Supreme court says no to Texas abortion restrictions

The Supreme Court has struck down abortion restrictions in Texas:

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down Texas abortion restrictions that have been widely duplicated in other states, a resounding win for abortion rights advocates in the court’s most important consideration of the controversial issue in 25 years.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joined the court’s liberals in the 5 to 3 decision, which said Texas’s arguments that the clinic restrictions were to protect women’s health were cover for making it more difficult to obtain an abortion.

The challenged Texas provisions required doctors who perform abortions at clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and said that clinics must meet hospital-like standards of surgical centers.

Similar restrictions have been passed in other states, and officials say they protect patients. But the court’s majority sided with abortion providers and medical associations who said the rules are unnecessary and so expensive or hard to satisfy that they force clinics to close.

“The decision erodes states’ lawmaking authority to safeguard the health and safety of women and subjects more innocent life to being lost,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said in a statement. “Texas’ goal is to protect innocent life, while ensuring the highest health and safety standards for women.”

The Post has an article that looks at that last statement:

A key study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology estimated that the risk of a woman dying after childbirth was 10 times greater than after an abortion. The study estimated that between 1998 and 2005, one woman died in childbirth for every 11,000 babies born. That compares with one in 167,000 women who died of abortion complications. Doctors who perform abortions say the most common complications are not bladder issues or problems with reproductive organs — as some abortion opponents like to emphasize — but mild infection that can be easily treated.

So if Texas makes more women continue their pregnancy more women will die. Even if they just delay the abortion more women will die.

Let’s throw in some data (scroll down to tables 7 or 8):

Among the 38 areas that reported gestational age at the time of abortion for 2012 (Table 7), two-thirds (65.8%) of abortions were performed by ≤8 weeks’ gestation, and 91.4% were performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation.

and according to here:

The risk of death associated with abortion increases with the length of pregnancy, from 0.3 for every 100,000 abortions at or before eight weeks to 6.7 per 100,000 at 18 weeks or later.

A first-trimester abortion is one of the safest medical procedures and carries minimal risk—less than 0.05%—of major complications that might need hospital care.

The Supreme Court easily figured out that these laws were not about the safety of women and all about restricting abortion.

Another reason to support abortions

Jezebel has the story of a woman who got an abortion at 32 weeks:

I got pregnant on our first try, last July. We were really excited about it. Everything seemed to be fine at first, and then we found out at 10 weeks that there was no heartbeat. That was September 2015, and I had a D&C.

It was around 16 weeks, I think, when we got the scan that looked like his feet were turned in—like club feet. Our doctor said he was OK, that we’d just keep watching it. Then, also around that time, we found out that I had a weird umbilical cord, or velamentous cord insertion. Normally, an umbilical cord is implanted in the center of a placenta; mine was way on the edge. That affects blood flow, affects how blood and nutrients get to the baby, so they put me on rest. And, unrelated, I was also bleeding—these huge bleeds that looked like I was having a heavy period.

Basically, there’s a certain protein that exists inside the fetus, and a tiny bit is supposed to get into the mother’s blood, but very little. I had four times the median of what’s normal.

So they immediately thought about muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, things like that. They rushed me in, did a full scan, measured everything. And they couldn’t find anything. He looked fine. My doctor said all we could do is keep checking.

This baby was unviable, basically. That’s what they say. They say that the baby is “incompatible with life.”

So, she and her husband went through a very bad year. Of course, this being the US, things still weren’t easy:

There are a few doctors in the country—four of them, you interviewed one of them—who will do this. But my doctor had previously referred patients to Dr. Hern, who’s in Boulder. He’s this 78-year-old man who’s been doing this for decades, who developed a lot of the abortion procedures that we know to be the most safe. He’s had 37,000 patients and he’s never lost anyone. And he’s a zealot, but he has to be. There are websites dedicated to offering money to kill him; his practice has four layers of bulletproof glass. They’ve been shot at. He was there during the Roe v. Wade decision. He’s been through it all. And the only other peer he had at his level was Dr. Tiller, who was killed in 2009.

It ended up that she had to fly to Colorado and then fly back because she had brain surgery two years before and could not go through a regular childbirth (since the fetus was so far along, she had to still go through with the ‘birth’). So the politics took a bad situation and made it worse.  And if conservatives had their way it would be even worse. Oh and that whole abortionists do it for the money?

Inside, it feels very much like the ‘70s. There’s wood paneling, wicker furniture, a super-old sonogram machine. They don’t have a lot. The clinic is clean, but it’s old. They try to stretch the money as much as they can. I made friends with a nurse who was from Brooklyn, and she told me that the reason that the procedure is so expensive is because, first, their insurance is so crazy high, and second, the whole staff—the nurses, the front desk—is paid really well because they’re risking their lives to be there.

