Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Life Links 1/25/11

AUL's Clark Forsythe discusses how Roe v. Wade and federal courts have made it difficult to regulate abortion clinics.
Because the Justices who decided Roe foolishly believed that abortion had few risks and that doctors should have complete discretion to decide how to do abortions in the first trimester, they basically said that state and local officials can’t regulate in the first trimester, when 90 percent of abortions are done, and that they can try in the second trimester—if they dare.

But the Justices then empowered the federal courts and attorneys for abortion providers to thwart every effort by public health officials to regulate. Federal courts across the country spent the next decade implementing that edict, and by the end of the 1980s, the federal courts had struck down attempts by Chicago and many other cities to regulate clinics in the first trimester. As Edward F. King, the Deputy Director of the Chicago Medical Society told the Chicago Sun Times in 1978, “The courts very effectively knocked the Department of Health out of the picture.

We’re not even entitled to cross the threshold of these clinics.”

He doesn't sound too positive about Gosnell's case leading to any kind of permanent change.
If the history of the past 38 years is replayed in Philadelphia, as it has been in Chicago and other major cities, the current furor will die down, some legislative body might pass new regulations, the ACLU or the Center for Reproductive Rights will file suit, the federal courts will strike down the regulations, the state will use tax dollars to pay attorneys fees to the clinics, the papers will turn a blind eye, and the case will never get to the Justices.

Planned Parenthood is seeking an FBI investigation after at least 12 of its clinics were visited by individuals claiming to be part of a sex-trafficking ring. They believe that James O'Keefe was one of the individuals and think Live Action may be behind these visits.
Last week, Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder summarizing the visits and requesting an FBI investigation. If the man's assertions were true, she wrote, they would indicate possible violations of federal laws dealing with interstate sex trafficking of minors.

However, Richards said the visits could be part of a hoax resembling some past actions by anti-abortion activists.

"Once inside, these people have recorded `undercover' videos of their conversations with our clinic staff and then selectively and maliciously edited the videos," she wrote. "This may be happening once again. If so, this kind of activity should be firmly condemned."

William Saletan is still trying to get likeminded pro-choicers to answer basic questions about late-term abortions. He also slaps down the "all late-term abortions are for medical reasons" meme.
We don't have solid data on elective abortions late in the second trimester, much less the third, but we do have well-informed estimates concerning so-called "partial-birth" abortions. I'm one of many journalists who bought the initial pro-choice claim that these abortions were mostly for medical reasons. Investigative reports subsequently debunked this claim and corroborated the confession of Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, that "in the vast majority of cases" the patient was "a healthy mother with a healthy fetus that is 20 weeks or more along."

The Gosnell grand jury report provides no evidence that women who came to him for post-viability abortions did so for medical reasons. On the contrary, the report indicates he was indiscriminate: One of his employees testified that "she rarely, if ever, saw Gosnell decline to do a procedure because a woman was too far along." And the only abortion on which the report offers evidence either way seems to have been elective.
Jill Filipovic takes a stab and says that fetal viability is a "fair place" to limit abortion yet she writes any cut-off time is "somewhat arbitrary." She never seems to think very deeply about why a woman's autonomy should be placed second to the child's life at viability. It's like she would probably prefer it wasn't but she's kinda/sorta okay if it is.

It's so weird to me how some pro-choicers can shout from the mountaintops about a woman's autonomy for 20-week abortions yet barely make a defiant peep about the same righteous autonomy for abortions which occur a mere 5 weeks later.

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