The Beginning of the End for Abortion Rights

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In one of his 19th-century novels, Anthony Trollope depicts a protagonist who learns that his beloved has accepted a rival’s marriage proposal. “A horse will gallop for some scores of yards, after his back has been broken, before he knows of his great ruin; — and so it was with Phineas Finn,” he wrote. Soon, however, Finn realizes: “The game was played out, and all his victories were as nothing to him.”

This is roughly the position of abortion rights supporters in America. But on Monday, the Supreme Court announced that it would review a Mississippi law that bans nearly all abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.

The case won’t be heard before October, and a decision may not come down for more than a year. But the devastating blow has fallen. We now know that the constitutional right that has been recognized for nearly half a century will not survive in its current form, if at all.

The Mississippi law, enacted in 2018, prohibits abortions after 15 weeks, except “in a medical emergency or in the case of a severe fetal abnormality.” No exception for rape, incest or nonemergency risks to the health of the mother. The state declares that any abortion performed after this stage “is a barbaric practice, dangerous for the maternal patient, and demeaning to the medical profession.”

The law represents a direct challenge to the Supreme Court’s own rulings, which allow states to forbid abortions only after the fetus is viable, or capable of surviving outside the womb, about 24 weeks into a pregnancy. The court established that rule in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and reaffirmed it in 1992.

Under its existing precedents, the law is flagrantly unconstitutional, as both a district court and an appeals court concluded. Five years ago, the justices declined to review a lower court ruling that threw out an Arkansas ban on abortions after 12 weeks.

What’s changed? The Supreme Court, which now has three conservative members appointed by President Donald Trump. There is only one possible explanation for why the court would agree to review the statute: At least five justices are ready to let states outlaw abortion long before viability.

Otherwise, the court would have let the lower court ruling stand. “I’d be absolutely shocked if they didn’t intend to uphold the law,” University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone, author of “Sex and the Constitution,” told me.

As he notes, the ban would allow most abortions. Some 90% of Mississippi abortions take place in the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. Some of those performed later involve the sort of medical emergencies and fetal defects that are covered by exceptions in this ban. For most women, getting a termination would remain within the realm of possibility.

But these figures are cold comfort for any woman who believes she should not be forced to endure the rigors of pregnancy and the dangers of giving birth, which are vastly greater than the risks of abortion. Poor women are particularly likely to be affected. If this law is upheld, some two dozen states are likely to enact similar measures -- if not stricter ones.

If abortions after 15 weeks can be outlawed, why not after 12 weeks? Or 10 weeks? Or zero weeks? Having erased the bright line of viability, the conservative justices will find no obvious place to draw a new one -- if they want to draw one at all.

Eleven states, including Mississippi, have passed laws that would ban all abortions as soon as the court overturns Roe v. Wade. They now have a realistic hope that those laws will eventually take effect.

If anti-abortion advocates think such bans would prevent women from ending unwanted pregnancies, though, they are kidding themselves. Many abortions involve taking a couple of pills -- which, like other illicit drugs, would find willing sellers in a soon-to-thrive underground market. Women in red states could travel to blue states to find legal clinics.

The truly desperate would seek out illegal providers, some of them unsafe, or even try to self-induce. Each year, thousands of women around the world die from illegal abortions, and millions suffer medical complications. The United States can't expect anything different.

For the time being, abortion remains legal and mostly accessible in this country. But it won't be long before Americans who cherish the right to make their own decisions will know of their great ruin.

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20 thoughts on “The Beginning of the End for Abortion Rights”

  1. Abortion is murder, period! Life involves taking risks, the government can’t legislate complete safety. Look at this “Covid” fiasco! The govt can’t condone murder of innocent children. If people don’t want kids, get sterilized! It’s easier and safer than an abortion!

    1. Or keep your legs crossed….this is not an air born virus this one IS man made. Cruelty to ALL parties CAN be prevented. The “Rape” excuse is absolutely overused … we have greater sympathy for animals (read ASPCA, PETA) than babies, this is a CHOICE situation pure and simple. I am a BLM advocate .. Babies Lives Matter and that includes black babies. Have we forgotten that the KKK and Planned Parenthood are Liberal (read Democrat) associations created to control the black population ? Where are most clinics located ? It is time we get rid of this barbaric practice. In the life to come these children will witness the judgement of these vile people and all of their ill riches will not do them any good. AMEN

  2. Hooray end this bloody saga since 1973
    Weve killed more infants that Hitler did in the camps alone .
    & the camps ran from 1942-1945.
    The Great decision to kill Jews was in 1942 meeting.

  3. “But these figures are cold comfort for any woman who believes she should not be forced to endure the rigors of pregnancy and the dangers of giving birth, which are vastly greater than the risks of abortion.”
    This is the most stupid thing I have ever read!!!!

  4. The left has done it to themselves! They pushed this to an extreme, condoning late term abortions, partial birth abortions. There is NO reason these days for anyone to become pregnant if they do not want to, other than stupidity.
    They tried to cloak the practice with euphemisms like “womens health”. Bullshi*, this was never about “womens health”.

  5. Abortion “rights”? Abortion isn’t a right; a baby in the womb has the RIGHT to live. That is the dictate of nature. To abort a baby is inherently unnatural and immoral.

