By Dave Andrusko
For whatever reasons of High Court protocol (or politics), Justice Stephen Breyer did the heavy lifting in today’s Supreme Court decision gutting the 2013 omnibus Texas pro-life law, HB 2. His majority opinion ran 40 pages.
It was left to a mere 385-word-long concurring opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to summarize the argument that HB 2 could not possibly be what legislators said it was: a good faith effort to protect women from the likes of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, convicted of three counts of first degree murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter. It was, in Ginsburg’s words, “beyond rational belief.”
The usual in-the-tank suspects provided the medical cover to “prove” that abortion is safer than a walk in the park, an aspirin, or a tooth extraction. But it was left to Danielle Paquette, a Washington Post reporter, to tease out that Justice Ginsburg was rebutting a contention made by Justice Samuel Alito in his dissent.
Which was? That HB 2 was intended to cause unsafe abortion clinics to close and that it was the absence of active supervision “by state or local authorities or by his peers” that allowed abortionist Kermit Gosnell to run riot. Gosnell, as you recall, delivered three late-term babies alive and then murdered them by severing their spinal cords.
Ginsburg brushed this motivation aside. Or, put more accurately, turned it inside out:
When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners, faute de mieux [for lack of a better option ] at great risk to their health and safety.
Two points. First, abortion was and is legal through 24 weeks in Pennsylvania. Access was not limited, severely or otherwise.
In fact, as the Gosnell grand jury pointed out, Gosnell’s abortion clinic went uninspected for 17 years because his “patients” were “poor women of color,” “because the victims were infants without identities,” “because the subject was the political football of abortion” and because “access” trumped everything.
As the grand jury made abundantly clear, the responsibility was all on one side.
After 1993, even that pro forma effort came to an end. Not because of administrative ennui, although there had been plenty. Instead, the Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all. The politics in question were not anti-abortion, but pro. With the change of administration from Governor Casey to Governor Ridge, officials concluded that inspections would be ‘putting a barrier up to women’ seeking abortions. Better to leave clinics to do as they pleased, even though, as Gosnell proved, that meant both women and babies would pay.”
Second, there is this myth, propagated by the Abortion Industry and dutifully parroted by the mainstream media, that abortion access is Texas has been severely crimped because of the closure of abortion clinics due to HB 2.
As Justice Alito pointed out (and NRLC’s Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon has documented in a dozen different posts), there is no evidence supporting that connection. There is scant direct evidence–as opposed to speculation–that HB 2 is the only or even the main cause cause for abortion clinic closures and, in any event, Planned Parenthood is consolidating and building “megaclinics.”
Abortion clinics were closing before HB 2 was enacted and continue to do so for reasons that are not attributable to HB 2.
But that won’t stop the pro-abortion propaganda machine.