April 18, 2007

Court Upholds Abortion Ban

The Supreme Court upholds the ban on so-called "partial-birth abortions." Here's the decision. Anthony Kennedy channels his inner right-winger. Ruth Bader Ginsburg gets at the import of this: "For the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception protecting a woman's health."

For more context, read this earlier piece by Scott Lemieux. The Court has, in the end, upheld a vague and arbitrary ban--as Richard Posner has pointed out, the only difference between D&X and other procedures still allowed depends on "which way the fetus's feet are pointing"--that will legislatures plenty of leeway to continue to chip away at abortion rights. Also, as I understand it, Kennedy's ruling that the law could not be challenged facially--it would have to be contested by a plaintiff who could show that it caused her specific harm--could make it much harder to challenge future anti-abortion laws in the courts (especially for poorer women most likely to be affected by such restrictions).

Update: I'll be curious to know if anyone still wants to argue that John Roberts and Samuel Alito are "moderates" who will practice restraint and all that. I guess the best that can be said about them is that they didn't sign onto this.
-- Brad Plumer 11:41 AM || ||