Roe v. Wade

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Abortion is a deeply personal view, and I have no problem with how people come down on it, as long it is thoughtfully decided. But Roe v. Wade is a lot simpler that the position on abortion. Roe v. Wade is about a ruling that invented law from the bench, and whether it was a good ruling or not. While I actually agree with the position (it fits my beliefs), that's not actually how it has been enforced (Planned Parenthood v. Casey is a later and far worse decision, and is how Roe is enforced). But despite agreeing with Roe, everyone with the slightest law background who has looked at the decision, has admitted that it was a lousy ruling, Blackmun totally overreached, and it made the world a worse place.

Roe

In June 1969, 21-year-old Norma McCorvey discovered she was pregnant with her third child. She returned to Dallas, Texas, where friends advised her to assert falsely that she had been raped in order to obtain a legal abortion (with the understanding that Texas law allowed abortion in cases of rape and incest). However, this scheme failed because there was no police report documenting the alleged rape. She attempted to obtain an Illegal abortion, but the unauthorized facility had been closed down by the police, so she had the baby and put it up for adoption -- and later McCorvey repented being involved in the case at all, and became a pro-life activist. But at the time she became involved with Coffee and Weddington, who (in 1970) filed suit on behalf of McCorvey (under the alias Jane Roe). A three-judge panel declared the Texas law unconstitutional, finding that it violated the right to privacy found in the Ninth Amendment, and that got appealed up to the Supreme's -- which found a different excuse for overturning the law.

Harry Blackmun was one of the most progressive (least constitutional) justices on the Supreme Court and is best known as the author of the Court's opinion in Roe v. Wade, which prohibits many state and federal restrictions on abortion. Before that, we obeyed the constitution, which said that if it isn't in the Constitution, then it's not a federal issue and left it to the states to decide.

It helps to remember that:

  • Before Roe: 37 States had already passed laws legalizing abortion, and the others were on track to legalize it as well
  • There were no mass deaths due to coat hanger or back-alley abortions -- that's a myth spread by the far left.
  • The most restrictive states are far more liberal with abortion laws than most of the countries in Europe. France, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, etc., all require more checks and don't let as late term of abortions as the U.S.
  • If the Supreme Court overturned Roe, it would fall back to the states to decide and no state would outlaw abortion. Some might put a few more restrictions on when/how. The left plays this as "bringing back the coat hangers".

In the end, the Roe ruling was that when it comes to whose life (rights) we need to protect, basically that:

  • 1st Trimester, the right of the mother supersedes the baby -- and she can get an abortion
  • 3rd Trimester, the rights of the baby need to be protected by the State -- no 3rd trimester abortions
  • 2nd Trimester, we should leave it to the states and community standards.

I agree with all of that, by the way, I just disagree with Blackmun's authority to make the ruling. And that didn't last long. The later ruling of Planned Parenthood v. Casey basically lowered viability from 28 weeks to 23 weeks, but it weakened regulatory leeway of the states in the 2nd trimester (stiffening protections for abortions up to 23 weeks). And even then, by strengthening "health of the mother" exemption, it meant that a doctor just had to invent whatever excuse he wanted for terminating a baby up to the moment of birth. In fact, they invented an "undue burden" clause that basically said any reasonable controls on abortion, could create an undue burden: even though most of the rest of the first world had more restrictions than we're talking about. (No spousal notification requirements. But they did allow 24-hour waiting period, parental consent or reporting requirements -- though Blackmun criticized those too, and leftist states just refused to require any of them).


Toastmasters
14th Amendment
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10th & 11th Amendments
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Legal Review
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Judicial Activism
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No limits?
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Conclusion

I like the Roe v. Wade framework, even though the Supreme Court had no authority to make it: while it legalized 1st trimester abortions, it banned 3rd trimester, and left 2nd trimester up to states. However a later/worse decision (Planned Parenthood v. Casey) allowed so much doctors discretion and terminations up to 24 weeks (or beyond), and it's so poorly enforced, that virtually thousands of viable babies were born live and crying, and killed because of doctors discretion. Some like Kermit Gosnell were sent to prison for extending the rules beyond those limits, but only after 30 years of cover-ups. So I can be both pro-choice, and against judicial activism and the genocide of viable full-term babies.

If Roe is removed, what happens? The left will convince you that there will be a return of coat-hanger and back alley abortions. Besides the fact that was never happening in the 1960's (there were dozens of cases nationally, not hundreds or thousands), the facts are that abortions will still be widely legal in virtually all states, especially in the first trimester. What you would see is a few states making a few more restrictions to be more like Europe (12-16 week maximum's, informed consent, doctors permission slips, etc) -- hardly any serious obstructions. For the grey areas (people in a restrictive state), the activists will create programs to bus Women to more liberal states to get them, so virtually no change. And remember, if you've taken a baby to 20-24 weeks, you're already well past the time where a coat hanger or a caustic douche is going to get rid of it -- infanticide (and at viability it would be an infant) should be a major deal with serious restrictions and consequences. Most advocates of Roe are not about protecting abortion in their own communities, they're about imposing their will for unfettered 3rd trimester infanticide in communities that find that morally repugnant -- since they know they can't sell that truth to the public, they lie about the consequences to try to dupe the gullible to be "on their side".

References

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  • The consequence of judicial activism was the abortion clinic bombings, not JUST of the fanatics that did them, but I disagree with both sides on that. Though I do get why someone who believes in bombing their local community Auschwitz, I just see it as far more nuanced than that.

Abortion : Roe v. WadeKermit GosnellMargaret Sanger