The GOP war on women: gradually eroding the constitutional right to abortion

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The injunction issued by a Texas federal court earlier this week was overturned by a panel of the conservative activist Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday. Texas court reinstates abortion limits:

TalibanTexas abortion providers’ Monday victory was short-lived. The U.S. 5th
Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday reversed a federal district court
ruling that found part of the state’s new abortion regulations
unconstitutional, meaning the provisions of House Bill 2 could take
effect immediately if state officials choose to enforce them.

* * *

A three-judge panel in the 5th Circuit appellate court lifted a
permanent injunction placed on the abortion regulations by a lower
court, arguing in a written opinion that the state was likely to succeed
in its legal arguments.

The judges, Priscilla R. Owen, Jennifer Walker Elrod and Catharina
Haynes, wrote that “there is a substantial likelihood that the state
will prevail in its argument that Planned Parenthood failed to establish
an undue burden on women seeking abortions or that the
hospital-admitting-privileges requirement creates a substantial obstacle
in the path of a woman seeking an abortion.” Furthermore, they
wrote,”we also conclude that the state has made a strong showing of
likelihood of success on the merits, at least in part, as to its appeal
of the injunction pertaining to medication abortions.”

The appellate court’s decision overrules U.S. District Judge Lee
Yeakel’s ruling on Monday that a provision in HB 2 that requires
abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital
imposed an undue burden on women seeking the procedure. Additionally,
Yeakel ruled that it would be unconstitutional for the state to require
physicians to follow federal standards for drug-induced abortions if a
physician determined it would be safer for the woman to use a common
evidence-based protocol.

Abortion providers, many of whom said they would be forced out of
business if those provisions took effect, were expected to immediately
appeal the 5th Circuit’s Thursday decision. It was still unclear late
Thursday whether the state will enforce the provisions while legal
wrangling continues.

The 5th Circuit’s decision is the latest step in a back-and-forth
appeals battle that could continue all the way to the U.S. Supreme
Court.

Closer to home, 16 Red States are lining up behind Arizona’s bid to enforce its year-old ban on abortions at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Arizona abortion restrictions backed by 16 other states:

A legal brief filed this week at the U.S. Supreme Court by those
states does not dispute the 2012 Arizona law would outlaw abortions
prior to a fetus being viable outside the womb. That is generally
considered about 23 or 24 weeks into pregnancy.

But Ohio State
Solicitor Eric Murphy, writing on behalf of his state and 15 others,
told the justices that Arizona lawmakers had a legitimate reason to
enact the 20-week ban: to protect against fetal pain and promote
maternal health.

But the key to whether the Supreme Court agrees
to hear the case — and, ultimately, reverse a federal appellate court
injunction against the law — is Murphy’s contention that the Arizona law
does not impose a substantial obstacle to a woman obtaining an
abortion.

That is crucial, because even supporters of the 20-week
ban concede prior Supreme Court rulings have declared such restrictions
unconstitutional.

The law makes it a crime for a doctor to perform
an abortion if the probable gestational age of the fetus is “at least
20 weeks.” But Murphy said that still leaves Arizona women the right to
obtain an elective abortion prior to that.

“Arizona’s law merely
challenges elective abortions to the time before a fetus may suffer
great pain and before the risks to the woman’s health are greatest,”
Murphy wrote. But he said that still gives a woman adequate time to
decide whether to have an abortion.

But Arizona, even with the support of the other states, has other
potential legal obstacles in convincing the nation’s high court the
appellate judges were off-base in voiding the Arizona law.

In
their ruling, the appellate judges cited an earlier Supreme Court ruling
that said “before viability, the state’s interests are not strong
enough to support a prohibition of abortion or the imposition of a
substantial obstacle to the woman’s effective rights to elect the
procedure.”

Murphy, however, is urging the Supreme Court to focus
on the word “prohibition.” He agreed that would make it illegal for
Arizona to have a “complete ban” on a woman’s right to choose.

But
Murphy argued that “narrower bans on certain pre-viability abortions”
remain legal. And he said the Arizona law fits that category.

* * *

Murphy said the Arizona law, and similar ones elsewhere, do not place
an “undue burden” on a pregnant woman with a pre-viability fetus but
“merely channel the woman’s choice rather than prohibit it.”

Murphy
also argued to the high court that banning abortions at 20 weeks would
affect a relatively small number of women, citing figures showing fewer
than 2 percent of pregnancies in the state are terminated at or after
that point.

The 9th Circuit, however, dismissed those data as irrelevant.

“A
prohibition’s constitutionality is measured by its impact on those whom
it affects, not by the number of people affected,” the judges wrote.
“The proper focus of constitutional inquiry is the group for whom the
law is a restriction, not the group for whom the law is irrelevant.”

The
justices have not decided whether to even consider the bid to review
the 9th Circuit ruling, much less overturn it. They gave the Center for
Reproductive Rights, which sued on behalf of doctors opposed to the law,
until the end of November to respond.

Far too many women have been complacent about their legal rights. They take for granted that their rights to access to health care, contraception, and abortion — rights won by previous generations of women — will always be there. Well it's time to wake up! Stand up and fight for your rights before those rights are gradually eroded away by the Theocrats of the Christian Taliban.

I have said before that the 1985 novel The Handmaid's Tale was
supposed to be a work of futuristic science fiction, but it is turning
out to be a "how to" handbook for the theocratic Christian Taliban. The Handmaid's Tale Plot Summary and Details:

In this dystopian fable, a librarian wife
and mother becomes the childbearing pawn of a Christian theocracy. In
the near future, as war rages across the fictional North American
Republic of Gilead and pollution has rendered 99 percent of the female
population sterile, Kate sees her husband killed and her daughter
kidnapped while trying to escape across the border. Kate herself is
transformed into a handmaid — a surrogate mother for one of the
privileged but barren couples who run the country's fundamentalist
regime. Although she resists being indoctrinated into the bizarre cult
of the handmaids, which mixes Old Testament orthodoxy and misogynist
cant with 12-step gospel and ritualized violence, Kate soon finds
herself ensconced at the home of the Commander and his frosty wife,
Serena Joy… Kate longs for her vanished earlier life; she soon learns
that since many of the nation's powerful men are as sterile as their
wives, she may have to risk the punishment for fornication — death by
hanging — in order to sleep with another man who can provide her with
the pregnancy that has become her sole raison d'être.

If people remain silent as women are
systematically deprived of their constitutional liberties and rights and
reduced to second class citizens who are property of the state, this
dystopian fable can all too readily become a reality.

Comments are closed.