The “Next Roe v. Wade”? Hardly

By Dave Andrusko

Jennie McCormack

As we will explain momentarily, the unintended irony in the Newsweek headline is so thick it’s almost dripping: “The Next Roe v. Wade?: Jennie McCormack’s Abortion Battle.” The name may be familiar to National Right to Life News Today readers.

A little over three month ago we wrote about Ms. McCormack, an Idaho woman who had aborted using RU486 purchased on the Internet, who had filed a class action suit in the U.S. District Court for Idaho challenging the state’s abortion law and its recently enacted Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. As best anyone can tell, this is first court challenge to the laws passed first in Nebraska in 2010 and four other states in 2011 which protects from abortion those unborn children capable of feeling pain, conservatively defined in the law as 20 weeks post-fertilization.

The “hook” for Nancy Hass’s story apparently is that next week, “motions will be heard in federal court to certify the suit as a class action.”

So, what’s the irony? Let me count the ways, starting with the 1972 law (as opposed to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act passed this year, which we’ll take about later).

#1. The “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade—Norma McCorvey—(a) never had an abortion, (b) lied about being raped, and (c) has since become a pro-life spokeswoman with her own ministry.

#2. The strong implication is that the state is, if not eager to retry McCormick under the 1972 law, at least keeping its powder dry. In fact, the law has rarely been used and McCormack’s case may be the only instance. In any event pro-lifers never ask that women be prosecuted, seeing them as the second victim.

#3. Consider how this case overlaps with webcam abortions which is premised on women in remote areas self-administering the two drugs that make up the “RU46” abortion technique.

McCormack said she thought she was about 12 weeks pregnant but was, in fact, 18-21 weeks pregnant. According to Hass, McCormack asked her sister to buy the RU486 over the Internet and send it to her (at a cost of around $200).

No one, not even the craziest pro-abortionist, recommends using RU486 past the ninth week of pregnancy.

And when she saw the size of the baby she was scared, according to Hass.

“She didn’t know what to do—‘I was paralyzed,’ she says—so she put it in a box on her porch, and, terrified, called a friend. That friend then called his sister, who reported McCormack to the police.”

#4.Consider this related point as well. Hass, like all pro-abortion writers, bemoans the lack of abortion “providers.” Well, one reason—one that grows more significant by the month—is that Planned Parenthood is gobbling up smaller abortion providers, eliminating its own less-profitable clinics, and building gigantic mega-clinics with entire floors devoted to abortion. To  approach quasi-monopoly status, PPFA is performing (and expanding the number of) webcam abortions, where the abortionist can be hundreds of miles away from the pregnant woman. He just pushes a button and presto the RU486 drugs appear. This is unbelievably dangerous to the mothers but….

Wouldn’t it be interesting to be a fly on the wall of PPFA’s office. If women got RU486 over the Internet it would cut into PPFA’s profits.

#5. Hass notes that McCormack is “a bad case” for pro-abortionists.  “The fact that McCormack kept a 4-month-old fetus frozen in the winter chill on her back porch is the sort of ghoulish image pro-choice activists try to avoid,” she writes. That her baby was mid-to-late second-trimester doesn’t make her popular either. But her case is flawed on other grounds as well.

In the original complain McCormack’s attorney, Richard Hearn, argued that the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection fails to contain a “constitutionally acceptable exception” allowing for an abortion if necessary to preserve the health of the mother. That contention was rebutted by Dr. Sean Patrick Kenney, M.D., a board certified obstetrician/gynecologist, and assistant clinical professor at Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska.

“The language of the law makes fully adequate provision for those rare cases, probably occurring no more than 1-2 times per 5,000 births, when medical complications require premature delivery or abortion of an unborn child after the stage at which the child is capable of feeling pain,” noted Dr. Kenney.

The Abortion Establishment has not challenged any of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Acts for the simple reason they know perfectly well  they might lose in the Supreme Court. For that reason among many it is unlikely that McCormack’s case will be “The next Roe v. Wade.” 

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