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Thu May 12, 2022, 09:33 PM

The Lancet: Why Roe v. Wade must be defended

Last edited Fri May 13, 2022, 06:30 PM - Edit history (1)





https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2822%2900870-4/fulltext

“Abortion presents a profound moral issue on which Americans hold sharply conflicting views.” So begins a draft opinion by Associate Justice Samuel Alito, leaked from the US Supreme Court on May 2, 2022. If confirmed, this judgement would overrule the Court's past decisions to establish the right to access abortion. In Alito's words, “the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives”. The Court's opinion rests on a strictly historical interpretation of the US Constitution: “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.” His extraordinary text repeatedly equates abortion with murder.

The Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution has been the main foundation underpinning the right of American women to an abortion. That 1868 Amendment was passed during the period of American Reconstruction, when states’ powers were being subjected to certain limitations. The goal of the Amendment was to prevent states from unduly restricting the freedoms of their citizens. That guarantee of personal liberty, so the Supreme Court had previously held, extended to pregnant women, with qualifications, who decided to seek an abortion. Alito rejected that reasoning. He argued that for any right not mentioned in the Constitution to be protected, it must be shown to have had deep roots in the nation's history and tradition. Abortion does not fulfil that test. Worse, Roe was an exercise in “raw judicial power”, it “short-circuited the democratic process”, and it was “egregiously wrong” from the very beginning. It was now time, according to Alito, “to set the record straight”.

What is so shocking, inhuman, and irrational about this draft opinion is that the Court is basing its decision on an 18th century document ignorant of 21st century realities for women. History and tradition can be respected, but they must only be partial guides. The law should be able to adapt to new and previously unanticipated challenges and predicaments. Although Alito gives an exhaustive legal history of abortion, he utterly fails to consider the health of women today who seek abortion. Unintended pregnancy and abortion are universal phenomena. Worldwide, around 120 million unintended pregnancies occur annually. Of these, three-fifths end in abortion. And of these, some 55% are estimated to be safe—that is, completed using a medically recommended method and performed by a trained provider. This leaves 33 million women undergoing unsafe abortions, their lives put at risk because laws restrict access to safe abortion services.

In the USA, Black women have an unintended pregnancy rate double that of non-Hispanic White women. And the maternal mortality rate for Black women, to which unsafe abortion is an important contributor, is almost three times higher than for white women. These sharp racial and class disparities need urgent solutions, not more legal barriers. The fact is that if the US Supreme Court confirms its draft decision, women will die. The Justices who vote to strike down Roe will not succeed in ending abortion, they will only succeed in ending safe abortion. Alito and his supporters will have women's blood on their hands.

*snip*



Edited to fix link.... Thanks muriel_volestrangler!

12 replies, 1932 views

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Lancet: Why Roe v. Wade must be defended (Original post)
Nevilledog May 12 OP
niyad May 12 #1
intheflow May 13 #2
Nevilledog May 13 #3
TeamProg May 13 #4
Lonestarblue May 13 #5
appalachiablue May 15 #11
MontanaMama May 13 #6
muriel_volestrangler May 13 #7
Nevilledog May 13 #8
BlueWavePsych May 14 #9
Texin May 14 #10
calimary Friday #12

Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Thu May 12, 2022, 11:53 PM

1. KNR and bookmarking.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 03:33 AM

2. K&R.

Important piece!

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 12:29 PM

3. Kick

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 12:39 PM

4. K&R Thanks for posting. n/t

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 12:55 PM

5. Good article, but a couple of points could have been better presented.

One is Alito’s claim that abortion is a profound moral issue. It is a religious belief that insists that life begins at conception. And one can certainly have moral beliefs about what is right and wrong without holding religious views.

The second issue is that writers need to refute Alito’s claim that abortion does not have roots in the nation’s history and tradition. That is just an ignorance of history because abortion was allowed even in colonial times until quickening. It was not until the late 1800s that states passed laws criminalizing abortion. Alito chose only the history that supports his conclusions, and his omission needs to be called out.

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Response to Lonestarblue (Reply #5)

Sun May 15, 2022, 03:13 PM

11. ++ Both correct and very important.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 01:41 PM

6. Kick.

However, Alito, Coathanger-Barrett, Judge Boof and friends absolutely do not care one bit about women dying.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Fri May 13, 2022, 06:25 PM

7. Link to the full editorial that doesn't have parentheses that DU trips over

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2822%2900870-4/fulltext

The ( and ) are replaced by % 28 and % 29 respectively, but without spaces after the % signs.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #7)

Fri May 13, 2022, 06:28 PM

8. Can't believe no one (including me) caught that!. Thank you, I'll fix it.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Sat May 14, 2022, 08:51 AM

9. Kick

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Sat May 14, 2022, 12:28 PM

10. What makes the writer(s) of The Lancet think the five justices give a shit?

The death of women is a feature of their purported ruling and not a bug.

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Response to Nevilledog (Original post)

Fri May 20, 2022, 10:54 PM

12. Yep. This one's a keeper, for sure!

Thanks, Nevilledog!

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