SCOTUS Upholds “Partial Birth” Abortion Law

By Rori Black

Today the Supreme Court upheld the misnomered “partial birth” abortion ban implemented in 2003.

While the bill itself is named The Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003, it refers to a medical procedure called “intact variant of D&E”, dialation and extraction as opposed to dialation and curettage. In writing the act, Kennedy chose to use the more inflammatory term to shore up support for the bill.

The justices, voting 5-4, refused to invalidate the 2003 law even though it lacks an exception for cases posing a risk to the mother’s health. The court also rejected claims that the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act is so vaguely worded it would force doctors to forgo a commonly used, constitutionally protected abortion technique for fear of prosecution.

Bush’s two appointments, Roberts and Alito, joined Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas in voting to uphold the ban.

Bush signed the measure into law in 2003 saying, “a terrible form of violence has been directed against children who are inches from birth.” In reality, this extremely rare procedure usually occur in the second trimester.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, opposed this law because the banned procedure is often the best option for women:

The intact variant of D&E offers significant safety advantages over the non-intact method, including a reduced risk of catastrophic hemorrhage and life-threatening infection. These safety advantages are widely recognized by experts in the field of women’s health, authoritative medical texts, peer-reviewed studies, and the nation’s leading medical schools.

At least they’re thinking of the children.

Categories: Politics/Law/Government

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4 replies »

  1. Yes, and we have such good childcare available too.

    I think it’s time to reread The Handmaid’s Tale. The Roberts court is well on its way to creating a patriarchal, authoritarian Jesusland. But just think of the advantages: women won’t have to fret about the problem of choosing among a variety of options. They will know what they can and can’t do, and life will be so much simpler.

  2. Rori, I just ran across an excellent post by Matt Yglesias in which he quotes Justice Ginsburg’s dissent:

    The solution the Court approves, then, is not to require doctors to inform women, accurately and adequately, of the different procedures and their attendant risks. Instead, the Court deprives women of the right to make an autonomous choice, even at the expense of their safety.

    This way of thinking reflects ancient notions about women

  3. Robert,

    Thank you for that.

    Unfortunately, it goes beyond just crazy fundies who would rather I die than my foetus. The “an aspirin a day reduces your risk of heart attack” rule. Not. Tested. On. Women.

    Even thought the medical community has an inkling that men and women are different, they do most of their drug testing on male subjects only. It wasn’t until women were finding that not only did the aspirin not help, but that it was causing harm, that they ran the same tests again. IIRC, the voice over now says “men” specifically.

    PMS was not recognized as a real disorder until a few decades ago. Even now, there are doctors who insist that PMS is a social construct – we’re told that we’re supposed to suffer from it so we do.

    Let me move my bloated belly out of the way to give me more room to get hysterical about that.

    Rather than taking away my right to do as I please with my body, why can’t they take away the really hard choices? Why does there have to be 500 different flavors of ice cream? It hurts my poor feminine head to be confronted with rows upon rows of enticingly named, colorful, tubs and boxes and cups of the creamy goodness.

  4. Thankfully, this is something that can be changed if ever we get a reasonable President and a reasonable Congress both at the same time (I know, I know, but I can dream, can’t I?). And seeing as it was a 5-4 decision, it’ll be relatively easy to get a future court to overturn it. If the decision had been 6-3 or more, it would qualify as more settled Constitutional law than it does at present.