I am sure everyone has heard the Supreme Court's latest decision. On April 18, 2007 the Supreme Court upheld a law that banned partial birth abortion. I can honestly say that I was a little shocked when I read the headline online. I read it and sort of just paused in my seat at work and did not move. My reaction was not based on an agreement or disagreement with the ruling, but rather I could not remember in recent history when the Supreme Court ever ruled AGAINST the pro choice establishment. Now I am sure that maybe some rulings have come against them, but to my mind this is the most prominent one to ever come down from the "Supremes". It is true though according to AP News that, "For the first time since the court established a woman's right to an abortion in 1973, the justices upheld a nationwide ban on a specific abortion method, labeled partial-birth abortion by its opponents."
I guess now we can truly see the impact that Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justice Alito had on the court regarding this particular issue. In April of 2000, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Stenberg vs. Carhart decision, which was handed down in June, 2000. The Court struck down a Nebraska statute which had banned partial-birth abortion. So just 7 years later, the Court reverses itself and upholds a law banning partial birth abortion. Now perhaps the cases are not exactly the same...I am honestly not that sure...but it can clearly be seen how the change coincided with new justices being placed on the court.
I do not know how I truly feel about this particular ruling. I mean...I am torn by the whole abortion issue regardless. I feel that women should have the right to choose, but I personally would be sad if my sister or a member of my family chose to have an abortion. I would respect their decision and would not in any way add any more guilt to the decision. So there rests my dilemma.
I do believe there always needs to be an exception for the health of the mother. But in all honestly, partial birth abortions are the smallest percentage of abortions performed each year. In fact, in the year 2000, there were only 2200 dilation and extraction (partial birth) abortions performed constituting .17% of all abortions. So the vast, vast, vast, vast majority of women who want abortions still have the right, choice, ability, and capacity to obtain the abortion they so desire.
And...maybe...and I stress maybe this is an out of touch idea or thought...but I honestly do not understand what precipitates a late term abortion such as a partial birth abortion anyway. I mean, definitely it is because I am not a woman and have never had anyone go through this personally...but what would take a woman so long to decide NOT to have the child. I am sure there are always going to be the exceptions...the young mother who hides her pregnancy, the poor mother who has no access to early medical care, the mother who feels she has no options at the beginning and feels alone and/or abandoned...but it is still difficult for me...
Again, I am not trying to minimize a woman's right to choose because I do believe in the right to choose. I am just throwing out these thoughts and ideas because I truly do not understand it, and part of developing an understanding comes through asking questions.
But in the end, I must confess that if I had to choose a type of abortion to outlaw, it would be partial birth, simply because the whole procedure is just to horrific for me to think about. The image of a child completely out of the mother's womb except for the head, and then to think about the skull punctured, etc...it is just too hard for me to imagine. Even in reading up on articles about the Supreme Court's decision and researching the topic, my heart was saddened when the images and thoughts of partial birth abortion came to mind.
In the end...do I agree with the Supreme Court's decision?: Yes
It is important to know the following as well - also from AP News:
"While the court upheld the law against a broad attack on its constitutionality, Kennedy said the court could entertain a challenge in which a doctor found it necessary to perform the banned procedure on a patient suffering certain medical complications.
The law allows the procedure to be performed when a woman's life is in jeopardy."