Thursday, May 16, 2019

That Notorious Justice

There was a time when nominees for the United States Supreme Court did not routinely lie, mislead, or fail to answer the questions upon testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. And so it was that when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was tapped by President Barack Obama for a seat on the United States Supreme Court, she stated

The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.

That might not have seemed a revolutionary statement at the time. But it is now that

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday signed the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, setting up a court fight that Republicans hope will end with the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

“To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God,” Ivey said in a statement.

The state Senate on Tuesday approved the legislation, which prohibits abortion at any point during pregnancy, even in cases of rape and incest. The bill, which was easily approved by the Republican-dominated House last month, does make an exception if the pregnancy poses a health risk to the mother.

Leana Wen, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, earlier Thursday vowed a legal challenge, saying the law violates the landmark 1973 Roe ruling guaranteeing a woman’s right to an abortion until a fetus is viable.

The Republicans who pushed for and passed the legislation are hoping for just that. They believe the Supreme Court's new conservative majority offers the anti-abortion movement its best chance in a generation to overturn Roe.

Just this year, four states, including Georgia last week, banned abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected — about six weeks into a pregnancy. But Alabama’s law goes even further. This measure prohibits abortion at any point during the pregnancy and while a woman can’t be prosecuted, a person who performs the abortion can be convicted of a Class A felony and be imprisoned for up to 99 years in prison — essentially a life sentence.

Of course he- or she- can.  Activists and their allies want to threaten only the doctor with prison because it is relatively safe politically.  They realize that were the individual (woman) who wants, seeks, obtains, and pays for an abortion to be held accountable for what they consider "murder," there would be public revulsion.

Moreover, they want to threaten only the doctor with prison because in so doing they remove from the woman all agency.   They deny her the ability to consider herself a fully adult human responsible for her own choices. And that is a very, very good day for the forced-birth movement.

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