Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Good News For Carnivores | Apr 18, 2007 4:17 PM »

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Candidates’ Reactions

posted by on April 18 at 16:27 PM

The NYT has the ‘08 presidential candidates’ reactions to today’s Supreme Court decision. A few excerpts:


Today’s decision blatantly defies the Court’s recent decision in 2000 striking down a state partial-birth abortion law because of its failure to provide an exception for the health of the mother. As the Supreme Court recognized in Roe v. Wade in 1973, this issue is complex and highly personal; the rights and lives of women must be taken into account.


The ban upheld by the Court is an ill-considered and sweeping prohibition that does not even take account for serious threats to the health of individual women. This hard right turn is a stark reminder of why Democrats cannot afford to lose the 2008 election. Too much is at stake - starting with, as the Court made all too clear today, a woman’s right to choose.


I am extremely concerned that this ruling will embolden state legislatures to enact further measures to restrict a woman’s right to choose, and that the conservative Supreme Court justices will look for other opportunities to erode Roe v. Wade, which is established federal law and a matter of equal rights for women.

And from the Republicans:


Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a victory for those who cherish the sanctity of life and integrity of the judiciary. The ruling ensures that an unacceptable and unjustifiable practice will not be carried out on our innocent children. It also clearly speaks to the importance of nominating and confirming strict constructionist judges who interpret the law as it is written.

The Supreme Court reached the correct conclusion in upholding the congressional ban on partial birth abortion. I agree with it.


Today, our nation’s highest court reaffirmed the value of life in America by upholding a ban on a practice that offends basic human decency. This decision represents a step forward in protecting the weakest and most innocent among us.

RSS icon Comments


To try and look on the brighter side of things:

Interesting reading the law and the opinion it almost seems that the law was designed to almost never apply. For example previous bans have outlawed any abortion in which a substantial portion of the body is delivered.

“The statute in Stenberg prohibited ‘deliberately and intentionally delivering into the vagina a living unborn child, or a substantial portion thereof, for the purpose of performing a procedure that the person performing such procedure knows will kill the unborn child and does kill the unborn child.’”

This bill only prohibits delivering the whole head or the trunk up to the navel.

“The Attorney General concedes, and we agree, that if an abortion procedure does not involve the delivery of a living fetus to one of these “anatomical ‘landmarks’”—where, depending on the presentation, either the fetal head or the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother—the prohibitions of the Act do not apply.”

Regular D&E’s, the vast majority of 2nd trimester abortions, are untouched.

“The Act prohibits intact D&E; and, notwithstanding respondents’ arguments, it does not prohibit the D&E procedure in which the fetus is removed in parts.”

Also the act that “kills” the fetus must occur after this delivery.

“For purposes of criminal liability, the overt act causing the fetus’ death must be separate from delivery. And the overt act must occur after the delivery to an anatomical landmark. This is because the Act proscribes killing “the partially delivered” fetus, which, when read in context, refers to a fetus that has been delivered to an anatomical landmark.”

Finally there must be intent to both deliver to the prohibited point and to “kill”.

“To begin with, the physician must have “deliberately and intentionally” delivered the fetus to one of the Act’s anatomical landmarks. §1531(b)(1)(A). If a living fetus is delivered past the critical point by accident or inadvertence, the Act is inapplicable. In addition, the fetus must have been delivered “for the purpose of performing an overt act that the [doctor] knows will kill [it].” If either intent is absent, no crime has occurred.”

This is key. In many D&E’s the intent may be to partially dilate and remove in pieces however often more extreme dilation can occur and you can get delivery past the landmarks. The Court here and later states that if the intent at the onset was to remove in pieces, a regular D&E, then no crime has been committed.

There is also this possibility.
“If the intact D&E procedure is truly necessary in some circumstances, it appears likely an injection that kills the fetus is an alternative under the Act that allows the doctor to perform the procedure.”

While of course the federal government or the courts should not be intruding into this realm. However, in my opinion it does not seem like this ban will have much effect at all. Kennedy also seemed to go out of his way to reaffirm the principles of Casey and Roe. Unlike Scalia and Thomas he goes through the Casey standards to come to his conclusion. All told while certainly a bad decision it does not appear that Kennedy is willing to overturn abortion rights…

Posted by Giffy | April 18, 2007 4:36 PM

you forgot Kucinich and Nader.

after all, we can't forget their people who helped elect our current President.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 18, 2007 4:37 PM

Where's all the talk of "activist judges" now?

Posted by monkey | April 18, 2007 4:39 PM

Nader yes, but I think you give Kucinich to much credit. Nader is the like the brother-in-law who gets drunk and beats up your grandma at Easter. Kucinich justs sits in the corner and mumbles nonsense to himself.

Posted by Giffy | April 18, 2007 4:46 PM

“The Attorney General concedes, and we agree, that if an abortion procedure does not involve the delivery of a living fetus to one of these “anatomical ‘landmarks’”

... they can't even be bothered to say vagina?

Posted by Sam | April 18, 2007 4:50 PM

Sam, the "anatomical landmarks" refer to the fetus. They are the entirety of the head or the belly button. Basically the previous law said a substantial part of the fetus. That was found to be overly broad. This bill defines the exact moment you go from legal D&E to illegal D&E to avoid that.

Posted by Giffy | April 18, 2007 5:42 PM

how did kucinich help bush get elected? sure people voted for him in the primary, but im sure they switched to kerry in the general.

Posted by something else | April 18, 2007 6:01 PM

@7 - are you sure?

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 18, 2007 11:42 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).