortion within certain limits. Not to get too techical, Justice Kennedy appeared to remind everyone of the analysis in the CASEY decision that said Congress has an equally important duty that must be taken into account--protecting the health of the woman and the LIFE of the fetus. And that this legislative duty extends even into the period when the fetus is not viable.
This and other language in the decision appears to provide an opportunity for legislators all over America to craft laws further restricting--but not outlawing--the woman's right to choose. It thus portends more legislation and more judicial battles over that legislation.

Posted by: John G. | April 18, 2007 09:27 PM

amw1972 - actually I mean the Cohen in the opinions section of the Post. However, since you bring up the subject of new-cons - maybe you should do some research and you will see that all of it's leading members are, in fact, Jewish: Wolfowitz, Feith, Pearle and the academic founder, Strauss. In the name of preventing another perceived holocaust for Israel they created one in Iraq! These men are truly evil.

As for everyone throwing around the term *facisism* - just because you dont get your way in all matters does not mean that this is a police state. Communism was much more deadly and I can only assume that you are sympathic to communists because they were *pro-choice*, *pro-women* and anti-Church as they slaughtered 100 million. That was a real holocaust!

Posted by: speed123 | April 18, 2007 09:36 PM

The folks who want to end one of the last traces of the eugenics movement are the Nazis...ooookay. More proof that crack does not smoke itself.

Posted by: Margaret Sanger | April 18, 2007 09:45 PM

Actually, the Romanian communists were devoutly anti-abortion because under their logic it was the duty of every good communist to bear as many communist children as possible, basically making women slaves of the state for procreation. It became very pro-choice after the wall came down.

And eugenics? Give me a frickin break, that's as bad as calling it a holocaust. It isn't a social movement to engineer society, nor is it isolating a group for eradication. It is blocking the state from intervening in the bodies of individuals where they have no business. The last thing this country needs is to have women who have just suffered tragic miscarriages treated as suspects and the hospital as a crime scene until it can be ruled "natural causes." This isn't a slippery slope, this is exactly what will happen if the Right's perspective on abortion (and that nut case Angela above) prevail. The court has been pretty clear and consistent, abortion in the first trimester is a right, beyond that it can be legislated to an extent providing basic criteria are met. The only thing really in play are those basic criteria.

Posted by: Michael | April 18, 2007 09:55 PM

The so called "health exception" was undoubtedly planted there so that the Jimmy Cracker Democratics can have a huge multi-billion dollar campaign about the immoral nature of abortion - viz., we only care about the women's health &c so that when the Klan sweeps them in the South the GOP in 8 years can condemn the Old Thurmond Wing for being "too Liberal" on the women's health issue.

The truly sad part in all of this is addressed in my blog here http://blog.myspace.com/blazintommyd

Because what this clearly is, is an attack on privacy. Like Conservatives blow the arms and legs off innocent children and zoom cruise missles through peoples livings rooms because they're concerned about a Cruel God punishing them for not preventing a woman from having an abortion?

Yes a majority probably does believe that and that's why we get Presidents like Bush, Judges like Alito and the Democratic-republican single party monolith

Let's see how far to "the right" the Democratics go on this one

93

Posted by: blazintommyd | April 18, 2007 10:04 PM

Makes more sense than the "enlightened" individuals referring to this legal decision as "fascism". Tiresome isn't it?

Posted by: Margaret Sanger | April 18, 2007 10:06 PM

You guys need a BIG reality check with this crap about the "mother's life". WHAT is MORE important?......the fact that an infant WILL DEFINITELY die if this bartial-birth procedure is carried out or the small (and perhaps remote) possibility, that the mother will die if it is NOT?

If you answer the mother, I've got beachfront property for sale in Kansas....wanna buy some?

Posted by: | April 18, 2007 10:23 PM

B Johnson-- the point was not unintentional, it was as accurate a rendering of the language of the opinion as I could digest, without cut and paste. My point was that the opinion seems to allow similar, but technically different methods by narrowly constraining the definitions in the act itself. Michael's notes here are well written and on point, too. The language might be stretched to eliminate other methods, but there is nothing in the opinion that limits the early abortions, as the proceedure in the case was for later term, a time when Roe allowed the interest of the State to be much greater than earlier in a pregnancy. The greatest benefit, however will probably be in the renewed energy and activism of the "pro-choice" citizens. I hope the result is that more legislators who support choice and women's equality will be elected, and those statutes more limiting of the right of a woman to control her own body do not get written.

