WASHINGTON, November 25, 2013 — Should abortions be allowed, and if so, when?
True and legitimate differences exist, but the debate has moved from these core issues because those against abortions have continuously lost in our nation’s courtrooms. Thus, back-door efforts have taken over, aimed at denying access to women both desiring and in need of pregnancy terminations.
Sally, a teenager, made a mistake, got pregnant, and wants to terminate her pregnancy so she can lead a normal teenage and young adult life. She wants to complete school, get a job, and not have to rely on family and her state’s welfare system to help her raise the child.
Ruth was raped and cannot imagine conceiving the child created by a devastating brutal attack. She believes the child, if born, will forever be a reminder.
Maria’s health is poor and she might die if she carries her pregnancy to term.
Lisa has four children and cannot afford to raise another. She also feels she is too old to properly care for an infant.
Other than past civil rights issues and those involving same-sex marriage, perhaps no issue in our nation’s history has divided so many well-meaning people. The debate must be clean, without subterfuge and misdirection that results in denial of access, denial of services, and devices designed to scare and shame pregnant women into actions contrary to their desires.
Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal proposed a new abortion bill last week: “The Women’s Health Protection Act.” The bill returns the debate to the core issues, despite that it has some problems.
Conservatives have called this bill “radical.”
The bill would eliminate hundreds of state abortion laws, invalidating late-term abortion limits and so-called “health and safety” regulations. It would place “health” decisions used in determining post-viability abortions in the hands of patients and their doctors.
Senator Blumenthal’s bill would abolish 24 hour waiting periods. The need for doctors to advise women of abortion alternatives would similarly be eliminated.
Senator Blumenthal’s proposed legislation, in its present form, does have flaws. It is vague when it details a judge’s role in “liberally” interpreting the law. It is similarly vague in failing to distinguish “health” as being physical or psychological. It further leaves open funding issues, particularly involving Medicaid recipients.
Nonetheless, the proposed law will return the debate to the core issues: whose decision is it and when can others get involved in the decision?
John McCormack writes in The Weekly Standard (identified on its website as a weekly conservative magazine and blog) that the bill “is so radical it would lead to the invalidation of the Pennsylvania law that was used to convict abortionist Kermit Gosnell… for killing 21 infants in utero past Pennsylvania’s gestational limit.”
McCormack also notes that the bill could “potentially force all 50 states to directly pay for elective abortions for Medicaid recipients because it bans measures that directly or indirectly increase the cost of providing abortion services or the cost for obtaining abortion services.”
In 1973 the Supreme Court decided the landmark case Roe v Wade, and a companion case, Doe v. Bolton, and held that a woman’s right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment trumped a state’s effort to protect an unborn child. Thus, a ban on outright abortions became the law of the land.
The court held however, that a pregnant woman’s desire to have an abortion must be balanced against the state’s legitimate interests in regulating abortions: protecting prenatal life and protecting the woman’s health. The Court decided that these interests became stronger as the pregnancy progressed and the Court fashioned a balancing test and allowed laws directed at later term pregnancies.
Since Roe, those in favor of forcing women to keep children they did not want have filed an unending array of lawsuits in every state and have concocted every conceivable argument in attempt to have Roe overturned. The pro-abortion groups changed their cause’s “name” at some point, clearly to be more politically correct, and they are now known as “pro-lifers.”
The problem with the pro-life camp is that they have ducked the core issues. Because they have been unsuccessful in getting the Roe decision overturned, pro-lifers have resorted to back door measures to further their views.
Sample a few of these back-door efforts espoused with other “goals”:
Virginia pro-lifers were successful in getting legislation passed that directed Virginia’s Board of Health to promulgate new regulations described as needed “safety” concerns for women seeking abortions. The ridiculous law has nothing to do with health, but effectively makes getting an abortion in Virginia much more difficult. An Arlington, Virginia lawsuit is now challenging the regulations that require abortion clinics to adhere to strict, hospital-style building codes, including rules mandating the width of hallways and doorways and the number of clinic parking spaces. Renovations needed to comply at these clinics would be prohibitively costly and force them out of business.
Texas pro-lifers want doctors performing abortions at clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The pro-life hospital boards continue to deny these doctors’ applications. These back door efforts take away the doctors and thus prevent the abortions from taking place.
Oklahoma pro-lifers passed a law that required women to undergo a narrated ultrasound exam before obtaining an abortion. The Oklahoma Supreme Court declared that law unconstitutional. This back door effort was designed to intimidate and shame women wanting an abortion into delivering the child.
If you do not like football, ban it. Do not make the requirements to play impossibly difficult, do not require high-school locker-rooms to conform with professional locker-rooms, do not allow only coaches with Ivy league degrees, and do not tell potential players they can be killed and that swimming might be a safer sport.
Paul A. Samakow is an attorney licensed in Maryland and Virginia, and has been practicing since 1980. He represents injury victims and routinely battles insurance companies and big businesses that will not accept full responsibility for the harms and losses they cause. He can be reached at any time by calling 1-866-SAMAKOW (1-866-726-2569), via email, or through his website. He is also available to speak to your group on numerous legal topics. Paul is the featured legal analyst on the Washington Times Radio, in Washington, D.C., on the Andy Parks show and he is a columnist on the Washington Times Communities.
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