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Hawk on a wire © Robert Sommers 2022

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Iron fist wears a velvet glove


"Our law affords constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing and education. … Our cases recognize 'the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.' … Our precedents 'have respected the private realm of family life which the state cannot enter.' … These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.

"These considerations begin our analysis of the woman's interest in terminating her pregnancy but cannot end it, for this reason: though the abortion decision may originate within the zone of conscience and belief, it is more than a philosophic exercise. Abortion is a unique act. It is an act fraught with consequences for others: for the woman who must live with the implications of her decision; for the persons who perform and assist in the procedure; for the spouse, family, and society which must confront the knowledge that these procedures exist, procedures some deem nothing short of an act of violence against innocent human life; and, depending on one's beliefs, for the life or potential life that is aborted. Though abortion is conduct, it does not follow that the State is entitled to proscribe it in all instances. That is because the liberty of the woman is at stake in a sense unique to the human condition and so unique to the law. The mother who carries a child to full term is subject to anxieties, to physical constraints, to pain that only she must bear. That these sacrifices have from the beginning of the human race been endured by woman with a pride that ennobles her in the eyes of others and gives to the infant a bond of love cannot alone be grounds for the State to insist she make the sacrifice. Her suffering is too intimate and personal for the State to insist, without more, upon its own vision of the woman's role, however dominant that vision has been in the course of our history and our culture. The destiny of the woman must be shaped to a large extent on her own conception of her spiritual imperatives and her place in society."

Sandra Day O'Connor, David Souter and Anthony Kennedy 505 U.S. 833
1992

And finally, wonder what is coming next? From Constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe again:

2 comments:

The Phantom Knows said...

I read this today…

“The inescapable conclusion,” Alito wrote, according to the draft, “is that a right to an abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions.” He also said the decision was on a “collision course” with the Constitution “from the day it was decided.”

Alito also pushed back on the notion that if the court were to overturn Roe it could lead the court to overturn other cases like Obergefell v. Hodges, that upheld the right to same-sex marriage. He said that what “sharply distinguishes” Roe from other cases is that “abortion destroys” potential life.

The court, Alito added, was not able to end the debate on abortion nearly a half century ago when Roe came down, so it should leave the issue to states.”

So, no matter the eventual SCOTUS decision… The state of California will retain its current abortion rights status.

Blue Heron said...

He believes that no law promulgated in the 20th century is rooted in tradition. Why not roll them all back?