Let’s be clear about the fundamental issue involved in the upcoming and prior abortion cases.
You could say that the issue is whether women have a fundamental and absolute right to control their own bodies. I don’t think that is the issue because that has already been decided and the answer is no, there is no absolute right for women to control what happens in their own bodies, and counterintuitively, that “no” answer came from Roe v. Wade . Specifically, women do not have absolute control over their own bodies in the third trimester (24 weeks, as I recall from Roe) and the state has a superior right to protect a viable, unborn child, and can prohibit women from having an abortion in the absence of a threat to the woman of continuing the pregnancy.
So, we know that women have never had absolute control over their bodies throughout a pregnancy term.
The actual issue is whether the state can completely eliminate a women’s control over her own body, say from conception. Some states are passing laws doing just that, on what appears to me to be a religious belief that the soul becomes attached to the fertilized egg upon conception. Presumably, an abortion anytime after conception is murder, and a spontaneous miscarriage is a tragic death of a human being with a soul.
I understand that position and accept that it follows (i.e., it is logically sound) if your starting premise is that the soul gets attached at conception (for humans anyway). But that is a religious premise/belief. I respect that, but many people do not share that religious belief.
And in this country, we’re not supposed to make laws based on religious beliefs because of the First Amendment’s requirement that we keep church and state separate. I mean, that was one of the founding principles not only of the Constitution, but it was the reason the pilgrims came to this country a hundred and fifty years or so before the Bill of Rights was enacted.
So to me, in a sense, the real issue is whether a state can use a religious tenant of one religion (or the fundamentalist section of Christianity, plus all or almost all Catholics, I presume) to ground the government’s divesting a human being’s control over her body.
Another cut at this would be to say that characterization of a fertilized egg as a human is a perfectly reasonable religious tenant, but I don’t think it has the same moral force or imperative as say a decision to terminate a viable 6-9 month fetus. Sure, it may be hard to draw the line on the cut off point, but that doesn’t mean that the line can’t or shouldn’t be drawn.
BREAKING NEWS: ROE IS GONE.
6-3 with Roberts saying he agrees with the result of the actual case but wouldn’t have overturned it.
Here is the decision. 19-1392_6j37
Rick Jaffe, Esq.