Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ginsberg's dissent

While reading Justice Ginsberg's dissent one thing that stood out to me was how she seems to believe the testimony of abortionists (who perform partial-birth abortions) are significantly more authoritative than the testimony of physicians who deal with maternal health problems during pregnancies but who don't perform partial-birth abortions. Starting on page 12 of her dissent, Ginsberg writes,
In this insistence, the Court brushes under the rug the District Courts' wellsupported findings that the physicians who testified that intact D&E is never necessary to preserve the health of a woman had slim authority for their opinions. They had no training for, or personal experience with, the intact D&E procedure, and many performed abortions only on rare occasions.

In other words, the government witnesses had slim authority that partial-birth abortion was never necessary to preserve a woman's health simply because they hadn't performed one. What kind of horrible logic is that?

By that logic, an abortionist could know very little about maternal health issues during pregnancy but be an expert at performing partial-birth abortions and they would have more authority about whether this procedure is necessary to preserve a woman's health simply because they've performed the procedure.

In what other areas of medicine would this argument hold up? Would the testimony of heart experts about the necessity/safety of certain heart procedures or drugs be dismissed simply because they hadn't performed the procedure or prescribed the drugs? Of course not.

This judgement of authority as applied by Ginsberg and also applied in the District Court partial-birth abortion case Planned Parenthood v. Ashcroft would allow anyone who performs any kind of procedure to have their testimony held in higher esteem than anyone else who hasn't performed the procedure regardless of other pertinent qualifications. This contrived judgement of authority is inherently and intentionally biased towards the performer of the procedure. If this judgement of authority stood, how could one then prove a procedure isn't necessary to save the health of the mother? Would doctors have to perform a procedure they think isn't necessary and may feel is even more dangerous than more commonly used procedures to become "experts" on whether a certain procedure secures a woman's health?

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