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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

 
(Un) Intended Consequences

by digby


I just want to thank all the Democrats who were so desperate to find "common ground" with the anti-abortion fanatics that they signed on to "partial birth abortion" ban demagoguery and lies, giving it a bipartisan sheen for the court to rely upon in their ruling and moving the goalposts even further down the field. It's worked out very well for the anti-choice zealots who, like all social conservatives, will take a mile if you give an inch and rightly saw it as an opening for further restrictions:

The 5 to 4 decision in Gonzales v. Carhart turned away Carhart's challenge to the federal ban on "partial birth" abortion and appeared to mark a significant change in the high court's balancing of a woman's right with the government's interest.

The ruling was a key moment in the emerging identity of the court headed by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who marked his fifth anniversary on the court this fall.

Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., also nominated by President George W. Bush in 2005, have become part of a conservative majority willing to reconsider the court's position on social and political issues. Race, campaign finance and the ability of plaintiffs to sue are some of the issues touched by the court's changing jurisprudence.

But since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, no social issue has been as entwined with the court than abortion, nor as dependent on its nuance and shifting views.

That's what made the 2007 decision so important to both sides of the issue.

"Many in the pro-life movement have become very pragmatic when it comes to the court: 'Can you count to five?' " said Mary Spaulding Balch, director of state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee. "With the Gonzales decision, we were happy to see that we could."

The justices have not revisited the issue of abortion since, but the decision has emboldened state legislators to pass an increasing number and variety of restrictions in hopes that a changed court will uphold them.

"I believe the decision was like planting a bunch of seeds, and we're just starting to see the shoots popping out of the ground," said Roger Evans, whois in charge of litigation for Planned Parenthood of America.

The Center for Reproductive Rights concluded that in 2010, state legislatures "considered and enacted some of the most extreme restrictions on abortion in recent memory, as well as passing laws creating dozens of other significant new hurdles."


Read on. They're trying every cruel and useless trick they can think of to deter women from exercising their rights in the wake of this ruling, fully expecting that the Roberts Court will hear any cases and likely rule in their favor. And while that's happening many, many women are suffering for it.

There is a real price to be paid for sacrificing fundamental human rights in the name of compromise. Unfortunately, the price is rarely paid by those who are doing the compromising.


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