The Supreme Court ruled today that a Texas law limiting access to abortions was unconstitutional:
The Supreme Court’s 5 to 3 decision ruled unconstitutional a 2013 Texas law that required all abortion providers to meet ambulatory surgical standards and physicians to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Supporters of the regulations under House Bill 2 said they aimed to protect women’s health. Abortion advocates called the mandates unnecessary, expensive and an “undue burden” on women’s rights.
...In the court opinion, the justices said lawmakers couldn’t prove the rules actually protected women’s health. The move suggested restrictive abortion measures won’t stand unless policy designers prove they keep women from harm.
The opinion is here. [More...]
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Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell agreed today to two life sentences and waive his appeal rights in exchange for the state taking the death penalty off the table.
Gosnell was convicted of first degree murder on Monday in the deaths of three babies who were born live and then killed by severing their spinal chords with scissors. As part of the deal, Gosnell, 72, will serve two life sentences without the possibility of parole or the opportunity to appeal.
Sentencing is set for tomorrow. [More...]
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The House tonight passed the Protect Life Act. The vote was 251 to 172. Only 15 of the "aye" votes were Democrat. 170 Democrats and 2 Republicans voted against the bill. Who were the bad apples? You can view the vote here or here.
The bill is H.R. 358, Protect Life Act. [More...]
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A grand jury in Philadelphia has returned an Indictment against Dr. Kermit Gosnell and several of his staff, charging them with first degree murder, racketeering and other crimes. Gosnell owned and operated a clinic that performed abortions. His patients were mostly poor and minorities. He allegedly performed late-term abortions, past 24 weeks (the legal cut-off.) During these procedures, he allegedly would induce labor, extract the allegedly viable fetus, and sever the fetus' spinal cord using scissors. The Indictment alleges the fetuses were viable babies born alive, and Dr. Gosnell's actions were murder.
It alleges his unlicensed staff administered labor inducing drugs and narcotics for pain relief in his absence (he only showed up at night after the women had been writhing around in pain all day), and then, amidst squalid conditions and re-using unsanitized equipment, he extracted the fetuses.
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Oklahoma has enacted two bills intended to restrict abortions, overriding the Governor's vetos. The bills become effective immediately.
Under one law, women must listen to an ultrasound and hear a spiel describing the fetus.
Oklahoma’s law goes further [than those in other states] requiring a doctor or technician to set up the monitor where the woman can see it and describe the heart, limbs and organs of the fetus. No exceptions are made for rape and incest victims.
The second law exempts doctors from malpractice suits for failing to tell prospective parents their fetus has birth defects.
Maybe Oklahama and Arizona can secede from the union. They deserve each other. We deserve better than both of them.
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Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman will sign a bill into law today that bans abortions if the woman is 20 weeks pregnant. The reasoning: the fetus might feel pain. The text of the bill, LB1103, is here. Some snippets:
(4) There is substantial evidence that abortion methods used at and after twenty weeks would cause substantial pain to an unborn child;
(5) Expert testimony confirms that an unborn child is capable of experiencing substantial pain even if the pregnant woman herself has received local analgesic or general anesthesia; and
(6) There is a valid state interest in reducing or preventing events in which pain is inflicted on sentient and nonsentient creatures. Examples of laws that serve this interest are laws governing the use of laboratory animals, laws requiring pain-free methods of slaughtering livestock, and laws regarding hunting methods on federal lands.
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Boulder physician Warren Hern, who like Dr. George Tiller, performs late-term abortions, is now receiving federal protection from the U.S. Marshals. Here are some of his comments yesterday.
On why he calls his clinic "The Boulder Abortion Clinic":
Hern said the straightforward name of his clinic is a statement that abortion shouldn't be a "clandestine act." His name is posted next to the outside entrance.
On President Obama's remarks a few weeks ago at Notre Dame calling for a "common ground" in the debate on abortion: [More...]
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Update: Here's the text of President Obama's speech.
The crazies are out in force today at Notre Dame to protest President Obama's delivery of the commencement address and receipt of an honorary degree.
Some sanity abounds.
Memo to protesters: If you really are pro-life, and believe that killing is wrong, how about starting with protests against the death penalty?
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DNC Chair and VA. Gov. Tim Kaine may lose some support with his signing today of legislation approving "Choose Life" license plates in Virginia.
[H]is decision could echo among women's activists who are among the most powerful financial supporters of the party.
“It is surprising that Governor Kaine would do this, but it’s all the more surprising that he would do it as chair of the DNC,” said Paulette McElwain, the president of the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood.
Gov. Kaine also made this promise today: [More...]
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South Dakota, which already has a very strict law on abortion, has an even stricter one on the ballot in November, that would ban abortion in all cases except rape, incest and (narrow) instances of necessity to protect the life or health of the woman.
First, the current law:
The legislature passed a law requiring doctors to tell women that an abortion would "terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique living human being." Each woman must be told that abortion increases the risk of "suicide ideation and suicide," a medically disputed assertion, and must be offered the chance to view a sonogram. A 24-hour waiting period is required.
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Here's Obama reaching out to the evangelical right. The Associated Press reports:
In an interview this week with "Relevant," a Christian magazine, Obama said prohibitions on late-term abortions must contain "a strict, well defined exception for the health of the mother."
Obama then added: "Now, I don't think that 'mental distress' qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term."
Obama made no such distinction last year:
Last year, after the Supreme Court upheld a federal ban on late-term abortions, Obama said he "strongly disagreed" with the ruling because it "dramatically departs form previous precedents safeguarding the health of pregnant women."
NARAL leaders ought to feel like idiots. [More...]
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