Abortion bans keep coming. Even anti-abortion groups doubt their effectiveness. – Mother Jones
On October 1, a federal judge blocked a Georgian law banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. On the same day, a nearly identical bill was introduced to the Florida state legislature.
For every legal setback to recent efforts by Republican state lawmakers to impose effective blanket abortion bans, there has been another push to pass new ones. But with the courts seeming to unanimously agree that the measures are unconstitutional, even anti-abortion groups doubt the wisdom of the multitude of bans.
The Florida bill, tabled by Republican State Representative Mike Hill, would ban abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, typically around six weeks, which is often before a woman is notified of her pregnancy. The bill would also make it a crime for doctors to perform these abortions, which carry five years in prison.
South Carolina lawmakers are also considering a bill that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected and make abortion after that time a criminal offense. Nine states have adopted bans on the pre-viability of abortion: Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Utah, and Arkansas.
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation in October 2018 prompted many state legislatures to pass abortion bans in hopes of bringing a case to the Supreme Court that could be overturned. Roe vs. Wade. “In 10 to 15 states over the past 30 years, lawmakers have passed anti-abortion laws that they believe shift the envelope towards further restriction of the right to abortion,” says Stephen Wermiel, professor. in Constitutional Law at the American University. “Now with Kavanaugh replacing [Anthony] Kennedy, I think states are keenly interested in trying to go further to see one of two things: either if they can get Roe deer completely canceled or if they can significantly advance restrictions on abortion. “
However, so far none of these laws have been upheld by federal judges. Without a division among federal courts over abortion bans, Wermiel says, the Supreme Court is unlikely to hear any of these cases.
“I think the Supreme Court is not anxious to have to decide on one of them,” he said. “The real question will be: should the court choose one of these cases? [as a result of] are the federal courts of appeal in conflict? But so far, none of the federal courts have upheld any of these pre-viability bans.
Leading anti-abortion organizations such as the Americans United for Life have spoken out openly against these bans, arguing that they are not the best strategy to roll back access to abortion.
“They are not likely to appear before the Supreme Court,” said Steven Aden, general counsel for Americans United for Life. “For this reason, we believe there are other more productive ways for the state to express its respect for life.”
Aden argues that it is more effective to pass laws such as a 2014 measure in Louisiana that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges to a local hospital. These privileges can be very difficult for abortion providers to obtain, as hospitals are unlikely to grant admitting privileges to physicians who hardly ever bring in patients. (Less than 1% of women experience complications from abortion.) In Louisiana, the requirement for admitting privileges would leave only one abortion provider statewide. Louisiana law is currently before the Supreme Court. “What Louisiana has done by admitting privileges is appropriate,” says Aden.
While the Louisiana law is the only abortion-related case currently before the Supreme Court, conservative state legislatures will likely continue to push for the abortion ban, says Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization focused on reproductive health. “Where we see these bans moving around and being enacted are the states where, in recent years, they’ve gone restriction after restriction after restriction,” she said. “So in some ways it’s really the last thing to do.”
Additionally, Nash believes lawmakers are motivated by a desire to appear tough on abortion. “I also think states are looking to try and fight for most of the anti-abortion states in the country,” she said, adding, “It gives them a basis and proves their conservative good faith.”
Abortion legislation tends to fall in the great election years, given its controversy. But Nash thinks 2020 may be different. “I have a feeling that abortion will be an electoral issue, and for the Conservatives maybe in a different way because of the Supreme Court, because of the threat of Roe deerShe said, adding, “I can imagine we’re going to see more of the abortion ban in 2020.”
Even though the Supreme Court has yet to pass any of the abortion bans, Wermiel argues that these laws pose the most direct threat to Roe vs. Wade.
“The interesting [thing] about the bans is, probably more than anything else, that they would force the Supreme Court to face the cancellation of the right to abortion, ”he said. “Because you can’t basically say that the six-week bans are not an undue burden on a woman’s ability to have an abortion. The court can’t just uphold the ban and say it doesn’t violate the right to abortion … So if the court gets one of those cases and accepts it, it almost certainly has to confront. to the question of cancellation. Roe deer. “