Thursday, April 19, 2007

SCOTUS upholds "partial-birth abortion" ban

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Alas, I've neglected to post on this key Supreme Court decision on so-called "partial-birth" abortion. There's a lot of coverage over at Memeorandum, but make sure to check out in particular Shakesville, Pam's House Blend, Bradford Plumer, Balkinization, Hullabaloo, The Agonist, and The Moderate Voice (where one of my fellow assistant editors has a good round-up of blogospheric reaction).

Steve Benen of The Carpetbagger Report sums it up extremely well: "This is a truly awful ruling... [It] overturns recently-established Supreme Court precedent, the judgment of every federal court that considered the law, and the medical judgment of OB/GYN professionals... The consequences could be devastating for women with troubled pregnancies, many of whom have relied on the D&E procedure to save their lives... Instead, for the first time, the Supreme Court has interfered with -- and banned -- a specific medical procedure that saves women’s lives, backing a law that includes no protection for the health of pregnant women."

Partial-birth abortion is a horrible procedure -- I don't think anyone denies that -- but it is also, sadly, on rare occasions, a necessary one. And now it won't even be an option of last resort to save a woman's life.

Is this the thin end of the anti-abortion wedge? Will it lead to further restrictions on abortion, perhaps even the overturning of Roe? Perhaps. With this more conservative Supreme Court, anything is possible.

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