By Dave Andrusko
Aside from message of the headline—“The Source of Our Abortion Woes: Most think that Planned Parenthood v. Casey upheld abortion rights, but it actually cleared the way for curbing them”—there are more than a few point in Scott Lemieux’s piece in The American Prospect with which I would disagree.
For example, I can’t agree with the first half of this sentence—“While some elements of the anti-abortion trend fly in the face of the Supreme Court’s holdings on abortion”—but wholeheartedly concur with the second half—“the preponderance of them are actually consistent with the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision.” And in the few minutes I have before I have to post Wednesday’s National Right to Life News Today, let me make just two quick points.
First, I don’t claim to understand the assorted hop, skips, and jumps we witnessed in the abortion jurisprudence of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Suffice it to say she understood what pro-abortionists refused (and refuse) to admit—that Roe v. Wade’s trimester system was absurd in1973 when Justice Harry Blackmun conjured it up as the basis for his decision and had grown untenable by the time of the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision.
O’Connor grasped that improvements in medical technology meant that the point of fetal viability was now much earlier in gestation, with the likelihood that it would be even earlier in years to come. Her solution was to abandon the rickety trimester framework and hold that a law could pass constitutional muster if it did not place an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to have an abortion.
Lemieux laments that in the nearly twenty years since pro-lifers have aggressively filled in the details of what constituted an “undue burden.” For example, with informed consent.
As we collectively learn more the unborn and are more familiar with what she looks like at various stages, does it not only makes sense that an abortion-vulnerable woman be made aware of all this when she is about to make a life or death decision? To us, that is fulfilling the promise of the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision; to Lemieux it is a nightmare.
Second, if in 1992 technology was key to undermining Roe’s original trimester framework in 1992, why in 2011 would not further breakthroughs at least make Supreme Court Justices take another look? We now know what we didn’t know in 1973 OR 1992: that the unborn child is capable of experience horrific pain by 20 weeks post-fertilization.
Isn’t it reasonable that the “State” has a “compelling interest” in prohibiting the abortion of a child who is developmentally mature enough to suffer excruciating pain?
Take a few minutes to read Lemieux’s piece.