Posted by: Bob, as well | April 18, 2007 11:30 PM

It's not an infant, it's a fetus, and yes, it is medically necessary. Let's say the woman has an autoimmune disorder, has multiple children already, is the sole breadwinner for the family, and physically cannot take another pregnancy and, oh by the way, ultrasounds cannot even confirm whether the fetus is alive or not and movement has been low and abnormal all along. Is the D&X warranted then? I say absolutely, it happened to my mother ten years ago, and if you have a problem with that, go to hell.

Posted by: Michael | April 18, 2007 11:31 PM

"It's time for you women to learn your lace. Get back in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant where you belong."

you are a pig. i can not believe you would shape your lips to say something like that! i am a daughter, i am a sister, i am a wife, and i am a mother. none of these roles require that i be in the kitchen barefoot, you fool! being pregnant was a blessing for me but a choice for others, i won't judge.

Posted by: | April 18, 2007 11:32 PM

"It's time for you women to learn your lace. Get back in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant where you belong."

you are a pig. i can not believe you would shape your lips to say something like that! i am a daughter, i am a sister, i am a wife, and i am a mother. none of these roles require that i be in the kitchen barefoot, you fool! being pregnant was a blessing for me but a choice for others, i won't judge.

god bless michael, i agree!

Posted by: karen arroyo | April 18, 2007 11:35 PM

"In addition the Act's prohibition only applies to the delivery of "a living fetus." 18 U. S. C. ยง1531(b)(1)(A) (2000 ed., Supp. IV). If the intact D&E procedure is truly necessary in some circumstances, it appears likely an injection that kills the fetus is an alternative under the Act that allows the doctor to perform the procedure."

(Direct quote from the opinion of Justice Kennedy, which also clearly describes a non-intact D # E as a dismemberment, and rules that such is not unlawful.)

The loss of the protection for the health of the woman is the worst effect of the decision. But the trial of a few doctors and the descriptions of the plight of the health of their paitients may turn opinion, both in the court and in the country. It would be a better world if that were not necessary, but I was not elected God.

Posted by: Bob, as well | April 19, 2007 12:01 AM

Someday a thirteen year old girl will die giving birth to her brother after Roe is chipped into meaninglessness as its foes intend. God bless them all and the little girl, too.

Posted by: Matt Kabrisky | April 19, 2007 12:05 AM

Partial Birth Abortions are just plain murder. the first trimester, i can sort of understand. but the procedure for partial birth is so horrendous, I can't even imagine anyone being that cruel to do this. I am so happy that the SCOTUS ruled on this. It is great. THANK GOD they finally did this.

Lets face it though, you liberals are going to be extinct because it is you who want to abort. (and that might be a good thing.)

Posted by: carol | April 19, 2007 02:53 AM

"It's time for you women to learn your lace. Get back in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant where you belong."

I did not say it the SCOTUS did. Accept their decision and your new role. The 5 men in black robes know what is best for you.

Posted by: Thomas Jefferson | April 19, 2007 07:16 AM

They cry for the unborn, but drop bombs on the living. They support the culture of life, but apply the death penalty liberally. They care so much about Schiavo, but gut the health budget, and want to scrap HHS. They protect the unborn, but gut infant/ children feeding programs; etc. What rank hypocrisy!

Posted by: Bud | April 19, 2007 07:56 AM

Another excellent example of the self righteous hypocrites of the Christian Reich. Way to go, carol, you just won the prize for most idiotic post yet.

Posted by: Michael | April 19, 2007 02:29 PM

Alito is only the key in that he made Kennedy the swing vote. For the future, Kennedy is the key vote, which means that this issue is settled law for the present, since Kennedy will go no farther to the right on this issue.

Posted by: Michael Bindner | April 19, 2007 04:53 PM

Say what you will, but today's pro-abortionists are last century's anti-abolitionists.

Posted by: - | April 19, 2007 08:24 PM

Every abortion should be legalized, plain and simple.

Before another Pro-Lifer spits another word, they should go and adopt a child or be a foster parent. I will never change my stance until all unwanted children in orphanages and foster homes have a LOVING HOUSEHOLD to be a part of.

Why don't you pro-lifers think THE LIVING???? The living children need homes and loving parents. We do not need anymore tax-dependant children without parents

Posted by: Darrel K | April 20, 2007 11:07 AM

Perhaps during the post-SCOTUS discussions, the American people will discover what partial birth abortion means.

Timely reporting.

Posted by: Cassandra | April 22, 2007 02:13 PM

Thank you to the catholic jurists. I'm glad someone finally holds up our religious beliefs! We need more catholics in government. If they continue to toe the line, someday we evangelicals may even accept them into the christian fold!

Posted by: | April 26, 2007 09:20 AM

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