The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a major abortion case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. The case was brought by several Texas abortion clinics and three doctors who perform abortions in the state. They seek to strike down two restrictions in a law enacted by the Texas Legislature in 2013 that requires all abortion clinics to meet the standards for “ambulatory surgical centers,” including regulations concerning buildings, equipment and staffing, and also requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital.
Abortion rights groups argue that the restrictions are expensive, unnecessary and specifically designed to put many of the clinics out of business. In fact, the law has already caused many clinics to close. The number of abortion clinics in Texas has dropped to about 20 from more than 40.
The Supreme Court will measure the law against the court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which held that states were not permitted to place undue burdens on the constitutional right to an abortion before the fetus was viable. Undue burdens, include “unnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion.”
Legally, it’s a tough case, like all SCOTUS cases. Ethically, it’s pretty repugnant. All of the supporters of the bill, including the drafters, are adamantly anti-abortion, though the law is ostensibly aimed a making abortions safer. While the briefs to the court argue that the restrictions were put in place to foster safety, it’s a sham argument, crafted to meet the Casey test. Make no mistake about it: the purpose of the law is to make abortions as difficult to get performed in Texas as possible. There are literally no lawmakers behind the law nor supporters of the law who don’t want abortion banned. What a coincidence! Yesterday, at the huge demonstrations in front of the Court, the groups weren’t divided into “Safer abortions” and “More accessible abortions.” The armies were pro- and anti-abortion, and intensely so. Thus the Supreme Court is going to decide if a law designed to interfere with a Constitutional right should be upheld because it can be justified on legitimate medical safety grounds.
The law may pass constitutional muster, but it is an unethical law, and the arguments in its favor are disingenuous, intentionally hiding the real–unconstitutional— intent. The claim that this charade is ethical would be that the phony rationale is justified if it makes it harder to take human life under a wrongly decided case, Roe v. Wade. In other words, the ends justify the means. That rationale can’t be tolerated in the law. (Not to open up two cans of worms at once, but this is also the controversy in voter ID cases. Are advocates using a reasonable rationale—requiring voters to identify themselves to ensure the integrity of the system—to accomplish the unconstitutional goal of making it harder for the poor and aged to vote?)
This is also a case where Scalia’s death makes a difference. If the Court deadlocks, 4-4, the Texas law will stand.
Meanwhile, pro-abortion advocates are again doing their level best to make the mots extreme efforts of anti-abortion activists look good even as they lie about their abortion-restricting law. On ABC’s Nightline last night, #ShoutYourAbortion writer
“Plenty of people still believe that on some level – if you are a good woman – abortion is a choice which should be accompanied by some level of sadness, shame or regret. But you know what? I have a good heart and having an abortion made me happy in a totally unqualified way. Why wouldn’t I be happy that I was not forced to become a mother?”
The are two reasons someone could say this honestly. One would be if she has completely convinced herself that no human life other than hers is involved in an abortion, and that her conduct has not, by it very nature, prevented a human being that she created from being born. That is a delusion, though one politically dictated by the pro-abortion lobby. The other is if she is a monstrous narcissist. It isn’t too much to ask that a mother ending the life of an unborn infant feel a little sadness for the child who never had a chance to be. In fact, it is a realistic, ethical and compassionate response. It is reasonable for her to be happy that she was able to employ a legal procedure to take control of her own life, but to feel happy that she had to snuff out a nascent life to do it shows deep denial or deep ethics rot.