Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Partial Death Of Choice

The so-called partial birth abortion, a term which is from the conservative codebook and not a medical one, has now been banned by the Supreme Court of the United States in a 5-4 decision. It was five middle-aged and old men who decided to do this, men, who will never have an abortion themselves, just to remind you all, and all these men were elevated to the court by conservatives. Elections have consequences.

What is unusual about this decision is that it allows for no exceptions for the woman's health. It doesn't matter what the health consequences for her are, as long as she won't die on the operating table, even if the fetus is already brain dead and even if not having access to this technique means that she will have her uterus perforated or her cancer spread more quickly, say. The physicians who use this technique after the ban can face a two-year prison sentence.

Now how are you going to defend those other abortions, the ones which are not medically required, the ones in which the woman will not suffer ill-health consequences, when the Supreme Court has started on this road from the other end, the end where the woman had decided to have the child and where only some serious health concern stopped her from carrying the pregnancy to term?

Added later: Scott Lemieux on the TAPPED blog gives a good summary of the reasons why we should be worried:

Upholding ludicrously arbitrary legislation that puts women's health at risk without furthering any legitimate state interest, while signaling that the "undue burden" standard will be interpreted to uphold virtually any abortion regulation short of a ban, sets an extremely dangerous precedent.