Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Alito Watch: SCOTUS to hear "partial birth abortion" case

Three years ago, Congress passed, and Bush signed, a law banning so-called "partial birth abortions." (There actually is no medical procedure by that name.) The law contains no exception allowing late-term abortions when medically necessary to protect the life or health of the mother, and judges in three states, applying clear U.S. Supreme Court precedent on the "maternal health" requirement, have enjoined it from taking effect. The Roberts Court, containing Samuel Alito in place of the more moderate Sandra Day O'Connor, has just agreed to hear the case.

It's important, as we engage the abortion debate, to understand what Roe v. Wade did and didn't say, what the "maternal health" requirement is, and what role Alito may play. Concerning a different case, but the same issues, I prepared this overview of the law last November. I urge you to read it. It's dense -- the issues are dense, and the analysis is done by an experienced lawyer, not a dilettante -- but that's good: unlike Mr. Bush, we're willing to think hard about complex issues.

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