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January marks the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision guaranteeing a woman's right to an abortion.

That's nearly half a century as settled law--and yet states continue to fight to undermine it, to restrict access and to return the country to the days of illegal abortions. As 2019 begins, these unnecessary battles will continue in courthouses and statehouses around the country.

Just since 2010, reproductive rights advocates estimate that a staggering 400 anti-abortion bills have been passed by state legislatures. Some were so blatantly unconstitutional that judges overturned them indefinitely or permanently. But that hasn't stopped states from appealing the rulings or introducing other such bills.

The notorious Texas law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at hospitals and mandating that abortion clinics be outfitted and equipped to the standards of ambulatory surgical centers--both of which are medically unnecessary requirements--was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 in another ruling making it clear that the right to abortion means having access to abortion.

Yet several states, including Louisiana and Missouri, have either passed or continued to enforce laws with very similar restrictions. In a few cases, federal courts allowed those laws to stand. The fact that many of the laws don't survive challenges in federal court doesn't seem to deter lawmakers from coming up with new ones.

Kentucky legislators are about to introduce a bill that will prohibit abortion after six weeks of pregnancy--a clear violation of Roe v. Wade. Several states have passed bills outlawing the most common method of second-trimester abortion, known as dilation and evacuation; those laws have generally been struck down in courts.

Alabama, after losing all its appeals on its dilation and evacuation ban, just petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

An Indiana law that banned women from getting an abortion because of a disability detected in the fetus was enjoined by federal courts. The state of Indiana has asked the Supreme Court to take the case.

A law in Ohio that bans a woman from getting an abortion just because the fetus would be born with Down syndrome was also enjoined by a federal judge and will be heard in an appellate court. It's stunning that a state would try to interfere with a woman's decision whether to take on the difficult and life-altering task of raising a child with a disability--or the related decision whether to subject a child to living with a severely disabling condition.

There seems to be a push to get more anti-abortion state laws on the books to prompt more federal lawsuits and increase the chances that the U.S. Supreme Court, with its new conservative majority, will seriously undermine--or overturn--Roe v. Wade.

In late November, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves said as much in a scathing rebuke of the state of Mississippi when he struck down its ban on abortions after 15 weeks. Of more immediate concern than a broad Supreme Court ruling are the incremental state restrictions that manage to survive court challenges.

Together, these are making it increasingly difficult for abortion clinics to stay open, intimidating doctors so they won't provide abortions and generally reducing access in so many places that the procedure becomes almost unobtainable, particularly for poor women without the means to travel. Several states have only one abortion clinic.

It's unconscionable that states continue to obstruct access to abortion, and it's particularly galling when they cloak their laws in fake concerns about the health and safety of women.

Abortion rights advocates must continue to challenge these laws in court, the judiciary must defend its critically important 50-year-old precedent and ultimately, opponents must accept that abortion is a constitutional right that is not likely to go away.

Editorial on 01/07/2019

Print Headline: Unconstitutional laws

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Comments

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  • JIMGAIL61788GMAILCOM
    January 7, 2019 at 6:30 a.m.

    Oh! The politicians who are receiving monies from religious groups.These are the ones fighting to overturn ROE v WADE.If the Religious groups want to invest politics.Let us change the 1st Amendment.So! The religious groups not separating themselves from politics.They can now start paying TAXES on all those YEARLY BILLIONS.You must remember.Religion is a belief,Not a fact.

  • RobertBolt
    January 7, 2019 at 8:24 a.m.

    Born and sustained in theology and superstition as substitutes for reason and fact, these misogynistic laws represent just one more way religion poisons everything it touches.

  • GeorgeWashington
    January 7, 2019 at 9:19 a.m.

    The rich irony of this article is that the editorialist doesn’t grasp why there are so many court challenges to Roe v. Wade: it’s the most idiotic, unconstitutional Supreme Court decision in history. Even the most pro-abortion legal scholars agree on that. No one can say with a straight face that the drafters of the 14th Amendment intended for it to enshrine a constitutional right to an abortion.

