The Flood of Court Cases That Threaten Abortion

Republican presidents sought judges who could be counted on to oppose abortion. The voices of those judges come through clearly in cases now making their way to the Supreme Court.

Comments: 327

  1. Our system of government is broken. No president or party should be able to stack and bias the court system. If we do not create strong counter laws regarding all attempts to destroy the foundation of our legal and governmental system, we are headed for more trouble than we can handle. Trump always was a criminal and he uses fear to control his arena. But I am surprised at the number of sellout judges and lawyers. Once the courts are stacked current laws on abortion will go down. Republicans are going to win because we let the likes of a Trump into the Oval office.

  2. Abortion is homicide. Something dies, and that thing is human. All the debate about the "right to life" and the "right to choice" are irrational political camouflage. Right to lifers legally take human lives in other issues, and right to choicers eagerly take away choice when they find it unacceptable. The only real question should be, is it justifiable homicide? If we argued that as the issue, we might be able to make a rational law over this issue.

  3. This framing begs the question of when protection of life under the law, or life itself, begins. The answer is a matter of opinion. The real question is whether the government should enforce the consequence of one opinion. There are strong convictions on both sides of this issue, and it is appropriate to debate whether abortion is morally right or wrong, but it goes against the principles of freedom and liberty to enact laws to enforce one view on every individual. We should defend an individual’s choice, lest one day our choices on other matters may be reduced by the convictions of others.

  4. @Diogenes -- "Something dies" Does it? When is it "life?" When does an egg and sperm become "a baby?" The Court answered that, and you don't like the answer. Just asserting that does not make it right, does not frame the question to be answered in your way.

  5. @Diogenes Read my earlier submission, above, for a more expanded view.

  6. "expressions of outright contempt for the Supreme Court. In this age of norm-collapse, something has been unleashed here" That is better seen as contempt for what the Court was. These opinions are seeking to grab attention of the current Court for reconsideration. They are not insulting the current justices, they are appealing to them.

  7. In all honesty, this is what Republican women have been voting for for decades so maybe they (and their daughters) deserve to get their ban on all abortions and get it good and hard. After a while, this may help remind them why the rest of us stand for choice and bodily autonomy. One problem is that this isn't coming along with a ban on "interstate travel for the purposes of obtaining a termination". That addition would be very helpful in ensuring that even well-off Republican women (and their daughters) understand the consequences of their votes.

  8. @Atlant Schmidt Oh, yes! But, if we can't make a blanket restriction for all states, maybe we can do it on a state-by-state basis by imposing residency requirements. I remember when Mitt Romney pulled out every century-old law on marriage looking for a loophole so he could prevent out of state gay couples from coming to Massachusetts to be legally married. He didn't want us to become "the Las Vegas of same sex marriage." Even our Catholic state Attorney General at the time, who himself was not that keen on same sex marriage, was appalled at how far Mitt would go to put his religion above the will of the residents of Massachusetts. He didn't succeed, but that doesn't mean it can't work. I would vote for a bill that put state residency requirements on abortions should Roe v. Wade be overturned. Every state in this country that believes women have the right to choose should do the same thing. I'd feel sorry for the pro-choice residents of states where abortion is prohibited, but you can't have your cake and eat it too.

  9. @CF Don't punish young girls -- define an age limit from say 25 years and older.

  10. @Atlant Schmidt Well off republican women will always be able to get (and will get ) abortions the way they always have, despite their 'beliefs,' and how restrictive the laws are. They need to be reminded that guns also kill children, sometimes even their own. If you're 'Pro-Life,' start working on restricting guns.

  11. Many of the policies embraced by the ultra right are not majority popular ones. The Republicans have the nasty habit of doing whatever they want and finding approval from the judges they appoint. They will take away peoples rights (think voting, abortion ) and are more than willing to treat groups within America as second class citizens (think minorities, Muslims, the LGBTQ community). And they are more than willing to accept guns into our culture like it was 1775. But the vast majority of Americans don't agree with their views. They want gun control, they believe in the rights of the LGBTQ community, they believe every American has a right to vote, and so on. They don't believe corporations should be treated as individual people. Eventually what goes around will come around. And the ultra conservatives will lose power. The judges will be replaced because eventually they all leave the court. Conservatives can only rule by limiting democracy so they can maintain power. The problem for the conservative movement is they don't recognize that imposing their will on the majority and bowing down to a despot for president will not lead to America being great again. It will lead to a dictatorship. Something the majority of Americans ( and I think some conservative judges as well) recognize is going a bit too far.

  12. @Walking Man Maga is a rally cry only, they don't believe it or even care. It's about a small elite with a lot of money and power, regardless of the state of the country. For a comparison, think about the wealth and ease of the Russian Tsars while their people suffered.

  13. @Walking Man True. But remember, the anti-democratic forces are pushing through federal judges in their thirties and forties. These judges serve for life. These partisan judges, many of whom lack sufficient qualifications, experience for temperament for the job, will influence policy in these United States for the next forty years. We are about to see what happens when, We the People, are denied judicial redress. Abortion and reproductive rights are just two of the many issues that they will adjudicate. What happens to us when they tackle labor rights, access to healthcare, voting rights, etc.

  14. @Walking Man i seriously question your assertion of " the vast majority of Americans..." support anything, much less gun control or homosexual special rights...your ideas come from selected polling where the poller will have a demographic that agrees with that person's beliefs, ie "torture the data long enough, it'll admit to anything"...the same goes for conservatives who espouse their opinions with polls...

  15. The real question here is the application of Federalism. Some states; New York, California, Massachusetts, Washington, Virginia, Oregon and Colorado will have laws that allow for unrestricted abortion rights. Other states like Texas and Louisiana will restrict or prohibit abortions. This is no different than states that have liquor monopolies (Virginia and Pennsylvania) and states that allow liquor to be sold by anyone with a license (California and Kentucky). The right of the states to regulate abortions, will return to the states. There will be no nation-wide right, because abortion is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution. This application of Federalism will not end or prohibit abortion, but only allow abortion in states where the practice has significant public support.

  16. @John Quinn -- "This is no different than states that have liquor monopolies" Yes, it is different. That is liquor sales. This is fundamental rights, to control one's body and make reproductive choices.

  17. @John Quinn There is no right to be born. Birth is a gift. The 10th amendment to the Constitution reserves powers not given to the federal government to the states and to the people. A woman ought to have power over her own body. The moment the state passes a law to force a woman to carry a baby to term against her will, that is involuntary servitude which is prohibited by the 13th amendment. No individual has a right to another person's body, or to another person's pain. Neither does the state.

  18. A right does not have to be explicit to be in the Constitution. Amendments 3&4 refer to privacy and 9&10 expressly says that. The right to regulate which is present in every state including NY does not include the right to prohibit it. It is not unrestricted in ANY state. It is not in the constitution to deny health benefits to the children of employees as an expression of freedom of speech as the rediculously hypocritical decision made in the case of a bigoted Hobby Lobby. Roe v Wade was 7-2 with many Republicans in favor. It was expressly limited the interests of the State. No, legislating from the bench is the cry of Republicans but is exercised mostly by Republicans and refusing to fill judicial seats is an abuse of power by Republicans. A failure to uphold their oath of office overstepping their power by failure to do their job.

  19. "ultrasound can detect a heartbeat — at as early as six weeks, when the embryo, not yet even considered a fetus, is one-quarter inch long" I did not know that. We've had three kids, followed them on ultrasound, and still I did not know that. Linda's work here is important because she brings us hard fact and a sound explanation of hard law. The public space needs this, desperately needs this. We can only explore reasoning, only offer "yes, but" to ways of looking at it, after we know what she offers here with things like this fact. I wish there were more like her, many more like her, instead of the screaming we read instead.

  20. Whatever my particular beliefs about abortion ideology, the author seems furious that the court is ideologically aligned center-right. The author seems livid that conservative presidents have appointed conservative justices just as liberal presidents have appointed liberal justices. But for the past fifty years, the court has been ideologically aligned center-left. There have been basically no legislative instruments supportive of abortion in that time - it's been the result of an activist court. Even when poll data showed that about 60% of the US population supported abortion at some level, there was never an effort to enact laws to enshrine that belief, rather there were more judicial pronouncements and executive orders. Now that the pro-life position is in the majority, the states and fed are proposing laws to enshrine that majority opinion. It would seem that's what's supposed to happen.

  21. @Ryan: I gather from your comment that you view the courts as just another venue for partisan politics. There are "liberal" judges and "conservative" judges who decide cases in accordance with their political ideologies and not on the merits or out of respect for legal precedent and the Constitution. I grant that judges can act this way. Moreover, I would agree that of late Republican judges too often do. But I dispute the contention that all judges do. Respect for precedent and for the Constitution have long been norms central to the legal profession and vital to maintaining the rule of law in our country. If these norms become widely disregarded, a lot more than abortion rights will be at stake.

  22. @Ryan ''Now that the pro-life position is in the majority'' An overwhelming majority of the population prefers to keep abortion safe and legal. According to the latest Marist poll 55 to 38 with 7 percent undecided.

  23. For decades, Democrats have politely accepted the Republican fiction that judicial nominees have not been asked about their stance on abortion. They know perfectly well that, if the claim is true, it is true only in the most sophistic way. All of the Republican nominees have shown themselves in one way or another, to be opposed to abortion both morally and legally. When Democrats have been the nominators, Republicans have allowed so many judgeships to remain open, rather than allow someone who would probably accept abortion into the judiciary. We simply have a Republican orchard that's been planted over decades finally starting to bear fruit. In ten years, abortion will be unobtainable in the south and central states. Probably NY times subscription maps will be a good predictor of where you can still get one.

  24. From your lips to God's ears. I sure hope you are right.

  25. @DKB As an aussie I find it completely mad that your judiciary is the place where it is decided that a women may or may not have an abortion. Even more so since most judges are male(?). I hope the readers also read the gerrymandered article, and get out and vote, and encourage and help others to do so as well.

  26. @DKB Whatever a judge's personal opinion, it is a woman's right to self determination: her choice is here, not some stranger's or the state. How many of judges who oppose women's rights simply want to dominate something, someone, a girl or a woman? What are their true motivations? Why do they perpetrate a Republican War on women?

  27. These judges are the anti abortion equivalent of Antifa. Their legal contortions and rationalizations clearly reflect a desire to make law, not interpret it. In other words they are “activist” judges. For critics of Roe, it does reinforce that the better alternative would have been to have legalized abortion passed legislatively instead of through the courts. It just gives a back door channel to contest it.

  28. @Jonathan Sanders -- "the better alternative would have been to have legalized abortion passed legislatively" If it could be done, the legislative branch is always the better place to do it. The courts can define our rights only in terms of the absolute minimums below which we cannot be driven. Rights are not best conceived of as nobody should be allowed more. They are meant to be minimums, not maximums. The Founders did not intend that the government would take away everything it could possibly take away.

  29. @Jonathan Sanders That's the problem with Roe. It permanently silenced the people. When the people are silenced, dangerous tensions can build up. Better to give the people a voice. That's what democracy is all about.

  30. @Mark Thomason Seriously! This was a court ruling that that upheld a women's right to equal protection under the Constitution. There is nothing that forces the religious right or anyone to get abortions. What we are looking on here is the imposition of religions with neanderthal beliefs that we will all have to abide by when they finish their crusade on women.

  31. Texas will suffer if Roe is found to be unconstitutional even in increments. There is no way our state will legislate abortion at any stage. However, I suspect that these courts will be strategic and slow at chipping away at the right. Eventually, these red states will no longer have clinics offering abortions. The women with means will be able to travel across state lines to a progressive state for the procedure, but the poor women who cannot care for a third or fourth child, will be helpless to do the same. Thanks to Linda Greenhouse for her forthright depiction of what lies ahead. Trump and McConnell have done their damage but we must be vigilant and vote.

  32. If a state abolishes the right of a woman to end a pregnancy, even by roundabout ways (such as tha 18 hour ultrasound requirement mentioned In the article), the state should be responsible for the medical costs of having that pregnancy continue. And should the woman who has been forced to continue the pregnancy not desire to keep the child, the state should be responsible for the costs of raising that child, providing them with good preschooling, diapers, food, etc. This should be especially true if the woman was taking precautions to prevent a pregnancy and those precautions failed. The states might claim that this puts an undue burden on the taxpayers. However, the state’ has to act to enforce their restrictions, which also creates an undue burden on the tax payers who support the woman’s right to end her pregnancy.

  33. I'm a physician and there is one thing about the requirement for doctors who perform abortions that they have to have admitting privileges at a hospital that perplexes me. As someone who has had to deal with the misdiagnoses and overdiagnoses of my patients who have gone to a walk in clinic at the local grocery store or drug store, why don't those doctors or nurse practitioners have to be required to have admitting privilege at a local hospital? If they refer someone for chest pain or stroke, why don't they have to manage the patient in the hospital instead of whoever is on call?

  34. @Ernest Ciambarella What if the local hospital is a religiously affiliated hospital? The ability of a physician to obtain privileges may not be simply a question of competency, licensing, etc, but may simply be a reflection of the personal opinions of the hospital board regarding abortion. When privileges are withheld on the whims of others, what is the abortion provider to do?

  35. @Ernest Ciambarella Interesting question, and one for a whole article, one I think many would like to read. I think we know why it has been made a rerequirement for abortion providers though.

  36. @Ernest Ciambarella Um, because a GP who doesn't treat stroke patients has no business managing a stroke patient? Neurologists should be treating stroke patients. Cardiologists should be treating individuals who cardiac concerns. Surgeons should perform surgery. We have specialists for a reason, how on earth is this confusing for you? I honestly can't tell if you're kidding. Doubt you're a physician if you can't figure this out. (Also nurses don't have admitting privileges.. surely you know this.) Likewise, a doctor who performs an abortion is not a surgeon. If surgery is required after an abortion, a surgeon should be involved.

