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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Parole Violation = Forced Pregnancy?

Sports: NY Giants played to lose all day, Dallas finally let them in OT. NY Jets were close enough until the Bills put in the final nail. The Astros grinded out another pitching gem (2-1), while the White Sox starter went all the way for the fourth straight game. And, Anaheim -- though losing -- actually finally had a call go their way (and not -- but the final nail was the right call).

Update: The full Court did not support the stay, so the inmate can now have her abortion -- the months delay, however, remains distressing.

An interesting column discusses Miers possible views on a key issue: "tort reform." The coverage is largely focused on her religion and cronyism (suitable Federalist paper cited ... we are all originalists now*), but her business law experience is notable as well. Given the administration's friendliness to big business, especially in respect to less regulation and so forth, tort reform is a telling indicator here.

Also, this is a trouble case. Missouri wishes to "discourage" abortions by forcing those in jail -- here for a parole violation -- to have their baby. After all, they are not free to leave, so are at the mercy of the state. The woman found out in July that she was pregnant, immediately requested an abortion, and now is in her second trimester. Even if the woman is given the abortion now, it is a horrible situation -- the abortion would be a late second trimester (she is about seventeen weeks), which is riskier and more troubling in other ways (many are more morally opposed in such cases as compared to earlier abortions). Is this what we want to do? Force felons to have babies against their will?

Missouri has a history of such things. Missouri was involved in the Webster decision, the pre-Casey decision that was the first real chance for the anti-Roe forces to hope to overrule the opinion. Justice O'Connor, to Scalia's disdain, refused to do so -- rightly noting that the relatively trivial regulations could be upheld under the Roe framework. It also was Justice Blackmun's first "I'm old and Roe is hanging by the thread of my vote" opinion. At around the same time, Missouri also went out of the way in the Cruzan case to not allow parents to remove treatment from their brain damaged daughter ... though even the woman's own representative agreed it was a proper decision (he appealed on duty grounds). In other words, the state has a history of supporting "life" over every other interest. It does have the death penalty though (I know -- that can, in a fashion, be seen as pro-life).

There is this assumption that pro-choice sorts are crying wolf -- if we overturn Roe/Casey, women would still have a chance to get an abortion -- that is, if states actually let them do so. Of course, this is a half-truth -- if Roe was so meaningless, the pro-life (and pro-state discretion) side would not be so passionate in their opposition. In actuality, there are various cases where women will have a hard time, another currently being military dependants. For instance, I spoke of a military wife that was refused the funds to get an abortion even though she had an anacephalic fetus that was unlikely even to survive the pregnancy. And, now this.

More here.


* The Nation has a piece in which it challenges the personhood of corporations for the purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment in part because some argue that it was not the original intent of its framers. But, this is unclear, since various antebellum courts -- including the Supreme Court -- treated corporations as "citizens" and "persons" in certain respects, including for the purpose of suing in federal court. And, though it may not be relevant, the famous Dartmouth College case involved a corporation as well.

As an aside, abortion rights folks should be careful when using history in their favor, though surely both sides play around with it whenever it seems useful. Some note that abortion was legal when the Constitution was ratified, but the more telling point is that it was largely illegal when the Fourteenth Amendment -- what is usually at stake in abortion cases -- was ratified. This doesn't end the game by any means, but honesty dictates the mention. Anyway, various anti-Roe justices have made the point repeatedly.