Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Practical Impact of the Supreme Court's Decision on Partial-Birth Abortion

Washington, D.C. - Roe v. Wade is on its last leg. The Supreme Court has given a roadmap for abortion regulation. First, states can pass laws requiring abortion doctors to give explicit information to potential clients about how the abortion is performed. Second, health and safety regulations that apply to other doctors need not exempt abortion doctors. Third, this case gives a shot of adrenaline to the pro-life movement which will impact the Presidential election.
The Supreme Court recognized that lack of informed consent harms women. "[S]ome women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained. . . . Severe depression and loss of esteem can follow."
In a decision so fraught with emotional consequences some doctors may prefer not to disclose precise details of the means that will be used, confining themselves to the required statement of risks the procedure entails . . . . It is, however, precisely this lack of information concerning the way in which the fetus will be killed that is of legitimate concern to the State. . . . The State has an interest in ensuring so grave a choice is well informed.
The Court has provided states with a unique opportunity to enact informed consent laws to protect the unborn and also to protect women from hasty and uninformed decisions. The abortion rate will decline when doctors are required to accurately describe the procedure to women.
The opinion also states that "the law need not give abortion doctors unfettered choice in the course of their medical practice, nor should it elevate their status above other physicians in the medical community." States are now free to pass and enforce clinic regulations matching those of other medical facilities. Oftentimes abortion clinics have been subject to fewer regulations because of the fear that such restrictions constitute an "undue burden" on the "right" to abortion.
The most important effect of the Supreme Court's partial-birth abortion decision could be the most lasting. What a difference one Justice makes! This 5-4 victory underscores the importance of electing a President who will appoint judges who uphold the Constitution and the rule of law. The pro-life community must take advantage of the opportunity to make a lasting impact on the future of this nation. If we miss this chance of a lifetime, we will die with the blood of the unborn on our hands. But if we act decisively, we will witness the demise of Roe v. Wade.