  37. It’s not that I’m for abortion, I’m against religion’s interference in the lives of Americans.I am a strong advocate of the separation of Church & State.I am for keeping religion in the Churches, and not in our bedrooms.What is most agitating about the effort to absolve religion, it is being supported by men dominated religions.This is where women’s choice comes in, Until men go through the pain of bearing children, they have no right to restrict anything pertaining to women,

  38. @Independent1776 This is especially clear when we consider that the answer to being against abortion is not to have one. The deep-seated drive of anti-abortion fanatics to force this opinion on others has always mystified me, which is why I don't recognize the category, "abortion debate". There is no debate, just an army of obsessives with unmitigated boundary issues.

  39. @tony zito well put!

  40. As a public interest attorney representing abused and neglected children, I have no difficulty in understanding Judge Sutton. I have watched as our elected circuit court judges trim their rulings to more clearly align themselves with the state Court of Appeals tendencies. When the higher court leaned more towards the rights of children to be free of abuse - they ruled that way more often. When that shifted away from children and towards the parents' rights to raise them however they saw fit (at bottom, property rights in their kids), they started to lean that way. Judge Sutton sees the way the Circuits and SC is headed - he changes accordingly

  41. I wonder how many of these young women, who describe themselves as “pro life” would actually choose not to have an abortion is she knew that financially she couldn’t support a child, or if she were raped or if she would be giving birth with severe mental or physical disabilities. Would she also choose to continue with the pregnancy if Trump has his way, and The Affordable Care act is abolished and she is on her own for both the cost of pre natal care and the birth and life long medical care for the uninsurable born with a preexisting condition. Nor would there be help for childcare and housing. Do any of these women ever even occasionally consider what would happen if they got their wish and abortion were totally banned in this country and the consequences to not just strangers but to their friends, sisters and themselves? Are they that uncaring or unaware. I suspect that many now would do like what has been documented by abortion providers, who say that they’ve provided abortion support to women or the daughters of women who are outside the clinic the day before the abortion protesting and return to protesting the day after, claiming that they are different than the other women who are there for abortions, not ever acknowledging their hypocrisy. Some of these same “pro lifers” also say they strongly support the 2nd amendment, apparently not worried about the repurcussions of unfettered gun access in this country. What a perverse meaning of being pro life they have.

  42. @Miriam As someone else in this newspaper said, a better term is "pro forced birth," not pro life. I wish I could remember who to credit with this improved term. "Pro life" is a silly term, I mean, who is "anti life?" Pro forced birth tells it like it is. Women as state property, as chattel, children as collateral. And since so many of the "pro forced birth" contingent are also pro death penalty and are so supportive of the gun lobby, I find that term "pro life" to be an oxymoron.

  43. @Adelaide Paul I wish I could hit recommend 100 times on this one. They are: Pro guilt, Pro gun violence, Pro female suffering, and the kicker is as you say, Pro forced birth

  44. @Miriam: nothing about the ACA would affect the genuinely poor on Medicaid welfare. Can't support a child? Then don't have unprotected sexual intercourse, because THAT IS HOW BABIES ARE MADE! Or you can give that child up for adoption to one of the many thousands of infertile couples desperate to adopt. Only 1% of ALL abortion are done for rape, incest, health of the mother or fetal abnormalities -- ALL TOGETHER -- and those are normally exceptions to any anti-abortion laws. 99% of abortions are done on healthy normal women with healthy normal pregnancies. This is a fact, even Planned Parenthood acknowledges this. The solution? Make the man who GOT THAT WOMAN PREGNANT financially responsible to HER ... to the pregnancy .... to the child, for 18 years.

  45. Ms. Greenhouse's analysis is right on the money. That said, it neglects to address the fundamental issue that in democratic systems there are no absolutes, and that jurisprudence reflects contemporary politics and culture. To imply otherwise elevates Judges and Justices while at the same time denigrating the democratic process. Legal and Constitutional niceties aside, the next election will quantify Supreme Court jurisprudence for the next thirty years. ...which is something everyone, particularly Democrats, might think about as they go through the process of nominating their candidate.

  46. Unfortunately, the Constitution gives the minority of voters in the USA control of the Senate and, through the electoral college, the presidency. That recent GOP presidents have won with a minority of the popular vote is not a bug, it’s a feature. That Red State voters, a minority nationally, control the Senate is not a bug, it’s a feature. And because of these Constitutional features allow an increasingly extremist GOP to control our politics, the federal judiciary is being slanted to the right. Combine these Constitutional features with an unprincipled GOP’s eagerness to subvert Constitutional safeguards of state voting rights and federal advise and consent (yes, you Neil Gorsuch), and it’s easy to create a tyranny of the minority - the GOP dream. It takes wave elections, not just electoral majorities, for liberals to win nationally. Maybe we will have another one in 2020, depending on Donald Trump’s unerring ability to inflame the opposition. But as the article describes, much long term damage has already been done to the federal judiciary. Just as extremist GOP state legislatures have recently poisoned the well to deny legitimate power to lawfully elected incoming Democratic governors, the GOP has poisoned the well of the federal judiciary for a generation to come. And with two more years of Trump and McConnell, they’re not done yet.

  47. @Mike Iker To the extent that is true, it's interesting to note that liberals have won many elections. For decades Supreme Court rulings reflected their social and political views. If they don't want the present trend to continue they must expand their constituency. If, in face of the gravity of the situation, they can't bring themselves to do that, they will be faced with a conservative if not reactionary court for the next several decades.

  48. At least since the George H.W. Bush administration the litmus test for admission to the federal judiciary (except in the very bluest states) under Republican presidents has been opposition to abortion. And now the numbers are telling. What the Democrats need to do when the control both houses of Congress and the Presidency is to (a) expand the number of District Court and Court of Appeals judgeships significantly, (b) require a three-judge court in the districts if the constitutionality of a federal or state statute is at issue, and (c) expand the panel size in the Court of Appeals from three to five. (Expanding the Supreme Court would be a last resort, and used only if at the time the Democrats took control the conservatives had a six vote or greater majority, with most of these Justices under 60 years old.)

  49. We now have two more conservative justices on the Supreme Court since President Trump was elected. This is the reason many people wanted to see Donald Trump become president. He promised he would appoint judges and justices who were pro life and he has not disappointed. Hopefully justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh will vote with the other conservative justices and will support those in the pro life movement. We want to end abortion and with their assistance it looks more probable that this may occur. We will never cease the good fight to stop abortions from taking place in America.

  50. @KMW "We want to end abortion" The Republicans act as if there were no abortions before Roe v. Wade. There have been abortions throughout history and still will be abortions if it is overturned, but they will be illegal and so we will return to the era where women will die. See, for example, this: https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMp1809150 The way to drastically decrease the number of abortions is to help to prevent unwanted pregnancies and, most important, to make it possible for more women who might want to choose to continue an unplanned pregnancy, by supporting them with higher wages, better access to heath care and good childcare. And, of course, those who really care about young lives [as opposed to using abortion to manipulate voters (like the Republican Congressman from PA who was running anti-abortion ads while telling his mistress to get an abortion)] decrease the slaughter of born children with universal background checks for gun purchases.

  51. Abortions will never end in America. Safe abortions for poor women will end in some states. And combined with restrictions on contraception, family planning by poor women will end in some states. And combined with cuts to healthcare assistance, public education and other forms of public assistance, decent lives and opportunities for social advancement will end for poor women and their burgeoning families in some states. Face it, where they control the voting booths, the religious right is waging unrelenting war on the poor, using poor women as their weapons. You might think that poor children are collateral damage, but they are actually the intended victims. Christian values? In what alternate universe does God favor the wealthy over the poor and men over women? This is about Red State Christianist sharia, pure and simple. And some people decry the self-segregation of people with differing social and political perspectives - really?

  52. @KMW -- Laws will not end abortion. They will only curtail providing medical assistance for people who will seek to have abortions anyway. Your bad laws will needlessly put families in grave danger by denying the women they love with the healthcare they need when they are most vulnerable.

  53. I fully support a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions, just as men have the right to make their medical decisions without the state telling them what to do. How is the imposition of state control of a woman’s reproductive health based on the personal religious beliefs of lawmakers not a violation of the First Amendment? Prohibiting abortion for any reason is tantamount to state establishment of religion. The Constitution guarantees freedom from religion as well as freedom of religion.

  54. @BG This is the best and most succinct summary of what is happening. Separation of church and state must be upheld and women must have complete equality under our laws.

  55. @BG It is a violation of the 13th amendment to force a woman to carry out a pregnancy against her will.

  56. @BG: the Constitution says only two things on this issue. 1. There shall be no official state church in the USA (such as the British Church of England, which is headed by THE QUEEN). 2.There shall be no religious test for public office. And we don't have those things. It does not say you have "freedom from all religion". It says you have the right to worship as you choose. Women have the right to medical control over THEIR bodies, but a child is NOT YOUR OWN body but that of another individual, who has his or her OWN rights.

  57. The question really becomes a simple one. What are Progressives willing to concede? When 75% of the nation wants some restrictions on 2nd and 3rd trimester abortions to protect the sanctity of a viable human being (according to science, no less), it's perhaps time for those on the Left to look to Europe for a model. In Europe, women are much more empowered than women in the United States when it comes to Sexual Freedom and owning the responsibility for choices made during and after their sexual activity. In other words, whether a woman intended to get pregnant or not, she has 3 months to decide on an obtain an abortion. After that, the liberal governments of France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and most of the rest of the EU have a collective voice in the determination of that soon to be baby, requiring 2 independent doctors affirmation even when a mother's physical health is at risk by carrying to term. So again..what is the left willing to concede to make most of these court cases go away? Or how far into the abyss do Progressives want to go to insure that the baby in the womb is never considered anything more than a clump of cells?

  58. @Erica Smythe OK, if you're going to invoke the liberal European model with regard to abortion, how about invoking the liberal European model with regard to maternal care, child care and maternal leave? These things absolutely go hand-in-hand. Europeans don't mind the government "intruding" in their personal lives. They've got a socialist-capitalist model whereby they agree to give up many individual rights in return for advancing the common good. We don't have that. Here we shout to the skies our love of and belief in the rugged, frontier ideas of "each-man-out-for-himself" and "individual freedom." As a progressive, I hate all this "individual freedom" stuff. But I say if we're going live by "individual freedom," that freedom applies to women and men equally. Women have a right to be as autonomous as men. Trust women and stop treating them as murderous Medeas.

  59. @Erica Smythe Well. OK. But at the next meeting of the "Pro-Birth Society" ask for a show of hands on: Full, unrestricted access to birth control (regardless of means), sex education (not merely abstinence education) requirements nationally; beefed up lifetime social and health care for children born with birth defects and those born to parents without the means (financially or psychologically) to care for them. Be sure to step back as peoples' heads explode. This is the other part of most European systems you conveniently omit.

  60. @Erica Smythe Concede what? Everybody knows that the Religious Right wants to eliminate abortion, period. It wants to eliminate the ability of a woman to decide on abortion, period. Progressives (according to science, no less) recognize that a clump of cells is a fetus. The court cases do not address the sanctity or viability of life in the 2nd or 3rd trimester; they deal with any access that might enable a woman to get those independent doctors' affirmation for her own decision. Concede women the responsibility for choices made during and after their sexual activity.

  61. Ms. Greenhouse, A small request. Going forward, would you consider using the phrase "oppose abortion rights" instead of "oppose abortion"? I think it's fair to say that a large percentage of people who are pro-choice oppose abortion in the sense of it might not be something we would choose for ourselves. Rather, we believe that, whether we approve or not, it should be a woman's choice rather than a choice imposed on her by the government. This may seem like a nitpicking request, but as I'm sure you know, words matter and many people out there are not capable (or choose not to) fill in the missing blank (of "rights") themselves. Thank you for your consideration.

  62. @Rachel Gartner you are spot on -- which is why I hate the term abortion clinic -- for reproductive health clinic, abortion provider vs doctor. While we are at it, let's be really clear. We don't want to provide medical assistance for women seeking abortions. Because as history has shown, they will have them, and without medical intervention -- they will die.

  63. @Rachel Gartner Dear Ms. Gartner, would you approve of it or not if a mother, tired of raising it, suffocates her own young child? I thought not. A mother has no more right to abort her child before it was born than after. This is not a nitpicking issue. All humankind as a right to life, from conception on.

  64. @Lake Woebegoner, I disagree with your definition of humanity. I strongly believe that humanity is defined by sense of self, empathy and the connections to others, none of which an embryo possesses. Everyone is entitled to their opinion; I'm just astounded that you think that your opinion is more important than my right to determine what to do with my own body.

  65. Thank you again, Ms. Greenhouse. It seems that the life-time appontment of federal judges is the last thing on most people's minds when pondering a presidential vote. It probably should be near the top of the list, given the long-term ramifications. It might also be helpful to voters if candidates were pressed to name judges they would be likely to nominate. Wouldn't that politicize federal courts? We're already there.

  66. @Ralph Averill ~ "It seems that the life-time appointment of federal judges is the last thing on most people's minds when pondering a presidential vote. It probably should be near the top of the list, given the long-term ramifications." It is certainly near the top of my list. But I think many of those people who just could not vote for Hillary Clinton were oblivious to the potential ramifications of a slew of right wing judge appointments. Their Hillary hatred blinded them to what an ultra conservative Supreme Court will mean for this country.

  67. @Ralph Averill - Donald J. Trump promised in his campaign to nominate only those judges who had been vetted by the Federalist Society. So there was full disclosure!

  68. Trump’s full disclosure was one reason that he lost the popular vote.

  69. It is confounding that those who strenuously oppose public assistance for poor people, who believe that immigration (from non-European countries) should be limited - are the people who oppose abortion. Affluent women will get abortions. But poor women will not be able to. So Republican policy actually encourages more poor children.

