By a 5-4 margin the US Supreme Court made the right decision Wednesday by upholding President Bush’s Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. From the Houston Chronice:
Bush said that it affirms the progress his administration has made to uphold the “sanctity of life.”
“I am pleased that the Supreme Court has upheld a law that prohibits the abhorrent procedure of partial birth abortion,” he said. “Today’s decision affirms that the Constitution does not stand in the way of the people’s representatives enacting laws reflecting the compassion and humanity of America.”
As I’ve discussed before here and here, it’s my belief that in America both unwanted pregnancies and the decision to have an abortion are very often the result of laziness on the part of one or both sex partners. We all know what causes pregnancy. Accidents happen, but the argument that ignorance causes unwanted babies simply isn’t true.
While it may seem callous to label a pregnant woman as lazy, the truth is that in most cases pregnancy is a short-term inconvenience that can be endured without significant, damaging, or long-lasting effects.
Certainly the laziness effect applies just as equally to fathers, far too many of who fail utterly to accept their responsibility for the care of their partners and their children. The male who abandons the woman to fend for herself is no man at all; rather he is a pathetic creature with neither soul nor courage.
It is inconvenient indeed to be forced to provide for the lives we create. Inconvenient and utterly necessary.
Planned Parenthood, predictably, disagrees:
Eve Gartner of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America: “This ruling flies in the face of 30 years of Supreme Court precedent and the best interest of women’s health and safety. … This ruling tells women that politicians, not doctors, will make their health care decisions for them.”
So did SCOTUS Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “Today’s decision is alarming,” she wrote in dissent.
Ginsburg said that for the first time since the court established a woman’s right to an abortion in 1973, “the court blesses a prohibition with no exception safeguarding a woman’s health.”
Of course neither is correct: the law allows the procedure to be performed when a woman’s life is in jeopardy.
Which brings us back full-circle. If a woman’s life is protected under the law, the fact remains that most abortions are caused by a perceived inconvenience, usually on the part of the woman.
(Too often these decisions are made solely by the woman but that is another topic.)
That laziness is a factor in many abortions is particularly true in the case of partial birth abortions which, by definition, take place when the pregnancy is more than halfway complete. Four or fewer months are all that remain for the woman to complete her obligation to the child, allow him or her to live, and give the baby up for adoption. It’s not so hard. No harder than being murdered, for instance.
Perhaps it is not fair to criticize the individuals involved given the fact that our society demands instantaneous satisfaction of our smallest want or need. Nine months of unpleasant, unwanted pregnancy can seem like a much larger issue than it is when one’s perspective is lacking, as so many Americans’ are.
The ruling is more symbolic than practical. Even so it is important because it establishes a precedent against the most heinous forms of abortion. The LA Times says:
the disputed procedure is used in fewer than 5,000 of the more than 1.3 million abortions performed nationwide each year.
It was the first time the court upheld a ban on an abortion procedure. Though Wednesday’s opinion does not overturn Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion, the majority said it was prepared to uphold new restrictions on doctors who perform them and women who seek them.
The decision is likely to elevate the abortion issue in the 2008 presidential campaigns. Two of the court’s strongest supporters of the right to abortion are also its oldest: John Paul Stevens will be 87 on Friday, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 74. The next president might have to nominate one or more new justices.
Let’s hope so. Ginsburg’s comments make it clear that rational Americans could do little worse on this issue by replacing her and Stevens, who voted with her.