    If pro-abortion advocates want to create a true constitutional right to an abortion, the process is clear, just like it was for the suffragettes who fought for women to have the right to vote: draft a constitutional amendment, and have it ratified by Congress and 3/4 of the states.

    But since most states had, and still have, no interest in providing abortion on demand, liberals turned to their friends on the Supreme Court who were able to perform the necessary mental gymnastics to arrive at Roe v. Wade. The 40+ years of court battles and anti-abortion social activism is the logical result of forcing a tenuous “constitutional right” upon the vast numbers of Americans who still oppose it as strongly as ever. The suffragettes didn’t hide behind the 14th Amendment, so why do the pro-abortion activists?

    The day is coming, and coming soon, when this disastrous decision will be overturned and it will be up to each individual state to determine whether or not to provide abortions. Let California and New York justify to themselves the ghoulish practice of taking an innocent, unborn life. Let Arkansas be a place where every new life is cherished and where our most precious resource - human capital - can flourish.

  • RobertBolt
    January 7, 2019 at 9:54 a.m.

    Women as chattel for the purpose of producing people as capital.

  • GeneralMac
    January 7, 2019 at 10:21 a.m.

    Congress decided to oulaw the gruesome procedure known as partial birth abortion.

    The United States Supreme Court upheld the ban to the dismay of proabortion linerals.

    Will this post of mine be removed like a similar one was earlier ?

  • RobertBolt
    January 7, 2019 at 10:33 a.m.

    No, because you removed the language you knew was unacceptable.

  • GeneralMac
    January 7, 2019 at 10:40 a.m.

    ROBERTBOLT......we know who the snowflaje is now.

    YOU !

  • LRCrookAtty
    January 7, 2019 at 10:43 a.m.

    GW...
    *
    Exactly. This is the point I was trying to get across earlier. To many Constitutional "rights" have been created by the Judiciary and not by the appropriate method of an Amendment.

  • PopMom
    January 7, 2019 at 10:44 a.m.

    GeorgeWashington,

    Our founding fathers never envisioned that our notions of liberty should be static. I actually think that Roe v. Wade did a nice job of balancing the interests of the fetus, the mother, and society. The whole issue of abortion involves complicated issues of morality in a complex world. I have seen one family and one child suffer due to the child's severe disabilities. She is 18, weighs 60 pounds, has a very low iq, is incontinent, and in a wheelchair. She suffers terribly. Doctors warned the parents before she was born. The mother wanted an abortion, but her husband was opposed. Now, this child has suffered for years. Some of the most pro-life people also advocate gunning people down who try to enter illegally and are opposed to medical care for children. I favor a woman having the right to an abortion before twelve weeks, and from twelve weeks to sixteen weeks in certain cases, and thereafter only when the mother's life is in jeopardy or the child will not be viable or have a decent quality of life after birth. We should make birth control more accessible and subsidize the expenses of women who give children up for adoption. It breaks my heart to see women abort a healthy fetus for convenience--especially when they are far along. I find partial birth abortion morally depraved. I am all in favor of the use of in vitro to prevent the passing on of serious genetic defects. Shouldn't we all want a world full of healthy, happy children and people. I don't understand the conservative viewpoint of caring so much about children before they are born and so little after.

  • LRCrookAtty
    January 7, 2019 at 10:52 a.m.

    PM..."...child will not be viable or have a decent quality of life after birth..."
    *
    We cannot trust the doctors and their opinions on what is viable and decent quality of life after birth. During my wife's pregnancy with both of my first two children, the doctors told us that we should have an abortion, because they would have a poor life due to a syndrome they had. After they were born, neither boy tested positive for the syndrome. They are now 24 and 25 and living a happy life. By the time my 3rd child was born the doctors had new information and was able to tell that he would not have the syndrome either. Therefore, your argument is null and void. One situation, known to you, does not a law make.

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