  70. @LS 'So Republican policy actually encourages more poor children.' Which leads to more Democrats, not to mention more federal expenditure. These right wing folks may be good on tactics, but are abysmal on strategy.

  71. @LS Yes, indeed: cannon fodder. As well as a way to keep not just women, but poor Americans, men and women alike, in their place. "The rich get richer, and the poor get..." -- well, you know the rest.

  72. “Judge Sutton, named to the appeals court by President George W. Bush, is a thoughtful conservative whom I’ve long respected. I’ve struggled to understand what led him to his conclusion.“ He is a judge and he wants to ban abortions based on personal belief. Where’s the struggle?

  73. @Padfoot Dear Foot, Roe-Wade allowed abortions on a personal belief that a fetus wasn't human until the mother said so. We now know the fetus has been human from conception to birth ot the life led. Our DNA differs from our mother's. Each of us is human and our mother has no right to abort us.

  74. Um...Because he’s a judge and his personal beliefs should not play a part in this role?

  75. @Padfoot The "struggle" comes from the fact that his personal beliefs are of zero importance. His oath is to the Constitution and its interpretation by the courts above him, not the fascist fringe....

  76. The ongoing subjugation of women by any means possible continues unabated by the conservative male hierarchy. To not allow women to have reproductive rights, or full dominion over their own bodies is akin to not allowing them to vote. Considering that women make up more than half the population and the potential voting block, to suppress them is to continue to have a majority in the halls and on the benches of power to make up law, where they have no voice. It is the usual ploy that has worked for so long, but it is about to change. There is only one way to reverse this trend and that is to vote in Representatives, Senators and Governors that are going to uphold women's rights. Then, with a majority, judges that are going to apply the law fairly and as intended, and not be radical, extreme or conservative can be installed. It will take some time to reverse the damage done already, because not only have their been a multitude of radical and extreme right wing judges pushed through (and more to come in the next 2 years), but a Supreme Court seat was stolen as well by republicans. We must remain vigilant because human rights denied to just one, are human rights denied to all.

  77. @FunkyIrishman Dear Funky, you are right! For 46 years Roe-Wade has denied human rights to a human fetus 60,000,000 times. The human fetus has a right to be born. The mother has no right to take another human being's life, no matter how young.

  78. I think you have amply demonstrated the ability of the very conservative movements in this country to take a long view, getting judges appointed to the Federal Bench where they line up for Supreme Court appointments, and moving the country in the direction of a theocracy (my assumption of much of the underlying reasoning for the anti-abortion stance of many of these judges). The conservatives, as we know, have taken the same long view about education, and a recent decision to allow bible study in public schools shows how successful they are. Is it possible to roll back this trend?

  79. @Marc Bible study in public schools ? Is that part of a comparative religion class? I'm guessing not, but I don't want to give up all hope for America.

  80. @Marc Meanwhile, red states continue to lag way, way behind blue states in education. Bible class won't change that.

  81. My question on abortion is: "why is the government involved at all ?" We all know that laws that cover every possible case are impossible to write. Accordingly, mothers need to be permitted to do as they wish with their bodies. Some people refuse to allow their children to be vaccinated against diseases, such acts affect us all, such acts are crimes against society. A woman choosing to terminate a pregnancy has no affect on me, and therefore need not be covered by a law, it's her choice. To an individual woman deciding whether or not to terminate a pregnancy may be a difficult choice; let her make it, her decision doesn't affect society in any meaningful way. What we have here is, plain and simple, a show of power: certain elements of the religious establishment are using this issue as a means of demonstrating their power to exert their will on the rest of us. I grew up in a place in which the Catholic church was dominant and actually served as an un-elected arm of the government. The church powers were determined to tell people how to live, the local government abetting them in their anti-democratic acts. Since then, the church has lost most of its influence but, in abortion it has found an "issue" where it can still assert its power over a liberal society. (The word "issue" is in quotes, because what a woman chooses to do with her body should be of no concern to the government; abortion is a serious concern to a woman, but no issue of the government, thank you).

  82. @eclectico It seems very funny to me that before Roe vs Wade, churches defined life as the ability to breathe. Therefore the baby was only alive if it could breathe air. That is what the Bible describes. "Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. " And there are 15 more verses that speak about the breath of life. Suddenly, now it is the heartbeat? Religion is trying to regain control through the GOP.

  83. Thank you, Ms. Greenhouse, for keeping focused on this critically important issue. Please maintain this focus throughout the chaos that all these court cases are generating. Once again, I am reminded of Kamala Harris' question during the Kavanaugh hearing: “Can you think of any laws that give government the power to make decisions about the male body?” Equality and equity in legal decisions are the significant issues here. To allow judges to inject their personal beliefs into making such decisions is contrary to the Constitution's tenets on its face.

  84. Why is having admitting privileges impossible? Abortion is an invasive procedure. Requiring admitting privileges seems a perfectly reasonable medical precaution.

  85. @Mkm Because hospitals don't want the hassles that would ensue.

  86. @Mkm it's also unnecessary -- anyone who has outpatient procedures -- regardless of what they are -- can be admitted to an emergency room in case of an emergency.

  87. @Mkm Hospitals are consolidating rapidly all over the country, and many are catholic-owned. As such, they deny admitting privileges to any doctor who performs abortions. Outside of large metropolitan cities, there is only one hospital, and if that hospital refuses to grant admitting privileges to doctors who perform abortions (simply because they perform abortions) then it effectively prevents the doctor from performing abortions (an outpatient procedure with less risk than out-patient plastic surgery, which is routinely performed every day without the doctor having admitting privileges). This is the whole point - to prevent access to abortions through regulations on those who provide them.

  88. For half a century this one issue has diseased our political process because there is no possible compromise between sides. States rights used to be about sustaining slavery, then segregation. Now the issue is abortion. Clash of the same cultures- it is as if the Civil War has never ended.

  89. @alan haigh Of course there is possible compromise -- the nations of Europe use it all the time. It's called democracy. But in the US, abortion proponents ruined this possibility by removing abortion law from democratic control. Like the slaveowners, they claimed that passing laws on the subject would violate "constitutional rights" there were never in the Constitution to being with.

  90. We will see what the Suprem Court decides. That, even more than the abortion issue per se does, will show whether Judges, even appointed by the Executive, can maintain a reasonable level of independence, or whether we might as well abolish the courts, and leave justice to the President

  91. I thought liberal judges were the “activists”. It’s clear what the future portends for reproductive rights with the actual conservative activists masquerading as judges who now hold sway on our judiciary.

  92. @VAKnightStick Depemds on how you define "activist". The "liberal activists" removed an issue from democratic control; the "conservative activists" are trying to restore it.

  93. “Activist” is a word conservatives use to denigrate, much the way the sneeringly use “liberal”. Watch the news next time there’s a protest. Listen for concern about the possibility of violence on the part of activists. The professed conservative worry over activist judges legislating from the bench is 100% pretense. John Roberts said he’d only call balls and strikes, yet saw fit to tell congress it couldn’t modify Medicaid unilaterally. Never mind congress created Medicaid and could abolish it, somehow it was up to each state to accept its expansion. If that’s not legislating from the bench, what is?

  94. The truth is that even if all these cases result in overturning Roe v. Wade, they will not stop abortions. They will stop safe and legal abortions. But abortions will continue. History backs this up. Women will still claim control over their bodies when faced with these hard decisions. The difference is that more women will die. Which may, in the end, not be a distressing thought to these overbearing misogynists. These are dark times indeed.

  95. There shall be no state religion. Not. As long as people who believe abortion is a "sin" vote, you will have this issue and sooner or later, under Trump, Roe v Wade will be gone. As it is, we are close. A woman's body is hers but they don't think so. The mostly men who enact these laws and who are judges think they have the right to tell a woman what she can do with her body. Worse, the idea that a fetus is an "unborn baby" has permeated our language. When was the last time you heard someone say fetus when speaking of one? The Catholic Church teaches that the soul enters the body upon conception. Find that in the bible, folks. Find it in anything Jesus said. Find it anywhere in written theology prior to recent times. It's just another way to suppress women and keep them "in line." That women are taught to go along with this shows the power of brainwashing. Start young, keep going relentlessly and make your opposition evil. That word always works. It may indeed be sad for a woman to end a pregnancy for any reason and people have a right to object if they do. They do not and should not have the right to decide on any type of moral grounds (based on religious beliefs) that it is anything other than what it is. Remember, Trump said a woman should be punished for abortion. While he was living in NYC and not a candidate, he was pro-choice. Surprised? Of course not. No candidate, Dem or GOP, will stand up to the so-called Christian right and call them out. Too frightened. : (

  96. @Jeanie LoVetri If you were serious about that question you could get a serious answer from any pro-lifer with theological training or advanced Bible knowledge. I claim not expertise but if abortion is murder then it is unequivocally wrong, the question is are unborn children alive? Scripture would suggest yes. Passages along of the lines of you knew me in my mother's womb, or the penalty levied for striking a pregnant woman - money if the child is harmed, death if the child dies, make clear that the child is considered a person in their own right not simply a tissue growth inside a woman.

  97. @Jeanie LoVetri: The first amendment disallows all faith-based beliefs from the law.

  98. @Jeanie LoVetri The Supreme Court has never interpreted abortion as a religious issue. Roe vs Wade said nothing about religion being a factor. This is something abortion lobbyists made up in the 1970s when they realized that they were losing the abortion debate and needed to confuse the issue.

  99. With data and privacy now weaponized, including health information, women who have abortions are at risk of having their identities known. There simply is no more healthcare privacy when the conflicted and politicalized State/Judicial apparatus has a hand in your social, educational, and healthcare outcomes, believing they are "God". I now tell women to have their eggs removed, choose when and how they exploit their eggs, or use long term pregnancy preventative measures, but effectively take ownership of your body and options, like never before. Help young and poor women in your community do the same. Consider it an honor to help a woman determine her own autonomy. Mostly, stop having babies until all women have open access to abortion and the right to determine their social and economic autonomy, as Med Do. Help women seek private funding, privately administered abortion, when and where you can-- so women can preserve their identities and privacy. Abortion rights have been lost. By the time the NYT's writes about it, women will be incarcerated for having an abortion at six weeks and a day. It's not about a god or any religion. It's about fundamental preservation. America simply needs the vessel of your womb, more babies, more workers, productivity, more economic viability for the rich, powerful and connected who can afford private abortion, free of criminalization. America's economy is now 53% service dependent. Your abortion, is their future cop, maid or landscaper.

  100. It's about time cases were brought before the Supreme Court to end abortion. This is a very serious matter and this should have occurred sooner. We do not need to have any more babies lost to abortion and made to suffer. Thank God for the Supreme Court. And thanks should also be directed to those who have worked relentlessly to end abortion for many years. Their work has not been in vain.

  101. @KMW Except an early-term abortion doesn't involve making a baby "suffer." Instead it's a removal of tissue that will eventually become a baby. And I'd be interested to know why you believe that the government should force women to become parents.

  102. @KMW We should also end this right to say "no" if a patient needs to share, access, use, or take something from, the insides of YOUR body, in order to remain alive. Allowing you to say "no, sorry" when a patient needs, say, a transplant-organ or a blood transfusion from your body, causes thousands of deaths each year, deaths which could be prevented by forcing you to donate against your will. Don't patients who need to access the inside of your body-- precious, innocent, human patients-- have a right to life?

  103. No baby was ever lost to abortion. Not once, not ever. Once you free yourself of that imaginary moral conundrum, you can see clearly the woman before you who is a full-fledged person, with agency and the right to determine how she will live her life. Then, you might understand why it’s none of your business what she does.

  104. Judge Sutton's ruling seems absurd. Does a doctor have a 'right' to provide non-abortion services? Does a baker have a 'right' to sell a cake? Does anyone have a 'right' to do anything?

  105. Why is it "impossible" for doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to hospitals? What is wrong with our medical profession that it will not stand up for the health and safety of women? It is time to take the abortion issue out of the hands of religious leaders and start focusing on the health of the human being that walks, talks, breathes and has a heartbeat already.

  106. @Maureen Steffek It's not that hospitals don't like abortion or abortion providers -- although I'm sure some might be dissuaded by the fact that anti-choice protesters will harass the hospital if privileges are granted. It's that abortion providers don't need privileges. Admitting privileges allow a physician to admit patients to a hospital and treat them there-- to use the hospital's facilities, staff, and resources and to care for the patient within the hospital's system. Hospitals don't just grant privileges to every doctor who asks. The physicians are expected to admit a certain number of patients. (Abortion providers wouldn't meet this criteria.) To grant privileges, the hospital has to go through an extensive credentialing process, and the physician usually has other responsibilities to the hospital that come with privileges. To a certain extent, the physician becomes a part of the hospital system. This doesn't make any sense for an abortion provider. Anti's try to make it sound like a doctor who does not have privileges is bad or, worse, that is patients cannot be treated at a hospital-- that they cannot be admitted to the hospital. That is deliberately misleading. Obviously a patient can still be admitted to the hospital in an emergency if the doctor doesn't have privileges. They'll be treated by the doctors already at the hospital who do. Plus, these dumb laws have a geographic requirement--ie privileges at a hospital within 30 miles-- that's not realistic.

  107. Aren't JUDGES supposed to rule based on LAW, not on their personal positions?

  108. My hope is that one day soon women will realize they are the absolute majority in this country. Demographically, men are in the minority and always have been.

  109. @gratis And your point is ...? Millions of American women are pro-life. And millions of females have died in abortion clinics before taking their first breath. Are you suggesting that a woman's right to support life will see Roe v Wade abolished?

  110. @John Smythe Millions more do not vote because they feel powerless. Perhaps more than actually do vote. Women, as a group, absolutely do have power, should they choose to exercise it. Power derived from simply being in the majority. But your point of view takes the view that a fetus or an embryo is a baby and the woman is simply an incubator with no rights to her own life. I disagree.

