Sunday, January 22, 2006

State Lawmakers: Alito Will Revisit Roe

33rd Anniversary of Roe - Radical Legislation Pending in Tennessee, Georgia, Indiana and Ohio

Today's LA Times (excerpt below) notes that state lawmakers are working overtime to force the Supreme Court to revisit Roe. All they are waiting for is the confirmation of ScAlito.

Radical Republican lawmakers have been emboldened ever since the day the Supreme Court selected King George. If you've been paying attention, you know the radical conservatives have since made major gains toward the patriarchal project of returning women to the days when our voices were silenced and our reproductive duty was mandated.

If ScAlito is confirmed it will be another giant step toward the project of taking the nation back to the days when law and custom dictated that women could not control their own fate because the bodies of women were the property of men and the state.

Call your senators!

LA Times

Taking direct aim at Roe vs. Wade, lawmakers from several states are proposing broad restrictions on abortion, with the goal of forcing the U.S. Supreme Court — once it has a second new justice — to revisit the landmark ruling issued 33 years ago today.

The bill under consideration in Indiana would ban all abortions, except when continuing the pregnancy would threaten the woman's life or put her physical health in danger of "substantial permanent impairment." Similar legislation is pending in Ohio, Georgia and Tennessee.

The bills are in direct conflict with the Supreme Court's 1973 rulings establishing abortion as a constitutional right. Roe vs. Wade and its companion case, Doe vs. Bolton, asserted that doctors could consider "all factors … relevant to the well-being of the patient," including emotional and psychological health.

In the years since, states have adopted a variety of laws designed to restrict access to abortion or force women to think through alternatives. Those efforts are expected to continue this year, with states considering proposals to impose new licensing standards on abortion clinics, or to require women seeking abortions to first view ultrasound images of their fetuses and discuss with a counselor the pain a fetus might feel during the procedure.

About 50 such bills were passed in 2005 — twice as many as in 2004, according to the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America. . .

The debate unfolds as the Senate prepares to vote on Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr., a federal appellate judge. As a Reagan administration lawyer, Alito laid out a plan to overturn Roe vs. Wade. In his confirmation hearings this month, he declined to call the case "settled law," suggesting that he might be willing to reverse or modify it.

Even if Alito and Roberts prove to be staunch antiabortion votes, a bare majority of justices would still support the core principle of a woman's right to end an unwanted pregnancy. But a retirement or illness among the more liberal justices could change that balance.

In anticipation of that day, antiabortion activists have been focusing their efforts on establishing policy at the state level.

Louisiana sets out that "the unborn child is a human being from the time of conception." The Nebraska Legislature has said that it "expressly deplore[s] the destruction of unborn human lives." Pennsylvania seeks "to extend to the unborn the equal protection of the laws." Utah, Missouri and Illinois are among several other states with similar language in their constitutions or statutes.

Such statements are merely philosophical; they don't have the force of law. But at least a dozen states have criminal laws banning abortion. They can't be enforced as long as Roe vs. Wade remains binding. In theory, though, they could take effect immediately upon a reversal, subjecting abortion providers to penalties ranging from 12 months' hard labor in Alabama to 20 years' imprisonment in Rhode Island.

"What the public doesn't realize is that the building blocks are already in place to re-criminalize abortion if Roe is overturned," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York.

She and other abortion rights activists predict that abortion would remain legal on the East and West coasts and in a few states in between — among them Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada and New Mexico. They expect that at least 19 states across the Midwest and South would ban abortion.

Sign NARAL's Petition - Planned Parenthood Petition -- Petition

See: Durbin Says Filibuster Possible