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Friday, April 27, 2007

 

Abortion battle...Again.

The supreme court has recently upheld the 2003 partial birth abortion ban act. The decision was 5-4 in favor of the laws constitutionality. The Democrats are appalled, the Republicans applaud. Several people are arguing that the decision would have gone the other way if O'Connor will still on the bench. The dissent argued that the main problem with the law was that it does not allow any exceptions for medical reasons. President Bush said the prohibition "represents a commitment to building a culture of life in America. Today's decision affirms that the Constitution does not stand in the way of the people's representatives enacting laws reflecting the compassion and humanity of America," The article also seems to take offense to the conservative nature of the court and repeatedly points out that two members of the majority were nominated by Bush.

Personal feelings aside I believe that the court has made the wrong decision. The court has turned over Roe v. Wade. Obviously, as it has proven several times, the court has no respect for precedent. The country is founded on the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Of course there is the age old argument, does a fetus have a right to life? Are they people until they are born? At what point do they become people. Either way there is no statement in the constitution that can be used to justify banning abortion.

For me personally I am in favor of banning partial birth abortion. I would support a medical stipulation to the ban. Still, I am not sure that there would be no awareness of health risks that far along in a pregnancy. This is causing a paradox for me between liberty and morals. Who's to say that anyone has the right to tell someone whether or not they can have an abortion. I do not know if one could say that an abortion causes negative externalities and therefor justifies government interference. If we could say that it was a negative externality to the fetus then the solution would be to tax abortion, it seems like a strange solution but maybe it is the correct one. There seems to be no concrete answeres to these questions. It seems that whoever has the power of the White House determines which way this law will go. We will continue to see laws on abortion change.

Comments:
I haven't read Roe for a long time now, but I don't think the issue in the opinion in question could overturn Roe.

As I remember Roe, the Court really emphasized that it could not say, based upon science and medicine, when the fetus should be considered "a person" (although the Court probably didn't use the terms I'm using). As such the Court broke 9 months into 3 periods: conception to the end of 3 months, the next 3 month, the final 3 months. I believe the Court said after 6 months government could not say abortion was legal. In the first trimester privacy was the key and government could not make abortion illegal. Then in the 2nd trimester, the Court (as I remember) said state governments could decide the status of the fetus.
 
"This is causing a paradox for me between liberty and morals. Who's to say that anyone has the right to tell someone whether or not they can have an abortion."

I wonder if there is less of a paradox if you agree with me that the bottom line here is the question of "murder?" A person has liberty to do as they will with themselves and their property, as long as they don't harm the person or property of others. A person does not have the "right" to murder , or to take the life of another person. We expect government to pass and enforce laws against murder. So, in these cases, I think we can say that "government has the right to say" what is illegal because of harm to the person or property of others.

The bottom line is whether an abortion harms another person. Is the fetus which is aborted a person or not? Certainly each person can decide this for themselves. But, at some point, this issue seems so difficult in politics because there doesn't seem sufficient agreement among the people about the answer to this question. Many think there is a person involved and hence they seek to have government treat an abortion like other instances of physical harm to another person.

What do you think?
 
From what I understand of abortion in what they said in the article; partial birth abortion is one of the possible means of second trimester abortions. And it can be one of the necessary procedures in certain instances. What really worries me is that this ruling comes after the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was the swing vote in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which basically upheld Roe v. Wade. I think that the current judges are letting their particular moral judgements interfer with liberty and their duties to the United States citizens. Gonzalez v. Carhart (this case, I believe) is one of the first affirmed cases which the Supreme Court has looked past the rights, liberties, and health of women. I believe this is a very dangerous road, as it necessarily harms Constitutional rights to one's own person (and of course the natural rights of the individual). I belive Roe v. Wade was a very liberal ruling, which we should not backstep on due to baptist (no pun)/bootlegger predative tactics. Although an ugly topic, I believe it should be left to the discretion of the individual in accordance to Roe v. Wade.
 
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