  111. @gratis 'your point of view takes the view that a fetus or an embryo is a baby and the woman is simply an incubator with no rights to her own life. I disagree.' No his and my point of view is that women have all the rights you mentioned except the right to murder their own child. Quite rightly no man has that right either. YOU decided to interpret his POV as being that a 'woman is simply an incubator with no rights to her own life'. He never either said or implied this. But you did and that says everything about you, NOT him. Deal with the actual question at hand and stop projecting your mentality onto others. You are NOT a mind reader. Stick to the discussion!

  112. @LS, who writes, "It is confounding that those who strenuously oppose public assistance for poor people, who believe that immigration (from non-European countries) should be limited - are the people who oppose abortion. Affluent women will get abortions. But poor women will not be able to. So Republican policy actually encourages more poor children." That's a feature, not a bug: more white babies, fewer babies of color is and has always been the goal of the religious rights' attack on women's wombs.

  113. Please keep bringing these things to public attention, Ms. Greenhouse. I'm too old to be personally impacted, but as a woman, I have always believed in a woman's absolute right to make decisions about her own body and her own needs. All attempts that restrict a woman's right to choice scream of the rampant misogynist tone that undercuts absolutely everything. I'm grateful for the change in congress brought about in the 2018 mid-term elections. It's a step in the direction of fair and equal treatment of women in this nation. To quote a line from an old Joan Armatrading song, "...if women ruled the world, it would be a good thing...."

  114. And so a quarter-inch pre-fetus has rights superior to those of the adult human being that is its host. As reproductive rights are being strangled by an increasing mass of court-approved restrictions, we are witnessing, on the part of some, a step-by-step reduction of women’s status as full human beings to a single function: baby-maker. In the present age of rising white-supremacist sentiments, this will sound eerily familiar to those who know their mid-twentieth century history.

  115. @Fred Suffet "And so a quarter-inch pre-fetus has rights superior to those of the adult human being that is its host." I agree with your annoyance. But under current law, abortion on demand is the law for 24 weeks and a 24 week fetus is quite developed compared to your "one inch". Indeed those 24 weeks are 14 weeks past the date when abortion is permissible in France. If pro-choicers were to accept reasonable limits on abortion, the problem would be much ameliorated.

  116. @Ludwig There is no point at which a government (any government, be it France, the US, or otherwise) telling a person that they must allow another human being to live inside their body is "reasonable." If anything, that commandment gets to be a less reasonable demand the more advanced the fetus is. I'm a fully developed human being and so are you--do we have the right to live inside our mothers' bodies? "No, of course not!" you say? And no, of course not, is correct. That is never a right that anyone has. Look to Canada. They are, as far as I can tell, the only country that makes sense on this, i.e., the only country that says the government has no place restricting access to abortion; citizens' bodies are their own and not the state's; everyone mind their own damn business. But you're right that if current US abortion law allowed for abortions up to 24 weeks, AND nobody was trying to chip away at that, we'd be relatively OK. The problem is the anti-women crowd won't let the law stand. They are hell-bent on destroying it. Or haven't you noticed?

  117. @Ludwig When you need an abortion you need one. Why would anyone advocate for the state to involve itself in medical operations?

  118. Thank you, Ms. Greenhouse, for clarity and concision about an issue that, in my lifetime, will never find an amicable resolution. It’s bad enough for women whose special province this is to be made political pawns by men wearing judicial robes because they fear the loss of control, of power. The right-wing fanatics and evangelicals are clearly not at all concerned about the harrowing physical and emotional pain that women who agonize over this decision have to make. They apply standards to women that have nothing to do with morality but have everything to do with how they demand that society be ordered: narrowly and punitively. The John Roberts Court is likely to finally overturn Roe because the majority ideology is a bastion of rigid, male-domination and acidly unsympathetic. The Right’s suffusion of like-minded judges into the appellate system is bringing pressure to bear upon the Court because, at bottom, the defeat of Roe would be perceived as a victory in their campaign to roll back protections of any kind.

  119. And so, we continue to be ruled by an unelected judiciary. Under the 14th amendment, Congress has the power to act. Where is Congress? Hiding.

  120. @william hayes: The Congress is out grubbing for money to resolve nothing lest it cease to be a provocative issue to raise money. This system doesn't hold up to the scrutiny of a precocious ten year old.

  121. Once again, as if we actually needed a reminder, presidential elections have consequences, and one of the dire consequences is the presidential right to appoint judges to lifetime positions. It is fitting that this particular president -- with no interest in science or in the precedence of American history or in the rights of women or in the rights of the poor or in providing medical support and financial assistance to children or in keeping children together with their families -- would engineer an abandonment of Roe v. Wade. The explanation of this, of course, is that on top of everything else, Donald Trump consistently demonstrates that he feels no moral imperative about anyone or anything except himself. To Trump, winning on any issue is an end in itself and is what defines him.

  122. @sdw Different states have different cultures and different ideas on reproduction. Roe v Wade was a "one size fits all" "solution" to a difficult problem. It is better to let the states decide, within reason. As a start I would suggest that NO state should be allowed to forbid a first trimester abortion, and no state should be allowed to permit abortion of a healthy fetus past 18 weeks. Once we agree on THAT much, different states can then decide exactly what they are going to permit and when. We have more urgent issues like global warming, sharp differences in wealth, a health care crisis, etc. An issue that most countries have addressed quite acceptably, is taking away far too much of our energy. "France legalized abortion in Law 75-17 of 18 January 1975, which permitted a woman to receive an abortion on request until the tenth week of pregnancy. After a trial period, Law 75-17 was adopted permanently in December 1979.". Note that the ten weeks in France is far less than our "constitutional right" of 24 weeks.

  123. @Ludwig France like much of Western Europe assures its citizens receive science based sex education and have ready access to low cost and often free birth control. France's abortion laws are not controversial because unwanted pregnancies are far less common than in the US.

  124. @Ludwig It is highly doubtful that the current Supreme Court would accept the moderate range you propose as a Constitutional guideline under Roe v. Wade for legislative restrictions by states on abortions. The mood of the majority on the Roberts Court appears to reflect a thirst for total victory over pro-choice advocates. The other issues you mention – including the existential issue of climate change – do require our attention, but there is nothing to stop concerned Americans from addressing those subjects, while continuing to fight for abortion rights. I can guarantee that the recently appointed, hyper-conservative justices who differ from the majority of Americans on those other issues, will be unrelenting in their opposition to abortion.

  125. If the State requires abortion providers to have nearby hospital admitting privileges, then the State should have the responsibility for ensuring that those admitting provisions are made available to abortion providers. If not, the State is unduly burdening a woman's fundamental right to choose an abortion in consultation with a doctor.

  126. @Sequel Agree and I’ll add if the state is going to require women to give birth then the state should require mandatory vasectomies so women are not burdened with an u wanted pregnancy.

  127. The liberals were OK with being ruled by unelected judges as long as those judges were liberal. The so-called "constitutional right" to abortion is itself an invention of activist liberal judges. It never occurred to the liberals to ask themselves, "What if the judges stop being liberal?" The problem for liberals is that in the last analysis this country is a democracy. The battle is where it should be -- in Congress and the state legislatures. That is where the people have a voice. That is where the liberals must win their point, or lose it.

  128. @James Ribe And conservatives are all OK with being ruled by unelected judges as long as those judges are conservative. And the banning of abortions is an invention of conservative judges. So? The people have no voice in this or any other matter, when conservatives rule.

  129. @James Ribe Or liberals can look for a compromise. And accepting a compromise does imply that one recognizes that the other side also has a point. All the letters I see here, other than a few like yours, amount to dissing pro-lifers. It is not going to get anywhere. 46 years after Roe v Wade we are still fighting, and largely because the Supreme Court will not allow the people to decide.

  130. @James Ribe women have a right to body autonomy. There is nothing more fundamental. There shouldn’t be any discussion here about a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body.

  131. So much of this issue is contained in this one sentence. "He also described the constitutional right to abortion as something the Supreme Court had decided to 'bestow on women.'" Evidently, women are not supposed to have constitutional rights, just men. I continue to insist this idea is behind all the anti-abortion arguments: women are to be ruled by some man. Whether a woman is impregnated or remains pregnant is the man's choice, not hers.

  132. @Scott "Evidently, women are not supposed to have constitutional rights, just men." I don't see how Scott arrived at that conclusion. The judge said nothing about rights in general, he simply described a particular right that he doesn't think is grounded in the Constitution but was simply "bestowed" by the Court. He mentioned women because they were the only beneficiaries of the right.

  133. @Scott: The power to abort has existed for millennia, and exposure was practiced before that. Laws are enacted AFTER exercises of powers are judged to be a public problem.

  134. @Charlesbalpha: I assert that all others have the same autonomy over their own bodies as I claim over mine.

  135. Of all these outrageous laws, the most outrageous is the one from Indiana, outlawing abortion of defective fetuses. What? Even if whatever reason you are opposed to abortion, surely the case of Down’s syndrome or any of the multitude of genetic defects that can be diagnosed in utero is different. What is the point of creating a life full of pain and suffering, a life that can never reach its full potential and that will be a burden on its family and society forever? We are not talking about a curable condition but about a profound mental and physical disability that science, at present, cannot remedy. A fetus, whether defective or not, does not know it exists. Aborting it will prevent untold suffering of the resulting child and its family. So what is the point of this law apart from gratuitous cruelty?

  136. @Mor I agree with your criticism of the Indiana law. But the difficulty is that you pro-choicers have never offered a compromise position or even admitted that a late term healthy fetus, say a five month old healthy fetus has a right to life which over-rides a woman's wishes (unless she has a medical emergency). By analogy, those of us who have driver's licenses have a right to drive. But we do not have a right to drive above the speed limit. We do not bundle a right to speed under a "getting to one's destination" right. Until you pro-choicers recognize SOME rights for the unborn and offer arguments other than dissing pro-lifers, there will be no peace.

  137. @Mor What gives you the right to decide that a life with Down's Syndrome is a life not worth living? Many people with Down's live fulfilled, meaningful lives and contribute to their communities in valuable ways.

  138. I'm pro choice, but I agree with you. I also do not agree with abortion beyond the first trimester except for if the mother's life is endangered.

  139. The problem with the political question of government taking away freedom for women to make health care decisions arises because it is about a philosophical/religious question for which there is no consensus. The question is, when does a bundle of human cells which is "human life" become A human life? Simple illustration. My finger if "human life." It is animated and recognizable as "human." It is not A human life. If removed from my body it will not continue to live, it has no consciousness. The question of when an embryo or fetus switches from being like my finger, to becoming an independent human life. Consensus exists that external viability is a safe benchmark, and our laws and the Roe decision already reflect that. There is no general agreement, and no scientific method of answering that question, beyond that benchmark. It is based on our own personal belief systems. That is why government must leave it to us to make that determination. To do otherwise denies us all of our fundamental freedom of conscience.

  140. Chief Justice John Roberts' number one priority is the "legacy " of the Roberts court. He understands that any decision to overturn Roe v Wade would set off nation wide demonstrations by millions of women, could be potentially fatal to the credibility of the Supreme court, and indelibly stain his legacy. Roberts, as the swing will vote, will be against any facial challenge to Roe, utilizing stare decisis or settled law as his rationale.

  141. @Don Shipp. We can only hope.

  142. Can someone help me understand, and feel free to push back against my premise if you disagree, but the fight for reproductive autonomy seems to be by far, the least successful mission of progressivism. I know we have numerous talented and highly driven activists and organizations working overtime. The political party that makes no bones about the fact that they aren't in the business of helping marginalized peoples, has somehow convinced a sizable amount of voters that they care deeply for the plight of the unborn, and now they've nearly got the court system blockaded. Why is it that we can never seem to do much more than live to fight another day on this issue?

  143. @The Buddy - That's a very good question. I wish Democrats would talk more about all of the other issues linked to reproduction, health, safety etc. It would be really great if just one Democratic politician would point out that Democratic policies (contraception, health care, education etc.) actually decreases the number of abortions.

  144. @DR: More babies for adoption is their real objective and they don't much care about the background, prenatal care, or health of the babies.

  145. An important point to remember is that the Supreme Court will not (and cannot) outlaw abortion. All they can do is decide that there is not an explicit or implicit right to abortion in the Constitution. Then it is up to the democratic process to decide whether and under what circumstances abortion should be legal. With the Supreme Court no longer dominated by liberal voices with their own view of what the Constitution should say, Ms. Greenhouse and others may find a newfound respect for the democratic process. When you put all your eggs in the basket of 9 unelected judges you are at risk of losing those eggs when the justices aren't in your corner.

  146. @J. Waddell At the moment the democratic process you extol is desperately in need of those 9 elected justices to end gerrymandering which stifles the voice of reason in significant portions of this country.

  147. @J. Waddell: Congress is flat out prohibited from enacting laws that gift respectability to faith-based beliefs.

  148. @J. Waddell Correct, overturning Roe v Wade does not make abortion illegal, it returns that decision to the states. Congress could then try to create a national law, but that could be challenged as federal overreach. Congress could then add abortion as right explicitly to the Constitution, but I doubt they have the votes for that.

  149. I think a compromise on abortion is better than these eternal battles over an issue which is, ahem, less important than the future of our planet, or our health care problems. Linda appears to be on the extreme pro-choice side and as far as I know she has never endorsed ANY restrictions on abortion. She is the mirror image of Ted Cruz who finds NO abortions to be ever acceptable. But those of us who believe in our hearts on "need based abortion" rather than "abortion on demand" will agree with neither Linda nor Ted. But we have no voice.

  150. @Ludwig Roe v. Wade not only permitted abortions during the first trimester, it provided substantial basis for restrictions on abortion during the second and third trimesters. The issue is whether the Court will undermine Roe v. Wade by permitting burdensome restrictions during the first trimester.

