Roe v. Wade: The Next Generation

sniffles5's picture

In the next four years, at least two and possibly three Supreme Court justices will retire: John Paul Stevens is 88, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 75 and David Souter is 68.

Assuming they can all survive the final 75 days of the Bush regime, incoming President Obama will have the opportunity to install perhaps 3 centerist/liberal justices on the court.

If he chooses wisely and adopts the Bush tactic of selecting justices in their 50s, Roe vs. Wade will have a solid 5-4 firewall for the next generation, perhaps even longer than 20 years.

This has got to be very discouraging to the social conservative wing of the Republican party, as one of the main reasons for their existence is to outlaw abortion.

20 years in the wilderness is a long time.

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The Wedge's picture
Submitted by The Wedge on Thu, 11/06/2008 - 1:41pm.

Putting aside any moral consideration for purpose of discussion...

It would be a consitutionally sound thing to do away with Roe v Wade. It has poisoned national discourse where it never should have. Since this "right to privacy" is an unenumerated "right" in the constitution, then the 10th amendment would have put abortion to the states and/or the people. It would have quite nicely put the debate where it constitutionally belongs... in the statehouses

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Thu, 11/06/2008 - 2:38pm.

Placing an individual right to sanction the continuance or abortion of a pregnancy before what is predominently a bunch of "old men" in a State House or in Washington is ludicrous. This rather drastic, but clear choice rests solely with the woman involved after consultation with her God and conscience.

Would you believe for one instance that abortions would go away if it were against the law? Drugs haven't. Prostitution does exist in Georgia. Gasp! White slavery is still around.

We in this country have far more pressing issues with which to deal this fall. Word has it that Don Haddix will approve a one source sanitation deal.

The Wedge's picture
Submitted by The Wedge on Thu, 11/06/2008 - 2:59pm.

The state houses are much more accountable than the federal government or the Supreme Court. Judgements like this has distorted the interpretation of our constitution to a point that Supreme's have no qualms about using European Case Law without any other support. These type of "made up" decisions has allowed the federal government to grow and evolve to the heavy handed entity that the founders despised.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Thu, 11/06/2008 - 3:07pm.

You are correct in that the state houses are more accountable, the mere fact that they reside among us mere citizens do not make them elitists, but regarding the core issue of abortion, it is a choice whether a law exists or not.

The sooner we all understand that premise, the sooner we will advance as a society.

The Wedge's picture
Submitted by The Wedge on Thu, 11/06/2008 - 3:34pm.

I appreciate the spirit of this discussion...

This is an issue that does not advance with time, but becomes more muddy. R v W made bad case law in a time where babies extracted or born before 30 weeks in utero had little chance of survival outside of the womb. Now babies routinely survive at 22 weeks. It is a line that should have been legislated, not decreed. Many states have murder laws for assailants that kill a baby in utero against the mother's wishes. How would these laws be enforced if the mother was on her way to the clinic anyways? It is an evolving debate that was short circuited by the court system. Certainly not solved by it. Technology and the passage of time makes this harder, not easier. Can you honestly be confortable with the termination of a pregnancy in the 41st week (read: late)? That is how we are set up now.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 7:18am.

You miss my point, if you are not the mother-you have no say. Again the choice rests with the mother to be guided by her God and conscience, not you.

The Wedge's picture
Submitted by The Wedge on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 7:41am.

And you miss my point. Because this "right" does not have a firm footing constitutionally, it is highly suspect. The state takes great delight in regulating other aspects of what we do, what we ingest, what procedures are legal, which are illegal. The fact that people are so worried about who is on the supreme court, a court for life with very little accountability, should tell you that this was not the way to go.

If a woman ingests drugs and alcohol during pregnancy and gives birth to an addicted and damaged child, the state goes after her. If her body is an absolute right, then how can the state go after her? Because her right is not graven in stone and open to interpretation.

It is an issue of nuance, and reasonable people could have come to a consensus agreed upon by 80% of the people. The court short circuited that.

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Thu, 11/06/2008 - 3:57pm.

"..routinely survive at 22 weeks?

Science disagrees

jonnycat's picture
Submitted by jonnycat on Thu, 11/06/2008 - 5:06pm.

Interesting how the article you linked kept using the words infants and babies. I guess you didn't pick up on that.

The Wedge's picture
Submitted by The Wedge on Thu, 11/06/2008 - 4:02pm.

Okay... I see anecdotal stories maybe once a quarter... one I know personally.... how 'bout more routinely, or becoming more common? Still is something that is a moving target. Much easier to legislate than to dictate

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Thu, 11/06/2008 - 9:28pm.

Wedge, anecdotal evidence is fine for discussion purposes, and I fully understand that yes, there are some pretty amazing stories out there. I do however, remain convinced that that is a poor basis to make laws upon.

I posted a link in a reply to Ben Nelms' excreable column last week showing that 89 percentage of all abortions occur prior to 12 weeks gestation and 98.9 percent occur before the magic 21 week mark, the extreme limit of fetal viability. Medical science has advanced since Roe v. Wade but the bottom line is that the absolute floor for fetal viability is 21 weeks, and that has remained unchanged.

I read a great one page synopsis(e-note) on exactly what Roe v. Wade said you can and cannot legislate with regard to abortion (can't find link, I'll look) and I was surprised just how much control the state can exert over a pregnant woman in 3rd trimester. And I'm okay with that, after having read the legal basis (it's rooted in English common law, of all things!) We seem to be hung up on the slippery slope of 2nd trimester, I believe.

Let me ask you this: The Supreme Court first established a "right of privacy" in 1965's Griswold v. Connecticut. This overturned laws that permitted bedroom searches for contraband contraception. Was this, in fact, bad case law? Should this precedent have not been set?

The Wedge's picture
Submitted by The Wedge on Thu, 11/06/2008 - 9:56pm.

Just as the freedom of speech and assembly causes unpleasant situations where the state must enforce the ability for terribly odious groups to speak and preach, so does federalism cause unpleasantness. But let's be honest, social norms have evolved and continue to do so. The days of sodomy laws and bedroom searches would have gone away by the political process anyway. We seem to want to give all sorts of power to the federal government. Power it was never intended to have. We have ceded this power to a bureaucratic nightmare. It think that federalism would have defanged this contentious issue. It most likely would have settled out to a 1 trimester thing and the vast majority of the viscera would be gone. No stories of still alive abortions, of survival after abortions,as reasonable people would have settled on reasonable outcomes.

Now we await court decisions that look more and more like legislative sessions. We worry about elections becuase of who will be nominated to the courts. Why should that matter if we had people decide to follow the process as it was originally framed.

I do not beleive that we are similar politically, but I have thoroughly enjoyed this posting conversation. Thank you

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