Magazine article The Nation

A Thousand Cuts

Magazine article The Nation

A Thousand Cuts

Article excerpt

This week's Supreme Court ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Pennsylvania abortion case, managed to uphold Roe v. Wade on paper while eviscerating it in practice. True, the Court struck down the galling husband-notification requirement. But it upheld four other provisions--a twenty-four-hour waiting period, a mandatory antiabortion lecture from a doctor, parental consent for minors and detailed record-keeping requirements. The Court thus gave its approval to state attempts to strew the path to abortion with obstacles in the hope that many women will not be able to surmount them.

Much has been made of the fact that three Reagan/Bush appointees--Sandra Day O'Connor, David Sourer and Anthony Kennedy--joined with Harry Blackmun and John Paul Stevens in affirming abortion as a constitutionally protected liberty, even as the trio stripped it of its status as a "fundamental" right. This is hardly the "moderate" and "centrist" position described in the press. Roe specifically barred restrictions on first and second trimester abortion that are unrelated to a woman's health; by permitting such restrictions the Court in effect overturns Roe. It's as if the Court reaffirmed the First Amendment while upholding a state requirement that citizens wait twenty-four hours before making a speech.

That the decision is being touted as middle of the road shows how far to the right the road has swerved, but it could have been worse. (And it may yet be. Four justices--including Clarence Thomas--want to throw Roe out, and Justice Blackmun is 83. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.