  151. @Ludwig Speaking for myself, the decision to be uncompromisingly "pro-choice" is not based on a moral judgment about human life one way or the other. It's based on the realization that In real life, as opposed to the fantastical world of political manipulation, the abortion question is always a question about a specific abortion. A myriad of factors, the mother's physical or mental health or survival, economic factors, the health or viability of the embryo, moral judgments, family situations, the circumstances of the pregnancy, etc, all of them interacting and all of them requiring exercises of judgment specific to the situation, mean that the only people who can make the decision responsibly are those involved. In that sense, I would say that you have exactly the "voice" to which you are entitled--a voice in making a decision about a pregnancy that is yours, or in which you are intimately involved.

  152. @Ludwig The real compromise is for the US to join the rest of the civilized world and assure science based sex education for all and meaningful access to comprehensive affordable birth controls. Despite having far more liberal abortion laws Western Europe has significantly lower rates of abortion than the US. A happy side effect is lower rates of STIs.

  153. By now, everyone should understand that abortions only happen to the poor, the young, and minorities. Upper middle class daughters sometimes have a medical problem that is taken care of by the family doctor. The word abortion never passes any ones lips. Anti abortion laws are proposed by a loud minority. A dedicated, one issue block that frightens candidates and judges.

  154. We are constantly hearing about a woman's right to control her own body. That the life in the womb is just a clump of cells and feels no pain. What about the life inside the mother's womb? What rights do they have? It is debatable whether the fetus feels pain but what is certain is that it is immoral to take its life. Abortion is inhumane and the taking of innocent human life. This is something we should all be upset about. They are the most defenseless human beings and need to be protected and cherished.

  155. @KMW "They are the most defenseless human beings and need to be protected and cherished." Until when? Until birth? Then the GOP would like to take away the mother and baby's healthcare, WIC, and SNAP benefits as well as section 8 housing (if needed). If the child has serious and lifelong disabilities, who pays for up to 50-60 years of care?

  156. @KMW Do not impose your morality on my body.

  157. @KMW They may be potential human beings but they are not human beings. Abortion literally means "the interruption of a process". The process is the pregnancy - the development of a human. You know how a baby is called a bun in the oven? Well, it's not bread yet if it's still baking in the oven. If you take it out very early before it's ready, you didn't waste a nice loaf.

  158. Developing rights around abortion through the courts has led to this uncertain and horrible situation. The right to abortions is should have be decided directly by the people through a series of referendums. Both the right and the left have manipulated voters for nearly 50 years around this issue into perverted coalitions that only divide the nation. People who are fixated on stopping abortions no matter what have allied themselves with a number of right wing groups whose real interest is economic suppression of minorities, working and middle class people. The legislative process has broken down due to minority yet vocal opposition and either weak or exploitive politicians that cannot stand up to the issue. We should follow Ireland and Italy with a national referendums on the issue. A few years ago in South Dakota a strong anti-abortion legislation passed by legislature was repealed by the voters because South Dakota had Initiative and Referendum.

  159. @carl There is no national referendum process for amending the Constitution or creating a law. Even state referendums must abide by both their state Constitution and the federal Constitution. And if you want those state ones, you have to respect both sides. So, if Alabama passed a referendum banning abortion, you'd have to respect that. Which is basically what overturning Roe would do, it would return this issue to the states. It would not make abortion illegal.

  160. @Marvin Nothing bars a national plebiscite and maybe it is time to amend the constitution to allow the electorate to amend the constitution and approve laws. The current system is not working.

  161. It's kind of hard for me to envision where this is going to end up, because I know that anti-choice activists never give up. If states are able to eliminate abortion within their state borders, I suppose the activists will try to think of ways to eliminate pharmaceutical abortions, and to develop some type of national prohibition which will override the states that continue to allow abortion. The most conservative states will go to work on prohibiting contraception, perhaps starting with unmarried women.

  162. Just one more example of conservatives' drive to legislate from the bench.

  163. We are forever hearing about the rights of a woman to control her own body. What about the rights of the life she is carrying in her womb. Do they have any rights. They are more than just a clump of cells. They are fetuses and if given a chance will grow and develop into a baby. We must not destroy this very important life. They deserve to live.

  164. Nope, those cells have no rights. No, no one is obliged to devote any part of their body, ever, to sustain the life of another. A woman can’t be forced to breastfeed. You can’t be forced to donate anything, not a kidney, not a single pint of blood, to sustain another’s life. If a pint of blood would save your child’s life, you can walk away. Now that that’s clear, can we cease the moralistic handwringing over the loss of innocent life, and start respecting the agency and autonomy of the woman whose body you think the state should control?

  165. @KMW: A fetus knows nothing of what circumstances await them after birth.

  166. @KMW So sorry to be the bearer of bad news for you, but the last time I checked, "fetus" was not a word included anywhere in the U.S. Constitution.

  167. There is still a majority in this country in favor of a woman's right to choose what she does with her body. The #metoo movement has made it clear women can no longer be violated with impunity by men; that needs to include Republican judicial appointees...

  168. It is unbelievable that women vote for these guys. It's easy to love a child before it's born (and seriously, is a five or seven week old embryo any of their business?). There is something desperately wrong in this country when members of Congress are giving performances on the floor of the house with a picture of Ronald Reagan riding a dinosaur and carrying a machine gun. Really? They love babies before birth. Then you can go without health insurance, they will decimate your schools if you live in a red state, and they will protect the right of someone to come in and mow down your first grader in school. We are an absolute joke and I am sick of these crazy guys making laws for my daughters and granddaughters. Will sanity ever prevail?

  169. Judges are only the last stand. Wait until the Latino vote really kicks in demographically. Especially more recent immigrants. Solidly Catholic in belief and culture. Vastly anti-abortion. Unrestricted abortion rights have always been about educated white women who have benefitted the more from legalization. Coming demographics alone will challenge that.

  170. @CNNNNC: I'm educated and I don't want the future we will bequeath to our progeny.

  171. If Justice Kavanaugh votes to support even one of these restrictions on abortion I am sending a bunch of money to the fund created to defeat Senator Susan Collins.

  172. If you are truly against abortion, you should be for birth control. Have you noticed that the majority of "Pro-Lifers" are against birth control. And if you truly cared about "life" you would fully financially support every mother and child after the child is born - especially the struggling single mothers. The reason the so called "Pro Lifers" don't? The majority don't care about the fetus, they only want to control women and control women's sexuality. It would be refreshing if they simply told the truth.

  173. @Dem in CA - So many of the forced birthers consider that unwanted child as fitting punishment for the woman for having sex without the intent to procreate. Sadly, those "punishment children" don't fare well in this society.

  174. Women ought to wake up and stop voting for Republicans on any level of government. They are making laws that will take away a woman's power over her own body. I say and say again: There is no right to be born. Birth is a gift. No individual has a right to another person's body or to another person's pain. The state ought not have the power to force a woman to carry a baby to term against her will because such is involuntary servitude that is prohibited by the 13th amendment.

  175. @Valerie Elverton Dixon Roe clearly states that after viability the right of the states to allow that birth is indeed a right. That is why states can prohibit abortions legally after 24ish weeks.

  176. Funny how the GOP propaganda machine grows apoplectic when discussing “activist liberal judges legislating from the bench ...” yet when it serves their (declared) interests, nothing could be finer. The shameless, bold faced hypocrisy is stunning, but no longer surprising. Welcome to the new and thoroughly Great USA.

  177. @Lars You are correct, there are unfortunately activist judges on both sides. Even on SCOTUS you have what I would call 6 of them pretty consistently - four lefties, Thomas and Alito. Remember though, Roe itself was a huge activist decision, somehow divining the right to abortion from the right to privacy. That is one reason it could eventually be overturned, it is not really constitutionally supported except by a big stretch. The proper way to codify it would be just as we codified a woman's right to vote - via constitutional amendment.

  178. The same judges who are trying to outlaw abortions are upholding efforts to limit voting rights and are all for gerrymandering districts so minority votes don't count even when they vote. It amazes me that you can equate those who are Anti-Abortion Rights with those who are Anti-Born Children. Once they are out of the womb, poor and minority children cease to matter.

  179. @Arlene It's not only illegal to gerrymander by race because of the VRA states are pretty much required to gerrymander to ensure there are some minority districts. Also, both sides gerrymander and left and right leaning judges support them. See the two cases before SCOTUS right now, NC gerrymandered GOP, Maryland gerrymandered Dem.

  180. @Arlene Agreed, the true bottom line here is to actually punish women and their children. Some male children are important but only if, white and grown.

  181. @Marvin - In 2016, House Democrats got 3 million more votes than House Republicans, yet Republicans kept a 23 seat majority. That's proof the gerrymandering is pervasive and is primarily on the GOP side.

  182. I feel the same way about abortion rights as I do about climate change -- it's a done deal. With a majority of conservatives on the court, abortion will be illegal.

  183. Where are the laws requiring men to take responsibility for the pregnancies that result from their sexual activity? I'd like to see those arguments play out in full public view. Best I can tell the judges, most of them males, act as if women are the only people involved, or perhaps more accurately. women are the only people who will be held responsible. How convenient for the male half of the equation.

  184. @Spring We have child support laws in this country that do indeed require men to take financial responsibility. As they should.

  185. @Marvin - There are many ways for men to avoid paying for the children they sire. In my red state, once a Republican governor took over, Child Support Enforcement was privatized, their funding was slashed, and they could no longer deal with all the cases they had pending. I have a relative who works for CPS, and one day she reported they had 69 callers on hold. And even in states that more adequately fund CPS, it's up to the mother to track down the father's employment and turn the info over to the state. Then, months later, when the state catches up with him, fathers can quit their jobs, or persuade their employer to say they quit and instead pay them under the table. Any man who's determined not to pay child support can figure out how to get out of it, or to pay as little as possible.

  186. Thank you for bringing to light all the many ways Republican-appointed judges are eroding women’s health and freedoms. The truth is laws do nothing to prevent abortions. They just drive women to take desperate means to carry out our decisions. Will we really go back to back alley abortions? To jailing women who take the morning-after pill? It’s tragic and infuriating.

  187. @Kate---------------------Most men, apparently genetically, are fraught with passion to control women. Our closest beings, Chimpanzees, are exactly the same. What a pity we did not evolve from Bonobos, Orangutans or Gorillas.

  188. I am not for abortion, I am against against the religious interference in the lives of women where abortion is concerned. What is particularly irritating is when men dominated religions, are the most outspoken groups against abortion. Until Men experience the pain of bearing children , they should have no say in this matter,

  189. No one is "Pro-Abortion." We are "Pro-Choice." That is an important distinction that must be emphasized.

  190. @Glenn Thomas I agree !

  191. The enthusiasm and zeal in 1985 from when I was sworn in as an attorney, sustained its first major, unsealed blow from Bush v. Gore. Had I known that any attorney who took that same oath would aggressively use the Bench to advance a partisan agenda, rather than justice, would have resulted in a dramatically different life choice. The increasing erosion of the integrity and backbone of the judiciary, partisan judge by partisan judge, is not only demoralizing, is craven and decays the soul of each and every honorable lawyer, law student and Lincoln aspirant. To each of you who wears that Robe with partisan zest - SHAME ON YOU!

  192. @Lynn Amen

  193. Waiting periods and ultrasound requirements infuriate me. These people treat women as children or imbeciles who must surely have capriciously made the decision to terminate a pregnancy. 'You just better hear about what you are doing, young lady, and go home and think about it.' Women are not stupid nor do they make such a major decision on the spur of the moment or lightly! Yes, the legislators' goal is really to delay and obstruct, to make it much more difficult for women, but the suggestion is that women need big brother (or sister) to make them make the "right" decision. There is little doubt in my mind that the SCOTUS will overturn Roe in the near future. Women will go back to the back alleys. So-called "pro-life" folks are delusional if they really believe that they will "end abortion." They will simply help to damage more women. Some will die; others will be left with permanent health issues.

  194. @Anne-Marie Hislop The same people smugly satisfied by the difficulty in affording two days off, transportation, and delay vote for politicians who argue against common sense gun legislation. They are claim to be beside themselves that an unborn fetus is terminated yet want politicians in power who scoff at waiting periods for firearms. Wayne Lo, school shooter at my college, Simon's Rock of Bard has said, from prison, that awaiting period could have made the difference between an impulse desire to kill us all and not doing it. Instead, he shot six people, killing two- all somebody's babies at some point, all likely with parents too old to biologically produce another child should they desperately want that. The same people who want to make abused women+girls beg for an abortion and compound their trauma vote for people who cut funding from Special Olympics, who passed a law so hunters can kill hibernating bears+ wolves+their cubs, deny funding to families, including babies+children, in Puerto Rico and whatever disaster site may have people who make Trump's incomparable self-pity flare up. They babies should be born + suggest that settles everything instead of it just being the part of the need, responsibility, and hard, endless work of raising a healthy, thriving, happy child into an adult. If a fetus is even viable. It denies science, pressure it puts on a girl or woman who faces, should she take their road, a life of being called "a taker" from the same people.

  195. @Anne-Marie Hislop Imagine how that will play out. Not all states would ban abortion. So half the states in the US would be going through a crisis of some sort, jailing women, or women dying from DIY abortions etc... Meanwhile in blue states everyone will be fine. I am having a very hard time seeing the anti-abortion threat succeeding.

  196. @Anne-Marie Hislop Overturning Roe does not make abortion illegal in the US, it returns the rights to the states. It would still be legal in most states, severely restricted in some, illegal in some. The problem with Roe is that it was a stretched activist decision that can easily be legally argued against. The proper way to codify the right to abortion is via a constitutional amendment. But, I know, that simply is not possible given the numbers, which is one reason I am sure led the court to their activist decision.