Let’s propose something obviously unconstitutional

You go Oklahoma:

The Oklahoma Legislature on Thursday passed a bill that would effectively ban abortions by subjecting doctors who perform them to felony charges and revoking their medical licenses — the first legislation of its kind.

The bill would strip doctors who perform abortions of their medical licenses unless the procedure was necessary to save a woman’s life. The felony provision does not include that exception.

Given that the Supreme Court has ruled that abortion is a Constitutional right, this law is going nowhere. I do love the fact that a doctor can go to jail for performing an abortion even to save the woman’s life, religious conservatives are so compassionate.

One thing you might want to know:

Thursday’s vote in the Senate comes as the Oklahoma Legislature nears a May 27 deadline for adjournment and is still grappling with a $1.3 billion budget hole that could lead to deep cuts to public schools, health care and the state’s overcrowded prison system.

So they pass this bill which will probably cost the state millions:

In an open letter on Thursday, the Center for Reproductive Rights, a legal group based in New York, urged Ms. Fallin to veto what it said was a “blatantly unconstitutional measure.”

Noting that it has sued Oklahoma eight times in the last six years, blocking lesser restrictions like the state’s effort to ban the second-trimester surgical method, the center said that “this bill will almost certainly lead to expensive court challenges that the State of Oklahoma simply cannot defend in light of longstanding Supreme Court precedent.”

Of course, Oklahoma doesn’t really care about schools–at least not as much as oil profits:

After intense lobbying, Oklahoma’s oilmen scored a victory two years ago. State lawmakers voted to keep in place some of the lowest taxes on oil and gas production in the United States – a break worth $470 million in fiscal year 2015 alone.

The state’s schools haven’t been so fortunate. In Newcastle, 23 miles from the capital of Oklahoma City, John Cerny recently learned that the school attended by his five-year-old granddaughter, Adelynn, will open just four days a week next year. The Bridge Creek school district will slash spending because of a projected $1.3 billion state budget shortfall next year.

Shale regions are hurting across the country. Since 2014, the U.S. energy industry has shed more than 100,000 jobs. But during the drilling spree of 2008 to 2014, oil-rich states like North Dakota and Texas saw a sharp rise in oil-and-gas tax revenue and salted away a chunk of it for education. Over the same period, Oklahoma’s oil and gas production tax revenue slid 32 percent, in spite of soaring oil prices and a doubling of oil output.

Oklahoma’s education spending per pupil fell by 24 percent between 2008 and 2016, the biggest drop in the country, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington D.C. group that tracks budget and tax issues on behalf of low-income people.

There’s this saying that conservatives only care about a fetus until it’s born. I always thought this was hyperbole, but it seems it’s true for Oklahoma conservatives.

How about legislators that pass unconstitutional bills

Hey, let’s look Oklahoma’s way:

Under a bill passed by the legislature this week, doctors who perform abortions — defined in the measure as “unprofessional conduct” — would be barred from obtaining or renewing their medical licenses. The bill, now on the governor’s desk, would not apply to abortions performed to save a mother’s life, although the bill lacks similar exceptions for abortions performed in cases of rape or incest.

So, the bill would disbar doctor’s for performing a legal operation with the patient’s consent. That doesn’t sound constitutional

He took issue with the suggestion that the effort should have been tabled because it could result in a prolonged legal battle.

“Do we make laws because they’re moral and right, or do we make them based on what an unelected judicial occupant might question or want to overturn? The last time I looked, that’s why I thought we had a separation of power,” he said.

If you pass a bill that is clearly unconstitutional then you’re a bad lawmaker and really shouldn’t be allowed to continue.

Threats for terrorism way up

The number of threats of terrorism for one thing was up a lot in 2015 but you probably won’t hear much about it, because it’s about abortion:

According to the federation, death threats targeting abortion providers increased from one in 2014 to 94 in 2015, while incidents of vandalism at clinics rose from 12 to 67.

The most violent occurred in November, when a gunman opened fire at a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing three people and wounding nine. The man accused in the attack, Robert Dear, has described himself as a ‘‘warrior for the babies.’’

The abortion federation — alarmed by the heightened hostility — has for the first time hired an outside security firm to track online threats. Saporta said the firm began its work in mid-November and in a six-week span identified more than 25,000 incidents of hate speech and threats.

The report is here and includes:

Additionally, the number of hoax devices or suspicious packages found in or around abortion facilities increased four-fold in 2015.

These levels are far below the 1990s when Operation Rescue was in full swing but it’s still troubling.

If you don’t think this is terrorism, go back to the report to find that since 1977 there have been: 11 murders, 26 attempted murders, 42 bombings, and 185 cases of arson. All to try to get a political goal, outlawing abortion.

