Diary

Will Supreme Court Take an Abortion Case?

It has been years since the Supreme Court under John Roberts has taken an abortion case.  There are two petitions before the Supreme Court for consideration to take up next term.  The first one comes from Mississippi which passed a law requiring that doctors at an out-patient abortion facility have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.  Mississippi has only one such facility which is located in Jackson.  The district and appeals court have enjoined Mississippi from enforcing this law since it would require potential abortion patients to effectively seek that abortion out of state.  The problem is that no hospital within a 30 mile radius of the clinic in Mississippi will grant admitting privileges to the doctors.

Mississippi is not unique in this requirement since 13 other states have some form of hospital admitting privilege requirements for abortion providers.  The stated reason is for complications from an abortion that may ensue which require hospitalization.  Mississippi’s law was instigated by the Gosnell horrors in Philadelphia while other states had enacted similar laws prior to the notoriety of the Gosnell incident.

Here is the problem I have with arguments against these laws.  The pro-choice, feminist, abortion on demand lobby claim that abortion access is necessary lest we return to the days of back alley, unsafe abortions.  Yet, when the state passes regulations to provide and ensure there exists that safe environment, they likewise balk, cry foul, and claim a “war on women.”  In their reply brief to the Supreme Court, the Jackson Women’s Health Center states, “in the unlikely event an emergency occurs…”  Who are they to determine the likelihood of an emergency?  One emergency, no matter the odds or probability, is one too many.

In the alternative, the outpatient facility claims the law is unfair since they were not afforded an exemption.  One has to question whether other outpatient surgical clinics in Mississippi are afforded exemptions.  In effect, they are arguing for special treatment because they are an abortion clinic and especially because they are the only one in Mississippi.

The appeals court ruled in favor of the clinic using an interesting argument in a case having nothing to do with abortion-  Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada.  Without getting into details, that case ruled that one state cannot rely on a neighboring state to enforce a constitutional right in the other state.  Part of Mississippi’s argument is that besides the clinic in Jackson, residents of Mississippi can obtain abortions in neighboring Tennessee and Louisiana.  However, the case that should prevail here is Casey vs. Planned Parenthood and whether this commonsense regulation places an undue burden on a woman’s right to abortion.

Imagine this hypothetical:  suppose a state has only one abortion clinic and the state does not require admitting privileges.  In the course of a year, there are three botched abortions requiring hospitalization.  Is that state to simply ignore the botched abortions because “they are the only abortion clinic in the state?”  Are they supposed to sit on their hands and do nothing to regulate that clinic?  That is precisely what the clinic in Mississippi is arguing.

The other case stems from North Carolina and a law requiring that as part of the informed consent process, the patient undergo an ultrasound and that the patient be shown an image of the developing fetus.  This law was likewise enjoined from enforcement by an appeals court on the grounds that it was an undue burden in violation of Casey vs. Planned Parenthood and that it violated a doctor’s First Amendment free speech rights in that it compelled speech and a viewpoint.

This is another thing that nags me about the pro-death feminists.  Why are they so afraid of informed consent, including other options like adoption?  A patient of any procedure be it surgical or not or even pharmacological should be advised of the benefits and risks of any medical intervention so that the patient can make an informed choice.  The doctors in this case conveniently leave out the fact that the patient can avert their eyes when the ultrasound is performed. It is not as if the provider is shoving a picture in front of a patient’s opened eyes.  Ultrasounds are necessary to determine gestational age.  I will state that only in very rare and medically substantiated cases is a transvaginal ultrasound required and laws that require this procedure may go too far.

What is the pro-choice crowd afraid of if an abortion patient sees the ultrasound image of the developing fetus/baby?  Are they afraid that the patient may suddenly realize they are about to abort a human being?  Why do they worry more about a convicted murderer twitching on a gurney in a prison feeling no pain than they do about the pain that human being in the uterus must feel?  Besides the morality and ethical considerations on the Left, it is their lack of logic that is equally egregious.

We may see as soon as Monday whether the Court takes either of these cases.  A denial of review would leave the lower court rulings in effect and neither Mississippi nor North Carolina would be able to enforce these commonsense laws.