  197. You're out of step with the times, in a thousand ways, as science now ruins any of your pro-choice arguments. And destroying a child because of abnormalities, whether the child is a 'quarter of an inch long' or more, doesn't jive with anyone's sense of fairness or equal treatment -- ask twenty-somethings -- let alone the planet's basic norms of core humanity. This ruinous issue will go to the high court and states will be handed the final decision, as should have been the case from the beginning. Barbarity is a difficult thing to defend, however cloaked.

  198. @Ken Hi Ken, Please read the comment from Lawyer. May this profound and moving comment open your mind.

  199. @Ken You would benefit from a little education in the ontological and biological differences between 1. "a child" vs. 2. a "zygote/embryo/fetus," because it seems you are confusing subjective opinion with biological fact. No. 1, a "child," usually referred to immediately after birth as "a baby," is an autonomous human being, that has been born, and is viable to the point it can exist outside of the womb, apart from its mother. By contrast, No. 2, "zygote/embryo/fetus," are, strictly speaking, biological parasites completely dependent upon a host for sustenance. And if I am not mistaken, that host is a woman (whenever it is *not* a petri dish or a fertility clinic's frozen storage tank). So, if you apply the moral judgement of "barbarity" to women who choose to terminate a pregnancy because they either cannot or else do not desire for their body to give sustenance as a host to a parasite against their will -- -- do you likewise apply the judgement of "barbarity" to fertility clinics that have no recourse but to dispose of unwanted embryos? -- who's the "barbarian" here? It seems to me that it would be you, because you are applying a moral judgement on choices and decisions of the most intimate nature that impinge on biological autonomy and procreation *only* of the parties involved -- that are entirely *none of your business.*

  200. @Ken - Thousands of children are born with horrendous birth defects such as developing without a brain, with brain and/or internal organs developing outside the body, or any of a long list of fatal defects that medical science can't cure. I watched my grandson die, painfully, in a NICU because of a fatal heart defect. All the medical science in the world wasn't able to overcome that fatal defect, and he suffered every second of his short, doomed life. Imagine if your only human contact was one that brought additional pain. It would have been much kinder to have ended the pregnancy early rather than allow every second of his life to be so filled with pain.

  201. The poorest red states spend hundreds of millions on law firms and lawyers for abortion laws repeatedly while their constituents suffer poor schools, poor health care, autocratic representation in state legislatures and Congress and poor housing (they all seem to live in mobile homes), and substandard wages.

  202. At the 21st week of pregnancy, my unborn child was diagnosed with profound anencephaly. This is to say the child is nearly fully formed save one body part. He (it is a boy) is utterly lacking any brain whatsoever. Fingers, toes, hands, feet, he has everything. Yesterday's ultrasound revealed his heart rate to be 159 bmp. But there is no brain, not even the beginning of a brainstem. The Childs is 100% certain to die of affixation the instant the umbilical cord is cut. I am 27 years old, married with two perfectly healthy children age 3 and 4. Here is my question: who among the pro-life movement would like to attend the birth come July? It will be a devastating moment. Even for my doctors. The radiologist yesterday at a a major hospital broke down in tears and was unable to speak after viewing the unborn child. Good people suffer tragedy.

  203. @lawyer Thanks for sharing your story. The 'pro-embryo' crowd doesn't like to hear truths like this. But they need to. I actually have never heard what their opinion would be about a situation like yours. Would they say people like you need to bring the child to term, or would they relent and say abortion is okay? The 'pro-embryo' crowd should be made to answer. The world and people's lives are more complicated than they have the respectfulness and compassion to understand. I wish you the very best.

  204. @lawyer First, so sorry to hear this, my heart goes out to you. I am sure you will find many pro-lifer who would be willing to support you at birth if you really wanted them there. I think your case falls into the realn of what most in the US would support. 20-22 week limits for no reason and then afterwards for reasons of mothers health or something such as this where the baby cannot survive.

  205. @lawyer - I am so sorry to hear that. My grandson was born with a fatal heart defect that wasn't detected until after birth. We watched him suffer horrendously for two weeks in a NICU, with every possible medical intervention. Yet in the end, modern medicine couldn't overcome that fatal defect. Of course, it's even more clear in the case of anencephaly. It's a tragedy for all involved.

  206. The last presidential should have been only about the Supreme Court and democrats blew it. The next one in 2020 is not only Supreme, but The Federal judiciary. Nothing else matters democrats, grow up and realize this or be doomed.

  207. Well this is the fruition of ill advised liberals who opposed Hillary Clinton. Trump appointed judges decimating abortion rights when the opportunity to obtain a moderate (I won’t say liberal) majority on the Supreme Court would have put this issue to rest. Lost opportunity that will take generations to get back.

  208. If it was the Supreme Court that enacted roe v Wade in 1973 that paved the way to end over 60 million innocent lives, it can be the Supreme Court to reverse this course. We do not need any more lives lost to abortion. Hopefully this current Supreme Court can put an end to this.

  209. @KMW It is a person's religious belief that supports the view that life begins at conception. However, the First Amendment prohibits the government from enacting religious beliefs into law such as a law that would outlaw abortion after conception.

  210. @KMW There have always been abortions and there always will be. The end of legal abortions will only make women seek them in back-alleys or foreign countries. Many women will be killed or harmed. Is this what you really want? To punish women? It will take a police state to enforce this ban, given that there have been abortions throughout human history. Or cheap contraceptives readily available. Or perhaps the “pro-life” people can assist mothers who are young and poor, or have disabled children, or have already have children and cannot afford more. Pregnancy is dangerous, and only the woman becomes pregnant, no matter how much so-called pro- life people try to pretend otherwise. Leave this matter to the woman to decide.

  211. @KMW - About 18 years after Roe v Wade, the national crime rate plunged, in the absence of any new laws or anything that would explain why. Finally, people figured out that suddenly there weren't so many unwanted, unaffordable children born to women who didn't want them and were in no position to care for them. Statistics show that about 1/3 of unwanted children spend their adult lives incarcerated - after having committed numerous crimes beforehand. It would be nice if the so-called pro-lifers cared for one minute about the fate of those "punishment children" they want to punish the women with.

  212. When the Republican Party is finally successful In banning all legal abortion in America, poor and middle class women and girls will die, or they will have their lives ruined in court. Lots of them will be killed in illegal, backroom abortions. They will be charged with crimes. We know that. It is how things were in the "good old days". Those women and girls with wealth will travel out of country to get the quality services they need. They will continue to live the lives all citizens deserve to live, just like they did in the "good old days". I am sad for the United States and the women who live here as second rate citizens with no rights over their own bodies. We should do better.

  213. That’s what’s so ironic with the term “pro-life.” Pro-lifers are so adamant about making abortion illegal, but they stop short of addressing the implications of doing so. Perhaps this is because they have no viable solutions to the inevitable consequences, they choose to ignore reality, or because they just don’t care. Either way, pro-choicers must keep fighting because, as you have pointed out, banning abortion creates many more problems than it claims to solve.

  214. @Lily - It's easy to be "pro-life." As long as the fetus is in the woman's body, SHE pays the price and it doesn't cost the pro-lifers anything. The minute that fetus takes its first breath, if it was an unwanted, unaffordble child, it's going to start costing the taxpayers money. That's when these same "pro-lifers" get busy slashing or trying to eliminate the safety net programs that might give that unaffordable child half a chance at a decent life.

  215. @MegWright That's an argument on which I believe emphasis must be placed. Give people these two choices: (1) you allow women autonomy over their bodies OR (2) we increase your taxes to fund the social programs that end up either supporting the mothers or "raising" the children. So... what will it be? The pro-life stance makes me think of toddlers who choose the short-term satisfaction of eating a dozen cookies over the long-term consequence of having a stomach ache. Banning abortion might make pro-lifers happy today, but their wallets will make them regret it tomorrow.

  216. We saw this coming the day Trump was elected in 2016. Women in red states with religious bigoted legislators will suffer terribly under these laws, and Trump's SCOTUS will most probably do nothing to help them.

  217. @James Mazzarella We've seen this coming long before the Orange One lied his way into the Presidency. The war on women has been marching along for decades now. All the people who said 'it will never happen' are complicit in the crime of allowing the Christian Right power over our government and power over women. We all know this is about controlling women and nothing else.

  218. It never ceases to amaze me that a party which preaches limited government and deregulation continues to poke its nose into our bedrooms and regulate what women can and cannot do with their bodies.

  219. @Christy apparently their limited government only applies to businesses.

  220. As a pro-life democrat, I pray for the day when abortion is no longer allowed in our country. However, I think going through the court system, as opposed to passing a constitutional amendment, is the wrong path. The reason why the 12 largest marches in Washington, and 16 of the 20 largest marches in Washington have been the annual pro-life march is because we nine unelected persons change our laws on morality and freedom. As we've seen with Dred Scott or Obergefell, the makeup and mindset of the court changes with time. It's much more difficult to change an amendment. For years the pro-life movement has been very disappointed with politicians, particularly on the right. Most pro-life abolitionists realize the GOP will always hold out pro-life legislation as a "carrot on a stick" with no intention of passing such legislation, because as their own research shows, the overwhelming majority of pro-life abolitionists are moderate-left leaning with the one non-negotiable exception of being against the pro-abortion side of the Democratic party platform. If the GOP were to ever pass real, sweeping pro-life legislation, the next election would be a landslide for the Democratic party. As I said, I'm a pro-life Democrat, which means that I end up voting third party, or reluctantly Republican about half of the time. I'm afraid the millions like me and I will have to continue with that trend.

  221. @LetsGoBlues People who are truly 'pro-life' respect a woman's right to her own self direction and authority over her own life, whether and when to have a family.

  222. @M But should that right be applied before conception or should it be allowed as an ex post facto decision? That is the one of the questions upon which this debate turns.

  223. @mikecody It doesn't matter. As conception takes place *only* in a woman's body, and as it is *her* body and *not* "the State's" -- the State has no right whatsoever to interfere with *her* Constitutional right to her LIFE and LIBERTY and PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. Remember that/those Constitutional right/s? Or is the problem here, *not* one of rights applied "before or ex post facto conception" -- -- but that MEN and PROLIFERS think these rights only apply to MEN and to a FETUS?

  224. There is nothing in the text, history, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution that justifies Roe. It is a moral stain, a Dred Scott precedent that denies personhood and protection from lethal violence for those that are most vulnerable and voiceless.

  225. @James "There is nothing in the text, history, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution that justifies Roe." Neither is there for the ownership of semi-automatic weapons. Hence the problem of taking an originalist view of the constitution: you can't by any stretch of logic pick and choose which parts of the constitution one should view contemporarily in terms of principle and intent, and which parts to view as if one was living in the 1700s. If you want to debate the morality of abortion, fine, but let's dump the farce that is Originalism.

  226. @T Certain weapons have been banned, such a full auto, grenades, missiles, etc. A true originalist reading of the 2nd is closer to saying that we should be allowed to form our own private militias using any weapons available to us. In any case, banning semi-autos would not be an abolition of a right, but a restriction. All rights are restricted. Talking about banning semi-autos would be on par with talking about 20-week abortion limits. A restriction of a right but not an abolition.

  227. @James And yet, by restricting access to reproductive freedom, you are “literally” calling for the enslavement of women to their fetus. So, if the Dred Scott decision was wrong because it denied Dred’s personhood, why is it reasonable in your mind to subject any woman to the care and feeding of a fetus without giving her any choice in the matter? Pregnancy is not a benign condition.

  228. "The Flood of Court Cases That Ban 'Legal" Abortion". There, fixed it for you. Abortions have been performed for thousands of years, laws to "ban" them are not going to change that fact. I've said it more than once, if men could get pregnant then legal abortions would be available in every doctor's office.

  229. Another approach would be to pile on huge amounts of child support with sufficient tax funds to enforce payments. That is, apply tax funds that would go to supporting the child and mother on Welfare into the enforcement of Child Support payments.

  230. A decision overruling Roe v. Wade would mean that an individual has no constitutional liberty interest in matters of reproduction that the state may not control through legislation. That principle must apply equally to men as well as women. If the state wishes to advance its compelling interest in preventing abortions, it is targeting the wrong gender. Laws criminalizing abortions have never prevented abortions. Women with sufficient financial resources have always been able to obtain safe abortions. The poor are forced into unsafe illegal abortions. In either case, abortions still happen. A law that mandated that all males receive vasectomies at the age of 16, on the other hand, would largely eliminate unwanted pregnancies and the need for abortions. The law could provide that males could have their vasectomies reversed after being married at least one year and with the express written permission of their wives. Any male who then impregnated a woman other than his wife would be guilty of a felony and subject to imprisonment. Of course, the mere notion that state legislatures dominated by men would ever intrude on the reproductive choices of males in such a fashion is absurd. The anti-choice movement has always been about controlling women.

  231. @Charles L. Thank you for this; I had come up with the same solution independently. But age 16 might be too late; I propose age 12 if medically feasible. We need to change the perspective in this conversation. Women don't just "get pregnant" by themselves. Many are subject to men impregnating them against their will, either through rape or, less obviously, through a religion or culture that demands that the women be subject to the men's desires, regardless of the women's right to bodily autonomy. When this is no longer true, and when we have learned how to prevent all devastating birth defects, then we will have drastically reduced the call for abortions. In the meantime, access to education and birth control are the best ways to reduce that need.

  232. @Charles L. The problem with your amusing fable is that while virtually no man opposes another's sexual freedom, many women oppose the right of their sisters to have the same. This is the hidden fuel behind much religious anti-abortionism in the US.

  233. @DaveD While few men would give up their own sexual freedom, there are many who would oppose the right of others to the same. Jerry Falwell is the first who springs to mind.

  234. The fellow the other day in congress said the way to combat climate change, (funny, I thought he didn't "believe" in climate change) is to have more babies. I think these decades will be thought of as "The Rise of Religious Oppression" Each religion seems to be doubling down on its most heinous theologies. All I know is that if I were a woman I would want abortion on demand for literally ANY reason at any time. In this country for these beliefs now I am a monster for wanting to decide an issue for myself taking into consideration all of the conditions and circumstances of my own life. This is not freedom. Not even close. Change the name of our country, to Gilead.

  235. @Joseph: Religions are tribes competing for limited resources by population growth. It has been the cause of genocidal warfare since humans hunted out the first jungle.

  236. For the crowd that wants to increase the number of Supreme Court justices, say to 15, would it be ok if they start picking the new ones tomorrow? How about 2020? Or 2023? It depends?

  237. @B Sure, right after we eliminate the lower Federal courts, "retire" the justices, and amend the Constitution to eliminate/overhaul the electoral college provision.

  238. That depends on your party affiliation. For Democrats, the plan would have to be coordinated over time. Do it now and Republicans will stack it even more in their favor. The best plan for Democrats would be to have a long-term plan much like the Republican plan that put us where we are now. Democrats at this time are too divided for such sensible planning. Understanding that the primary goal of taking back control of the government is of paramount importance. Without that, the single-minded, single-issue Democrat voters have no hope of getting what they want. They must understand: First things First!

  239. Do women not have the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"? Taking away a woman's agency and bodily integrity denies that. I find it off that small government and keep government out of our lives conservatism is comfortable with inserting itself in a woman's most personal decisions.

  240. @MmeBott The Founders, all religious males (even Jefferson and Madison, who were essentially atheist), purposefully excluded girls and women from the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Females in the U.S. had zip, zero, zed till they took to the street and stopped performing in the sheets, demanding voting rights and legal protections 100 years ago - which no female in America yet has in the same measure as any male and every male. Witness the constant assault on female bodies and daily lives, because the U.S. male half wants it that way, always did over the last 240+ years.

  241. The real problem in the context of judges appointed to the Federal Courts of Appeal is that there appointment is for a lifetime. In more than one instance the writer mentioned judges appointed by President Ronald Reagan, who left office in 1988 the late President George H.W. Bush, who was last president in 1992; that was 27 years ago. No judge appointed by a president of any party should serve for more than 14 years, and that should include the justices on the Supreme Court. If that change was made there would no longer be the worry of judges sitting on the court long after the views they represented are gone from public discourse. There would be no 35 year old appointed to serve until he or she is 95 to please some constituency or other. Use term limits to be sure that the judges represent all the people because that certainly isn't the case now.

  242. This should have been written decades ago. But all that was talked about was Roe v. Wade. There was another NYT Op. Ed recently that dealt with the same topic. It is though suddenly they are saying to each other, "Maybe we should think about how to shut the barn door." Piece by piece the right to choose has been shrinking. Even if the Supreme Court overturns them, getting to that court takes time. Clinics close and access is lessened. But what is still not addressed is what was Roe v. Wade based on. It was the right to privacy and that right comes from the fourteenth amendment. Others begin to interfere in our choices. We now have to have, as well as our will, a living will and advanced care directive. Once that right to privacy is cracked, pieces start to fall away. But let's say all these laws are passed. Abortions will still happen. They will revert back to what they were before R. v. W. If there is money, there will be alternatives. Doctors will just post the case as abnormal bleeding and when the tissue is read, "Oh, she must have had a missed miscarriage." or "Oh, she must have had an incomplete miscarriage." Money can be a flight to Mexico or one of the islands. Those who don't have the finances, will head to back rooms and basements and a large possibility of lasting damage to their bodies or death. Older doctors who support the right to choose, saw the result of pre-Roe v Wade. But we also have to remember, removing choice also removes right to privacy.

  243. @Ron: The Congress is DENIED the power to pay or give respect to faith-based beliefs. Minority rights are protected from majority abuses by limiting the powers agencies of government available to majorities under the theory of the US Constitution.

  244. @Ron... The issue is, and always has been, the line where abortion turns to murder. Rowe vs Wade established that abortion was legal for a variety of reasons. It left undefined where the line when the state's interest in protecting life begins and the woman's right to abortion ends. It is this gray area over which the fight is continuing. My personal belief is that a doctor, particularly a doctor performing a procedure that can have serious complications, should have an affiliation with a nearby hospital as a matter of in the best interests in the patient. That a doctor is not able to obtain admitting privileges is a far different question, and a question that deals with both the qualifications of the applying doctor and the adequacy of the hospital for the area(s) that it serves. We should not be conflating the admitting privileges issue with the underlying discussion of when the state gains a legitimate interest in the abortion process.

  245. @The Owl - The hospitals in these red states that are refusing admitting privileges are doing so because they don't want the notoriety that comes with it. They don't want daily protestors such as PP suffers, and they don't want the bomb threats and other attacks PP experiences. In addition, hospitals don't offer admitting privileges unless doctors can guarantee X number of patients. That's why many doctors, including my own, my parents' doctor, and others, work with "hospitalists," whose sole job is caring for the patients of these doctors when they're hospitalized. Abortion is so safe that abortion providers can go years without ever having a complication that requires hospitalization. But these same states won't allow abortion providers to contract with hospitalists or even with another ob/gyn to see their patients if there's ever a hospitalization.

  246. It is time to revise the way in which we review laws for constitutionality. Most major countries these days have constitutional review, but most do not use review through lower courts. Review is "concentrated" in one constitutional court. It, and only it, can put a law out-of-force. The lower federal courts are not required by the constitution, only permitted. There is no constitutional obstacle to limiting constitutional review to the Supreme Court. We need a Supreme Court law that will do that. Were that the case here we might be spared "give-it-a-try" legislation, a counterpart to what the late Justice Scalia criticized as "give-it-a-try’ litigation ... spawned by a corps of judges, or even a significant minority of them, who are willing to veer from text and tradition.”

  247. @JR... The advantage of having lower courts involved in judicial review of legislation is the degree to which the arguments both for and against are clarified and refined so that the Supreme Court can focus on the core issue. This system assures that the issue is thoroughly explored BEFORE the Supreme Court hears the case...if they choose to hear it.

  248. @JR Only if we can expand the SCOTUS to 13+ Justices.

  249. @The Owl That is the usual argument made for lower court, BUT that means at least a two-year delay in putting a law into force, Exhibit One Affordable Car Act. Other systems decide within a few months, or even before the law goes into force. Moreover, not all cases make it to the Supreme Court, so one either gets different rulings in different jurisdiction, or one or three regional lower courts deciding for the whole country. On balance, lower court review undercuts the law and adds little to what good briefs in the Supreme Court would yield.

  250. Thanks for the update. I would like to see a column, a discussion on these cited gratuitous, biased statements made by those judges, indicating an abhorrence of abortion. As I recall, in that one bakery case, allowing the bakery to reject an order from gay customers, weren’t the prejudicial statements made by one of the judges/administrative judges (dim memory here) the underlying reason for the Supreme Court’s decision? Does it make a difference if prejudice is written in the opinion or spoken before? And have these judges made similar views known outside of the cited opinions? Then, it seemed the Court required an unbiased judiciary. Now?

  251. To paraphrase the words of Justice Taney in the Dred Scott decision: “An unborn child has no rights which a woman is bound to respect.” The Dred Scott decision was 160 years ago. A hundred and sixty years in the future our culture will as different from today as ours is from the time of Dred Scott. I wonder if people in the future will be tearing down statues of today’s politicians who support unrestricted abortion.

  252. @Johnny Stark maybe after the statues of "pro-life" politicians who refuse to increase funding for prenatal health care, nutrition programs, or universal K-12 education - things that would ensure children had the best shot at, you know, life - while refusing to address the fact that, in many states, it is theoretically possible for prisoners to be put to death. If there are new statues that'll go up in the intervening 150 years, let's take THOSE down first.

  253. @Zach If spending on those sort programs were a solution we'd already have solved the problem. The problem isn't one of money, it's one of conscious choices. The root cause is boys impregnating girls and then abandoning their responsibilities and girls letting them do that. Reduce out of wedlock marriage and much of the problem will go

  254. Ah, now there's an original argument for you -- all pro-lifers to a person oppose everything from K-12 education to food stamps to health care for all to the elimination of capital punishment, plus clean air and water and while we're at it nutritional intervention and inner-city community college. Tired tropes, for sure.

  255. It's reassuring to read such intelligent, reasonable comments from so many who believe in abortion rights. I have many thoughts to add to the conversation, but alas, we are all preaching to the converted. Several years ago, I became friends with the woman obstetrician who was the first doctor to perform legal abortions in Iowa. Keep in mind, it was before the disastrous decision of the medical profession to split abortion off from medical care and take place only in designated abortion clinics. "Doctor Mary," as she was known, is long gone, but she told me many stories of the unspeakable tragedies that led women to her office seeking an abortion--the kinds of tragedies I've never heard, even once, anyone in the "pro-life" movement acknowledge talk about. She was morally courageous, speaking up for abortion rights very early on, and she was so very proud of the years she spent performing abortions to help women who came to her with their personal tragedies. I am glad she died before having to watch abortion rights subjected to this hideous death-by-a-thousand-cuts.

  256. @Emile... If these tragedies remain in the shadows, then they never will come to light... Instead of using the argument "you don't know the half of it" to make you point, why not detail those tragedies for us. Your game is quite similar, sir, to that of the Wizard of Oz...Deceptive projection onto a misty cloud of little substance.

  257. Is your own irony lost on you... 'death by a thousand cuts'? An unfortunate choice of words, to say the least, but then again your phrase speaks to the abstraction of abortion in many minds, a thing which pretends to have no relationship to the brutal fact of what it is.

  258. I will never condemn a woman who has an abortion. But neither will I ever condone a woman who ends innocent human life. I am about to do some pro life work in downtown Manhattan. We never coerce a woman to keep her baby but neither do we encourage her to end a life. You would be surprised at how a little care and concern showed toward these women make all the difference in a woman keeping her baby. We are there for the women at all stages and our assistance goes beyond her giving birth. She is never alone and we are with her every step of the way.

  259. I think this goes far beyond just being there for the woman till she gives birth and a little after. A child is a lifelong decision and a woman needs to commit to it for decades to be able to give what the child deserves. In the pro life religious zeal towards getting the child born people willingly ignore that part. If a woman is not committed or prepared for that she should not be encouraged towards it. She should not be encouraged to follow other people's moral Ideas. Let her decide what she wants.

  260. That's why we call it, "Pro-Choice."

  261. “We never coerce a woman to keep her baby.” Ha ha, good one. “We are there for the women at all stages...” So, let’s say fifteen years down the line, an unwanted child born to an impoverished teenager develops a drug addiction and starts committing crimes to support it. Then he or she comes down with a horrible disease which will cost millions to treat and devastate the lives of anyone involved. In this case, how, exactly, would the anti-abortion people provide “assistance.”

  262. The clear collusion between judges opposed to women's rights is not being concealed. A counter-movement of removal of said judges would seem to be the next step.

  263. Strange how we just take it for granted that our judiciary is partisan. The Founding Fathers and the Constitution they left for us specifically say that the judiciary is non partisan. Yet the Republican party has been fighting tooth and nail for forty years to turn our judiciary Republican. They are all about winning, and not at all about what is best for the United States.

  264. Great! So let’s pull out all the stops and some big ole lies to defeat GOP nominees from Bork on through to a Kavanaugh. And keep it coming. Everybody know that the “impartial” judiciary should be populated by progressive judges appointed by progressive presidents confirmed by progressive Senators.

  265. @WeHadAllBetterPayAttentionNow The Constitution says no such thing. The Constitution says that the Judiciary is to be independent of and co-equal to legislative and executive branches. Your understanding, sir, of our Constitution, our institution, and their processes is woefully sub-par. Because of the tenure of judges in our system, the courts are the least volatile of our "political" institutions...and, in the classic sense, therefore the most "conservative" in that the politics of the past are retained far longer than in any other branch. Judges everywhere are placed on the bench through POLITICAL action, be it appointment by the executive with concurrence of a council or legislature, or by election. In any states, it is only the political hack that gets the life-time kiss of employment and generous pension. One only needs to look at the political contributions of judicial nominees to see just exactly how "political" the process actually is. Is there a better way to appoint judges? Probably. But I have yet to hear anyone putting a system forward that doesn't the same or worse problems

  266. @The Owl - Independent = Non Partisan

  267. I note Ms. Greenhouse's viewpoint seems to be that since these cases have been decided by the Court in the past, there is no need to revisit them now. I have to wonder if she feels that same way about other cases where precedent was reversed, for example Brown v Board of Education?

  268. @mikecody comparing "separate but equal facilities for different races is acceptable" to "a woman has the right to bodily autonomy" in terms of legal holdings that deserve to be revisited is probably not the direction you want to go here.

  269. Zach: presidents are presidents. The Court makes mistakes; Roe being by far the Court’s most scandalous and untenable decision in history. By miles. I devote my career to SCOTUS advocacy, and no decision is more poorly reasoned and stands more obviously as an abomination of the Constitution than Roe. The decision is illegal, contrary to centuries of English common law and universal morality.

  270. @EWG Ah, so it is I see that you feel that "Life, LIBERTY (to make one's own private decisions about one's own body) and the Pursuit of Happiness" -- should apply only to MEN.

  271. Someone needs to start challenging pro-life advocates to answer one simple question. If abortion is criminalized in America, who should be prosecuted and what should the punishment be. After decades of declaring "abortion is murder," do these people really intend to condemn young women, doctors, nurses and others to long prison sentences or possibly capital punishment?

  272. @Eroom Trump already answered that with a yes. Remember? They absolutely do want to condemn young women to prison and death over this.

  273. I wonder whether some legalist out there could not develop a legal or constitutional theory that all of the these judges and politicians so opposed to abortion are standing -in loco parentis- for the fetus, and thus assume financial and legal responsibility for the child after birth? And that failure to meet these responsibilities are violations of both civil and criminal child welfare laws for which they are culpable. Perhaps if they have skin in the game, they won't be so eager to walk on other people's faces.

