One doesn’t even have to read the Supreme Court’s partial birth abortion decision to know that it is entirely consistent with the Left’s beloved Roe v. Wade. Contrary to most people’s assumptions about Roe v. Wade, that case does not create an unfettered right to abortion. Instead, it does a balancing act, looking at the State’s interest versus the woman’s interest over the length of the pregnancy. In the first trimester, when the fetus is not viable outside the womb, the balancing favors the woman’s right to choose how she wants to handle her pregnancy. In the second trimester, as the fetus nears viability, the balance begins tipping in the State’s favor. And, in the third trimester, when the fetus is viable, the State’s interests may triumph:
With respect to the State’s important and legitimate interest in potential life, the “compelling” point is at viability. This is so because the fetus then presumably has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb. State regulation protective of fetal life after viability thus has both logical and biological justifications. If the State is interested in protecting fetal life after viability, it may go so far as to proscribe abortion during that period, except when it is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.
So, although today’s decision is being played as a landmark ruling in favor of conservatives (“The Supreme Court’s conservative majority handed anti-abortion forces a major victory Wednesday in a decision that bans a controversial abortion procedure and set the stage for further restrictions.”) it is, in practical fact, nothing more than a recycling of principles already articulated in Roe v. Wade — and I say all this not having read the opinion itself, but being in the enviable position of actually having read the seminal 1973 case. So, no matter how Kennedy phrased the case (and I have no idea how he did phrase it), he didn’t take away any rights already granted in Roe v. Wade, a case which more than 30 years ago ensured that, near the end of the pregnancy, the State’s interests, not the woman’s, can be given primacy.
By the way, I seem to have the advantage over Hillary, whose press release shows that she’s more influenced by popular perceptions than actual Constitutional law:
Washington, DC — “This decision marks a dramatic departure from four decades of Supreme Court rulings that upheld a woman’s right to choose and recognized the importance of women’s health. Today’s decision blatantly defies the Court’s recent decision in 2000 striking down a state partial-birth abortion law because of its failure to provide an exception for the health of the mother. As the Supreme Court recognized in Roe v. Wade in 1973, this issue is complex and highly personal; the rights and lives of women must be taken into account. It is precisely this erosion of our constitutional rights that I warned against when I opposed the nominations of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito.”
Just to make Hillary’s error clear, let me reiterate that, as the quotation from Roe v. Wade itself shows, there is no absolute Constitutional right to abortion in the third trimester.