Oh, the amount of threats is up mainly because of videos targeting Planned Parenthood. The man who made those videos is now being investigate in a second state because of suspected criminal activity. So far, none of the investigations have found any crime committed by Planned Parenthood.

Donald Trump: lazy, stupid, or both

Donald Trump is a big fat liar. He lies when it’s obvious he’s lying, he lies when it hurts him, and sometimes both:

A few things are obvious here. First, Fields didn’t hallucinate anything, as both Lewandowski and Trump have implied. Second, Lewandowski did indeed grab Fields by the arm, just as she says. Third, Trump was already walking away from her at the time. Fourth, it doesn’t really look very serious. Fields is obviously a little nonplussed, but otherwise fairly unscathed.
The whole thing is crazy. It’s a minor incident, and all Lewandowski had to do was give Fields a quick call to apologize for grabbing her in his haste to catch up with his boss. Incident over.

He’s obviously a pathological liar, that’s the only explanation that makes sense. Why else would he make his lies so obvious, why else would he lie when doing so actually hurts him?

Donald Trump is also either an idiot, doesn’t care about actually doing the job he’s running for, or both. Here’s the latest proof (yeah, I’m relying on Kevin Drum):

At the CNN town hall last night, an audience member asked Trump, “In your opinion, what are the top three functions of the United States government?”

In his panic to pick two subjects—any two subjects—Trump managed to light on precisely the two that every conservative in the country thinks the federal government shouldn’t have a role in. So then Trump fumbles around and starts talking about “the concept of the country” that we have to have education. Brilliant! And Common Core has to be “brought to the state level,” because apparently Trump has no idea that Common Core has been a state program from the very start.

Then we get to health care. “We need health care for our people,” but it should be privately supplied even if the government leads it. This, of course, is precisely what Obamacare is: a program that coordinates and regulates health care provided by private suppliers. But apparently Trump doesn’t know that either.

And sometimes things just all go together:

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Wednesday that women who get an abortion should receive “some form of punishment” if it is ever outlawed, drawing swift condemnation from activists on both sides of the divisive social issue.

Within hours, Trump’s campaign sought to take back his comments in two separate statements, ultimately saying the billionaire businessman believes abortion providers — and not their patients — should be the ones punished.

If he had taken any time to prepare he would have known the stated position of anti-abortionists:

We have never advocated, in any context, for the punishment of women who undergo abortion,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the national anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement.

“As a convert to the pro-life movement, Mr. Trump sees the reality of the horror of abortion — the destruction of an innocent human life,” Dannenfelser said. “But let us be clear: punishment is solely for the abortionist who profits off of the destruction of one life and the grave wounding of another.”

The March for Life, which organizes anti-abortion events each January in Washington, said on Twitter: “No pro-lifer would ever want to punish a woman who has chosen abortion. This is against the very nature of what we are about.”

Since he didn’t prepare he gave the logical answer for someone who opposes abortion, the woman needs to be punished–but anti-abortionists know this is unpopular so would never say it. They might imply it, and might actually support it in countries where abortion is illegal even if the woman will otherwise die or even if the ‘woman’ is a 9-year old child (the Catholic Church wanted her mother charged with murder) who was continuously raped by her step-father.

Women are punished for having an abortion in countries such as Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Ecuador (I’m sure there are many other countries but there doesn’t seem to be an obvious list that I can find). And it makes sense, if abortion is murder does it really make sense not to punish the woman? Of course not, but that’s an unpopular position so you get silly statements like: “No pro-lifer would ever want to punish a woman who has chosen abortion”. Poor Trump, being castigated for giving the answer most anti-abortionists would like to but can’t.

Planned Parenthood

Republicans say we need to bring Planned Parenthood to court to prosecute them for what they’ve done. Oh wait, it’s already happening? Well, now we’ll see all the terrible things they’ve done:

Officials in 11 states have cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing after investigating claims that they profited from fetal tissue donation, officials said, including Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Washington.

Officials in eight other states declined to investigate citing a lack of any evidence, including California, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Virginia.

Oh. Well, now there’s a grand jury investigation in Texas and they’ll surely find something:

A grand jury investigating allegations of misconduct against Planned Parenthood after the release of covertly shot videos about the use of fetal tissue from abortions has instead indicted two anti-abortion activists who made the videos, authorities said Monday.

David Daleiden, 26, director of the Irvine-based non-profit Center for Medical Progress, was indicted by the grand jury on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record and a misdemeanor count related to purchasing human organs, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said in a statement.

An employee at the center, Sandra Merritt, was also indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record.

Oops. I wonder if this will change the minds of the Republicans:

“Nothing about today’s announcement in Harris County impacts the state’s ongoing investigation,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement late Monday.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton agreed.

Silly me, of course not.

 

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: