Breaking the abortion battle
The 360 is a feature designed to show you a variety of perspectives on the major stories of the day.
What is happening: The Republican Governor of Alabama Wednesday signed in law The Nations strictest abortion laws – resulting in an almost total ban on the procedure in the State without exemptions for rape or incest and prison sentences up to 99 years for doctors performing abortions.
Last week Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed an invoice it would ban abortions as long as doctors can detect heart activity – a development that can occur as early as six weeks after conception. The bill is similar to what is called heartbeat legislation spent in other states
Seven states this year passed laws to impose tighter restrictions on abortion – part of a growing movement spurred by Republican lawmakers to challenge the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, who recognized a woman’s access to a safe and legal abortion as a constitutional right.
Why is there debate: The bills caused outcry from pro-choice groups, who argue that by removing legal options for abortion providers, women’s health and safety will be compromised.
Anti-abortion activists argue that the bills are a sincere attempt to protect the lives of unborn children.
The bills were drafted as a political tactics by Republican lawmakers hoping to force the Supreme Court to take up a case that could overthrow Roe. Some Republican politicians have openly discussed this as a strategy.
Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers and the domain of Democratic presidential candidates was quick to condemn the wave of anti-abortion legislation. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y. called Alabama law a “brutal form of oppression.”
And after: Restrictive abortion bans categorically declared unconstitutional by federal courts for failing “viability” criteria established by Roe v. Wade. Kentucky bill suspended by judge in a few hours of his death. Any prospect of seeing the bills in Georgia and Alabama become lasting law would ultimately require a reassessment or rejection of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court.
The court has so far refused to take similar cases, although the addition of Trump nominees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh may result in a new willingness on the part of the judges to reconsider the precedent set by Roe v. Wade. Depending on the nature of such a decision, the outright ban on abortion could become constitutional. Some states have “trigger laws” it would automatically ban the abortion if Roe was knocked down.
Bills aim to force Supreme Court to end abortion rights
“With new Conservative Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, this wave of activity has one ultimate goal: to restore the direct and dangerous controls placed on women’s bodies before Roe v. Wade.” – Toni Van Pelt, USA today
“Emboldened by the right leaning of the US Supreme Court, states pass tougher restrictions and near-total bans in a deliberate attempt to start a trial that could push the Supreme Court to overturn its landmark ruling of 1973 Roe v. Wade. ” – Jenny Jarvie, Los Angeles Times
Laws Should Protect the Lives of Unborn Children
“By passing this heartbeat bill … our state is forging a bold path to stand up for the voiceless and the innocent.” – Cole Muzio, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Republicans push abortion policy as political strategy to appeal to their base
“Lawmakers may view the heartbeat bill as the ‘new trend’. And when politicians see their counterparts grabbing attention and gaining political capital for their heartbeat bills, it can become a matter of “keeping pace with the Joneses and standing up for their position.” NBC News
“For an anti-abortion lawmaker who wants to signal to his base that he remains committed to the cause, all that remains is to try to ban the procedure.” – Editorial, New York Times
Limiting legal abortion leads to dangerous alternatives
“Despite the stated intention of Georgian lawmakers to protect women’s health, when abortion is restricted, deaths increase; the ban on abortion forces women to have unsafe abortions. By limiting access to abortion, lawmakers may unwittingly force women to adopt these dangerous options. – Laura M. Gaydos, Elizabeth A. Mosley and Subasri Narasimhan, The hill
Anyone old enough to remember the 1960s will remember the days when abortion was illegal in almost every state. According to the logic of the Heartbeat Bill, this should have meant that there were no abortions, or very few. On the contrary: there were about a million abortions per year in the United States, and only about 8,000 of them were performed in hospitals. “- Patricia A. Relf and Doris A. Dirks, Cincinnati Enquirer
Restrictive abortion bills spark an interesting discussion about how we define a life
“The ‘heartbeat bills’ are salutary provocations: one of their objectives is to provoke a reflection on the moral dimension of the extinction of a being with a visibly beating heart.” – George Will, The Inquirer
It is unrealistic to expect abortions to take place within six weeks of conception
“Most abortions take place after the six week mark for a number of reasons, including not knowing you are pregnant yet, the financial setback in paying for the procedure, and the time and expense of the procedure. moving to a clinic, according to experts in the field. ” – Gary Chapman, Atlanta Magazine
Restrictions on abortion violate women’s autonomy over their bodies
“It is no more legitimate for the government to force women to have babies they do not want than it would be to force pregnant women to have abortions they do not want.” – Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune
Heartbeat bills are manipulative and medically inaccurate
“” Heartbeat “is a bit of a misnomer, because the heart activity which is first detected in an embryo is not a heartbeat by any stretch of the imagination; observed is the beating of cells which specialize and will eventually become a heart. At this stage of pregnancy, the fetus has neither a brain nor a face. “- Moira Donegan, The Guardian
Bills show open disregard for women’s health and safety
“Those right-wing men who are primarily responsible for passing these outdated bills are not giving two pennies on a woman’s womb or the unwanted and neglected children that come out of those wombs.” Dahleen Glanton, Chicago Tribune
Religious lawmakers believe abortion is a grave injustice
“Conservative lawmakers … point the finger at the Holocaust, the Soviet gulags of Joseph Stalin, the Rwandan genocide and other massacres, arguing that the number of lives killed in these horrific crimes is small compared to the 50 million suspected babies. [that] have been aborted in the United States since the Roe decision in 1973. ”“ Emma Green, Atlantic
Restricting abortion is a political miscalculation that can backfire
“There is ample evidence that citizens of conservative states protect the right to abortion to some extent. It might not be something they proclaim in their offices, at church, or to pollsters – but their secret beliefs can become quite obvious once they step into the voting booth. This should make lawmakers who passed the new bills very nervous. “- Jole Mathis, The week
It’s time for the Supreme Court to settle the abortion debate
“For two generations, the Roe decision has distorted American policy … It is worth knowing where the judges stand, and anyway a decisive decision has the potential to defuse national policy for a generation.” – David French, National review