The Supreme Court made a right-hand turn onto a dark, bumpy road on April 18, 2007 as they decided in a 5-4 decision to uphold a partial-birth abortion ban Congress passed in 2003.
This is the first Supreme Court decision abolishing a detailed abortion procedure since the ruling on Roe v. Wade in 1973. Most abortions occur in the first trimester of pregnancy. However, the abolished procedure is a late-term pregnancy practice. A partial-birth abortion requires the woman to partially deliver the fetus, at which point the doctor will remove the skull and crush it so that the removal process is less complicated.
Many physicians believe that this practice is safer for the woman, as it reduces bleeding and makes the delivery less harmful to her. The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban does not allow for exceptions based on the health of the woman. The law only provides for an exception to save the woman’s life.
This ban will affect only a small percentage of abortions. However, it is not the specific ban, but the symbolic implications of the decision which concern City on a Hill Press and which should concern the nation.
This decision completely overlooks women’s rights, women’s health and women’s choices.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg addressed the possible outcomes of the ruling in a somber speech discussing the dissenting opinion. She stated that the result “cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this court.”
This ruling shows the nation that the Supreme Court has stopped progressing on the road to the future and has taken this country directly back into our unjust past of inequality. On April 18, America was shown just what kind of impact Justice Samuel Alito will have in the upcoming years, and we can only mourn the retirement of Sandra Day O’Conner.
This case establishes a precedent for the future. Who knows what ban the Supreme Court will uphold next? Individual states will now feel empowered to make their own rulings on abortion and eventually, one law may even challenge Roe v. Wade.
America’s step back has hurt the strength of the country and the strength of women. The Supreme Court is driving the vehicle we call America, a vehicle we at City on a Hill Press think of as transportation into the future, a vehicle that should be based on progression, not regression. Today, our country’s right to choose is in jeopardy and future Supreme Court decisions look grim.
On April 18, the drivers of this country took a wrong turn and led us to a dead end.