  6. We aten’t allowed to choose whether or not to wear masks. Why would anyone think we had the right to make a choice as whether or not to go through an abortion?

  7. First, the murder of the unborn in not now nor ever has been a Constitutional Right. That contention is an example of the stupidity of the left. A Constitutional Right is written in the Constitution. I don’t think you’ll find it there. Your contention that it is is either intentional misinformation or ignorance. If you say it is Constitutionally inferred and has been litigated and allowed, THAT would be the Truth. But then, we all know that it was based on a sham court case perpetrated upon the Court by group of amoral Eugenic Activists….as was Slavery Centuries ago.
    Since that court case, literally millions of babies have been murdered in a Holocaust. To my mind, our current political situation is God’s way of punishing us for murdering these children.

  8. AGREE with at least one other commentator – abortion is MURDER! – whether or not the unborn “fetus” is viable or not. Little difference, really, in a fifteen-week pregnancy or one at thirty weeks as in the earlier period the unborn CHILD has every organ in place and working, working limbs, hands, facial features, they have it all, but are just tiny. Still, at this point would love to see the abortion mills slowed down, if not yet eliminated. Many of us long for the day when abortion is seen for what it is, the murder of an INNOCENT unborn child, and cringe at the very thought of ending a life before it is allowed to live fully.

  9. NOT ONLY IS ABORTION THE BLATENT MURDER OF AN INNOCENT LIFE IN THE WOMB, BUT THE MILLIONS OF LIVES THAT HAVE BEEN DESTROYED FOR SELFISH REASONS….BUT ABORTION HAS KEPT OUR POPULATION FROM BEING BALANCED. WE HAVE LOST MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF LIVES THAT COULD HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO OUR PROSPERITY AS A COUNTRY. WE HAVE LOST AN ABUNDANCE OF WEALTH BECAUSE OF ABORTION. OUR ECONOMY HAS SUFFERED A GREAT LOSS OF DOLLARS BECAUSE OF THE LIVES THAT WERE TAKEN DESTROYED VIA ABORTION. WE WOULD HAVE HAD AN ABUNDANCE OF WORKING PEOPLE WITH GREAT MINDS AND SKILLS TO KEEP HUMANITY ALIVE AND THRIVING. WE, HERE IN AMERICA, COULD HAVE BEEN THE MOST BLESSED COUNTRY ON THIS EARTH, IF ONLY WE HAD NOT KILLED ALL THOSE INNOCENT LIVES.

  10. Abstinence is the best way to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, followed by rhythm etc..
    Abortion on demand is not a “right”. It is murder.

    1. The mucs method is way better than the rythem method. A woman passes mucus when she is firtile. It starts out thick and white looking. Then becomes clear and sometimes makes a strand that clings a little between the vaginaand tissue. Yea when you see the clear slime she is super fertile. But can get pregnant during the whitish looking part of this cycle. That is when tho\e oil stick needs to stay away from the oil pan.

  11. Why is it Progressives only recognize freedom to make your own decisions when it pertains to the right to abortion? I’m really fed up with that mind-set. First off all, I don’t care what the Supreme Court has ruled in the past that there is a right to abortion hidden in the Constitution’s right to privacy. If that is hidden there, then anything else a person could want to do could be considered to be hidden there. There is NO right to abortion in the Constitution!

  12. Praise God! End abortion now! I’m a voice for the voiceless the little innocent child in the womb. It should have a right to life. Keep your legs closed if you’re not willing to have child. Rapes horrible but don’t give the innovtchild the death sentence give the death sentence to the scum bag who committed the heinous act.
    Then you want to right about if abortion is illegal the woman would take matters into her own hands. Sorry but then she should face charges for murder.

  13. ??? “cold comfort for any woman who believes she should not be forced to endure the rigors of pregnancy and the dangers of giving birth…”

    Seriously? C’mon now. Women that don’t want to get pregnant can use birth control or even just say “no.” Novel idea, eh?

    I’ve had 3 children. Abortion is much more dangerous than natural birth, and the danger increases as the term does.

    The problem is not just that abortion is legal for any reason. The problem is that present LAWS victimize women.

    For instance, if a woman gets pregnant, all the pre-natal care, birth and hospital bills are on HER alone. And these can add up to 25 or 30 thousand dollars. Any time lost from work, are on HER. The so called “man” isn’t responsible for anything until after the baby is born, and only for child support.

    Now, if half the bills from conception were also on the MAN, and he had to help with loss of income to take care of the new born (HIS newborn as well as her’s) and had to pay at least half the prenatal bills, doctor’s bills, hospitalization and birth bills, as well as child support, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BET THAT A WHOLE LOT MORE MEN FIND SOME SELF CONTROL? Mmmmmm?

    Right now the laws favor Planned Murderhood and the abortion industry, as they leave the woman at a disadvantage, while letting men off the hook for the initial big bills.

    Abortion should not be legal for any reason. A human beings entire lifetime is at stake. If it wasn’t legal, a whole lot less MEN AND WOMEN would avoid pregnancy. NO DOUBT about it.

    And if a pregnancy DID occur, BOTH PARENTS are equally responsible for ALL bills FROM CONCEPTION.

    Only fair. Human lives depend on that.