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Wednesday, 22.Oct.2003

13:53 - ick!

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the term `partial-birth abortion' means an abortion in which the person performing the abortion vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother, for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus; and performs the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus.

I'm sorry, folks, call be intolerant, but that just sounds damn gross.. I can't imagine a situation where this would be safer for the mother than actually delivering the child. Especially when you consider that this still counts as a vaginal birth. They first induce labor before the baby/mother are ready for it, then pause the proceedings to kill the baby, then continue labor to get the dead baby fully out.

Some people have said that this goes against Roe v. Wade. I don't see that. In fact, from what I can tell of the court decision in Roe v. Wade, the court only protected a woman's right to get an abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy. to quote:
(a) For the stage prior to approximately the end of the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician.

(b) For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.

(c) For the stage subsequent to viability, the State in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.

So, in passing this bill, I don't see any contradiction to the Roe/Wade decision. I see people decrying this ban as an "invasion of privacy". Well, guess what, again to quote the court:

The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy.

Now, yes, court decisions have defined some right to privacy, but in the case of abortion the Roe/Wade decision made it very clear that you only have a right to privacy up till the end of the first trimester. Anything you want to do after that can be legislated (within reason) by the State.

Some interesting reading for anyone with an opinion on this topic (as I think most people are):
here is the bill in question's site. To read the bill itself click on "text of legislation" and then click the link for version number 5, that's the one that is being sent to the president for signing.
here is a copy of the court decision in Roe v. Wade. It's not on the official Supreme Court's website becasue I couldn't find it there (I tell ya, the Supreme Court has one of the most unhelpful websites I've ever visited).


[User Picture]
Date:18:28 22.Oct.2003 (UTC)
Well, you can't rely solely upon Roe v. Wade as the authorative stance of the Supreme Court's authority on abortion. There has been changes since then!

In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992) , the court essentially threw out the trimester rule established in Roe v. Wade. Here's a link that provides the evolution of Supreme Court decisions concerning abortion.
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[User Picture]
Date:7:59 23.Oct.2003 (UTC)
yeah, I had heard about those other cases, but couldn't find any solid referances, so I just took what I could find and focused on the "this goes against Roe" yelling I'm hearing from a few people.

Thank you for the link, I'll have to read up on those cases also.

Oh, and on a quick glance of the case you cite, I see a potential fallacy with your claim. The court decision summary states nothing about the third trimester. The closest it gets is where it says that the clause in the law in question that " impermissibly requires a physician to preserve the fetus' life and health, whatever the stage of pregnancy " is too broad in that it covers the first trimester also and as such goes agains Roe and is therefore struck down. Granted, that is only the summary and it's probably mentioned in the text somewhere, but I haven't gotten that far yet.

I'll read through the entire judgement, but that seems pretty straightforward to me.

If you can find a quote from that court decision supporting your claim, I'd appreciate it if you could point it out for me (incase I miss it when I'm reading it on my own).
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]
Date:11:01 23.Oct.2003 (UTC)
(a) To protect the central right recognized by Roe v. Wade while at the same time accommodating the State's profound interest in potential life, we will employ the undue burden analysis as explained in this opinion. An undue burden exists, and therefore a provision of law is invalid, if its purpose or effect is to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.

(b) We reject the rigid trimester framework of Roe v. Wade. To promote the State's profound interest in potential life, throughout pregnancy, the State may take measures to ensure that the woman's choice is informed, and measures designed to advance this interest will not be invalidated as long as their purpose is to persuade the woman to choose childbirth over abortion. These measures must not be an undue burden on the right.

(c) As with any medical procedure, the State may enact regulations to further the health or safety of a woman seeking an abortion. Unnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion impose an undue burden on the right. [505 U.S. 879]

(d) Our adoption of the undue burden analysis does not disturb the central holding of Roe v. Wade, and we reaffirm that holding. Regardless of whether exceptions are made for particular circumstances, a State may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability.

(e) We also reaffirm Roe's holding that, "subsequent to viability, the State, in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life, may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother." Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. at .164-165.

Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992)
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[User Picture]
Date:14:27 23.Oct.2003 (UTC)
well, they didn't necessarilly throw out the trimester rule. They just said that basing it strictly on days since conception was silly. The part 'e' that you quoted clearly states that, "subsequent to viability" laws such as this one are perfectly fine.

Looks like there might be a technicallity on which this law will be deemed unconstitutional, though, in that this law does seem to reach slightly into the non-viable area, as an unborn child is commonly defined as a "fetus" at about the first week or two of the fourth month, well before it is actually viable outside the womb.

So, had this law been written up as being limited to fetuses which have achieved viability outside the womb, then there wouldn't be a problem.

Thanks for clearing this up, it looks like the Casey case didn't change much more than the caledar through which abortion can be regulated/prohibited. Again, I haven't had a moment to read through it yet (I hope to tonight) but that's the gist I get from what you've been so kind to quote to me so far.
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