Thursday, November 05, 2020

New Developments In the Abortion Rights Controversy

The past few days have brought several developments in the battle over abortion rights. In Colorado, an Initiative measure on the ballot that would have banned abortions after 22 weeks of gestation was defeated 59% to 41% (89% of precincts reporting). In Louisiana voters approved by a margin of 62% to 38% an amendment to the state constitution providing "To protect human life, nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion."

Meanwhile last week, the Alabama Supreme Court in Magers v. Alabama Women's Center Reproductive Alternatives, LLC, (LA Sup. Ct., Oct. 30, 2020), dismissed a wrongful death action brought by the father of an aborted 6-week old fetus against a clinic that provided the mother with a pill to induce a medication abortion. The trial court dismissed the suit, and the state Supreme Court dismissed because appellant did not comply with the procedural requirements for the type of brief that needs to be submitted for an appeal. However Justice Mitchell, joined by 3 other justices wrote concurring opinion that said in part:

I write separately, however, to state my view that Roe v. Wade ... and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey ... are due to be overruled by the United States Supreme Court....

First, the central holding of Roe -- that there is a constitutional right to have an abortion based on a judicially created trimester framework -- has no grounding in the text of the United States Constitution....

Second, the right to have an abortion has no foundation "so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental." Snyder v. Massachusetts, 291 U.S. 97, 105 (1934).

[Thanks to Scott Mange for the lead as to Alabama.]