  274. @Steve thanks for mentioning how these on-high decisions play out on the ground. my mom had a total of 8 pregnancies and 6 children- she was over-burdened and in later years wished that she could have enjoyed her family, that at the time she decidedly did not.

  275. Steve: I will pay for any child born who would have been aborted because the mother was unable to support her child. After the child is born, I will pay the legal costs to adopt the beautiful baby to a loving family who will raise the baby and love him/her. We all know how pregnancy occurs. It is 100% preventable. No child should be aborted because of financial need. We don’t kill children because the mother is poor. To suggest otherwise is evil incarnate.

  276. @EWG - I agree in principle, but ... - The states and jurisdictions that most vociferously propound "abstinence only" as a birth control method are the ones most opposed to abortion. - These same states and jurisdictions are the ones that have the weakest social support networks, and who vigorously defend against any social benefits to "those people." Hence my call that -particularly- the politicians put up or shut up: If they are not willing to support the child post-partum, they have NO moral authority to dictate the fate of the fetus.

  277. There are those who believe Roe v. Wade has no constitutional basis, there are those who believe it is never defensible to end a life at any time during pregnancy and there are those in both camps. It is for these reasons, that as long as abortion remains legal, there will be legal challenges. And on the other side, there are those who believe Roe v. Wade is constitutionally sound and there are those who believe it is entirely defensible for a woman to terminate her pregnancy with or without constitutional authority. It is reasonable to believe that one's view on abortion might be a result of how our brains are wired, and therefore, changing views through reasoning is not likely to succeed. So, what will happen from here on? Lawsuits will continue and there will be columns stating abortion rights are under assault.

  278. @Steve Brown And women will continue to have abortions, whether the practice is legal or illegal, just as has always happened. You can't stop abortion, period.

  279. @Steve Brown: It will foul the political scene with predatory fundraising forever.

  280. And you can't stop murder or theft or hunger or want, either, but that hardly makes them desirable, let alone justifiable. A ludicrous argument, to say the least.

  281. "... Louisiana requires that doctors who perform abortions in that deeply anti-abortion state do the impossible by getting admitting privileges in local hospitals...." What is so impossible about getting admitting privileges at a local hospital? If you are a doctor practicing medicine, it would seem that having admitting privileges at the local hospital is an essential element of providing reasonable medical care for the patients. And if a licensed physician/surgeon cannot get admitting privileges on the local hospital, it greatly calls into question the capabilities of that physician/surgeon. Ms. Greenhouse, again, premises her argument on false premises and asks the reader to buy her assumption that obtaining admitting privileges is impossible. It is also interesting that Ms. Greenhouse, now that the prism has turned to a different spectral view of the light, is complaining that light is no longer light and needs to be disregarded in totality. For her entire career, Ms. Greenhouse has faithfully touted the right for judges (only the liberal ones) to interpret law as they saw fit, whether or not the law actually supported the finding. Now that judges are being appointed that tend to look more carefully at what the law actually says, she is whining over the fact that the courts are finding that the liberal interpretations stretched both the law an the Constitution in ways that have been destructive to the intent that Congress makes laws, not the Judiciary.

  282. @The Owl As in other states, Louisiana has many hospitals that are religious based that may not allow abortions. Doctors have no right to be "admitted" to a hospital, that's the decision of the board of the hospital. The size of a hospital also has physical limits on how many doctors can be admitted. And economics provide a rationale that the fewer the doctors who have admitting, the smaller the pool of competition which can reduce competition that could lower consumer costs.

  283. @The Owl You know nothing about admitting privileges. Hospitals don't have to accept everyone and they routinely deny admitting privileges to doctors who perform abortions. In these cases, the doctors had applied to every hospital and were denied admitting privileges. And having admitting privileges has virtually NOTHING to do with receiving care and nothing to do with your skills as a doctor -- it just addresses whether YOUR DOCTOR can visit you in the hospital if you are admitted. It's more akin to whether a particular country club admits you as a member. BTW, do you routinely ask your doctors where they have admitting privileges before receiving medical treatment? I'm guessing you've never even thought about it before -- because it has no bearing on your actual treatment as a patient.

  284. "In another appeal pending before the court . . . the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit struck down a law that makes it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion if the patient wants to terminate her pregnancy because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or 'any other disability.'" The words "any other disability" are open to interpretation, are they not? What is considered a disability? A limp? A malformed arm? Would most Americans be comfortable with abortion for "any disability"? These are the slippery-slope questions that even reasonable people get hung up on.

  285. @Anonymous Abortion is legal. If she wants one, she should be able to have it.

  286. @Bill Society has the right to restrict even legal behaviors. You will find different level of support and indignation on each of the following conditions: 1. You cannot abort based upon gender. 1. You cannot abort because of Down Syndrome. 3. You cannot abort because of the fetus having no brain.

  287. @Marvin So you approve of government controlling this personal decisions. You have no idea why someone decides to do it. It's never an easy decision.

  288. So it seems that women may have the right to an abortion if they so choose, but no physician nor any organization employing medical professionals may perform that service. Some entrepreneur might take advantage of this baleful climate, bundling kits of pregnancy tests together with two aspirin and a coathanger.

  289. @VJBortolot Actually, it could be simpler than that. How well-controlled are illegal drugs in America? Women will be able to buy abortion drugs through the mail or on the street. Should be able to. For too many, it may be the coat hanger.

  290. "He also described the constitutional right to abortion as something the Supreme Court had decided to “bestow on women.”" Actually, that's true. A woman's right to an abortion was created by the Supreme Court, and not by the Constitution, as originally written, or by legislatures. New York and four other states legalized abortion in state law in 1970. That would have been the beginning of a slow and healthy democratic debate and process (I am a proponent of a woman's right to abortion, by the way). Then the Supreme Court swept debate off the table in 1973 by creating a constitutional right to the process. It ended any reasoned conversation about abortion, but changed no one's mind, ensuring decades of political bitterness. Thirty-eight US states, including many blue states, currently have criminal laws regarding the killing of an unborn child. Although I support a woman's right to abortion, I also understand that conferring the legal status as a crime victim on an unborn child in one law while making abortion legal in another may seem inconsistent. An explanation is in order, but Roe v. Wade ended any reasoned public discourse about the subject. So now, as Linda Greenhouse explains, abortion issues are settled in the court system and not by people talking to each other. It's a really bad place for a democracy to find itself.

  291. It also demonstrated that courts are more convenient for pursuing all types of agendas that were intended for public debate and legislation. The result has been the division we see today. why talk to your neighbor with whom you disagree and risk compromise when you can sue in court, and wave the decision in his face.

  292. There is considerable support in the constitution including among others the freedom of religion, because only organized religion and no original documents deem it a crime. The reason is the limitation of government intrusion in to moral choices and by overextension, anti mother. Government shout not claim a right without exercising responsibility. The responsibility is to make it beneficial to avoid unwanted pregnancy and to help give families the support they need to believe that the government is honest, not lazy and hypocritical. Don’t claim yourself to be pro-life if you’re not willing to put in the hard work or if you are too arrogant to think that you’re better than those people who resort to abortion. Your party is pro abortion and anti-mother. Look at the numbers.

  293. For those who pray for the day when abortion is no longer allowed...Have they actually experienced the time when it wasn't ? Obviously, these 'pro-life' enthuasiasts are not interested in the lives and health of mothers. They're quite willing for pregnancy to revert to what it used to be: a potentially deadly condition. So let's just think of the children. The ones already out of the womb. I was born in Quebec before the Quiet Revolution. Some of the girls who attended school with me came from families of 20 and 21 children. When I first saw the television programme 'The Waltons', I could not believe how rich the Waltons were. The rural Quebec families I knew did not live like that - let alone like the television Duggars. My own mother, born to Catholic parents in England, was one of eighteen children. Twelve of them died as babies/toddlers. A thirteenth, the eldest girl, died at 23. She was sickly, and no wonder. She would have spent her childhood and teenage years trying to keep the already-born young children alive while her mother was preoccupied with that year's new baby. For those 'pro-life' enthusiasts, I suggest they educate themselves about what life was really like, before contraception and abortion became available. And stop trying to make pregnancy a life-or-death situation for women.

  294. @Oriole - One side of my family has a complete genealogy that goes back to 1653 in Canada. My relatives were French Catholics, and the story you tell is the story revealed in my family's genealogy. It wasn't at all uncommon for a family to have 13 to 20 children and have only 3 to survive to adulthood. In fact, I was pointing out to a relative the other day how many times it was 3 children who survived. I should add that those children had the same father but in many cases there'd been three wives, the first two of whom had died in childbirth.

  295. @Oriole Why do males not use either common sense or condoms to control their own reckless breeding? Because all the pain and misery of their selfishness fall on girls and women.

  296. @Oriole I think the numbers you cite were common back in that time period. It makes me wonder whether these women were routinely raped by their husbands? I find it hard to believe that many of these women - already saddled with a dozen children, bone-tired, and likely injured from so many childbirths - actually wanted to engage in sexual intercourse.

  297. To the NY Times readers here who equate the pro-life position with right-wing Republicanism or ultra-conservative ideology, I would like to call your attention to Father Daniel Berrigan, a celebrated poet and hero of the anti-war movement during the Vietnam War era and afterward--and who went to prison for burning draft board files in protest. He was an eloquent opponent of the military-industrial complex--and of abortion as well. In fact, as late as his mid-70s, Dan Berrigan was arrested for attempting to block the entrance to a Planned Parenthood "clinic" in Rochester, New York that performed abortions-- and insisted until his death not only that abortion was morally indefensible--but that his anti-militarism viewpoint was grounded exactly in his conviction about the sanctity of human life.

  298. @WiseNewYorker Not news. We already know Vatican Inc.'s position on female reproductive rights...and, in fact, all female rights.

  299. @WiseNewYorker Obviously his view of the "sanctity of human life" -- did not extend to nor apply to the "sanctity" and quality *and safety* of WOMEN'S LIVES. Perhaps those who espouse Berrigan's point of view and who likewise feel that access to abortion is morally indefensible and who thus oppose all abortion rights, would benefit from first taking time out to find out how many women *die* due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth every year, around the world, to include the U.S. http://time.com/4508369/why-u-s-women-still-die-during-childbirth/ https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pregnancy-relatedmortality.htm What about the sanctity of THEIR lives?

  300. @WiseNewYorker Good for him. Another example of a man dictating to women.

  301. There are definite unintended consequences to conservative judges reversing Roe v Wade. Republicans will almost certainly lose at least a large portion of the religious conservative block. They’ve built their support with these single-issue voters. (Why I think SCOTUS will continue to uphold it.) Good luck, I say. We will gladly take the Christians who believe in charity and social services right off your hands. Welcome to the Democratic Party...let’s go save the world. Maybe with nation-wide comprehensive sex education and accessible, effective birth control, we won’t need abortion as an option anymore. (Except in extreme medically indicated cases, of course.)

  302. Passing Shot, We do not know whether an early-term abortion causes pain to the fetus. We have no proof that there is not pain. We do know that abortion is inhumane and cruel at all stages of development. A fetus/baby dies in the process. That we know for certain.

  303. @KMW -- Fetuses don't have the neural connections to transmit pain until, at the earliest, about 27 weeks. Many think it's closer to 37 weeks before those connections are well established. Meanwhile, in NICUs all over the country, painful medical tests and treatments are administered without anesthesia because the fragile newborns are in many cases too weak to withstand anesthesia. I know. I watched those painful tests/treatments performed on my infant grandson.

  304. @KMW Of course we know. The brain is not developed. Do you even realize that 90% of abortions are done before week 12, when the embryo (or fetus as of week 10) is the size of a pea or at most a bean, which means the brain inside that bean is microscopic? Without a brain, there is no "feel". So no, there is no inhumanity. None whatsoever.

  305. I truly don't understand how a minority of people with ironclad religious beliefs that abortion is murder can dictate their beliefs to the rest of us. I don't get it. If you think it's murder don't get an abortion. I can't even go into the hypocrisy that these same people are completely fine with the death penalty and have no concern for non-white peoples' right to life in any way, whether by police killings, killings at the border, incarceration of minorities at crazy disproportionate rates, disproportionate sentencings that deprive people of their liberty, but that's a separate though infuriating topic. On the basics along, these are religious beliefs that have no place in state policy. Period. End of story. The whole debate is a travesty of the constitution. Not to mention an insidious right wing effort to control women and our bodies. Look at the world - what deeply religious people have in common across all religions and countries is the use of force, physical and psychological and social, to make women to submit to men.

  306. Women's bodies are just another campaign prop for Republicans. Similar, but more perverse than all the others they don't care about: the deficit, religion, the Wall, the Constitution, crime, the troops or the flag, 'freedom', except as issues for divisive partisan attacks. They really don't care about fetuses, children or families. If they cared, they would fund universal prenatal care, availability of family planning services, and they would not be cutting children and families housing, food and education while also fighting 'livable' wage laws and women's wage equality.

  307. Is it virtue signaling by Democrats to run around and implement new “abortion til birth, and even after” legislation in every state they can? What’s up with that? Once a fetus is viable, the conversation changes. If you haven’t decided yet if you want an abortion and you are entering the ninth month, it is not really a freedom of choice conversation.

  308. @Ken, Women do not have abortions at nine months because they were undecided or suddenly changed their mind. If you are not well-informed of the myriad problems or fetal abnormalities that can arise in the latter stages of pregnancy, please take the time to do so before making misguided statements about the realities of pregnancy. Late term abortions are extremely rare and need to be available to the women (and their partners) who find themselves in such devastating circumstance. You might also ask yourself why you, or any one else equally ignorant of the subject, should be making decisions that that affect the health and well-being of half the population.

  309. @Ken - It has been illegal for decades to kill a viable or living newborn, no matter what lies you choose to believe. If an abortion is needed in the last couple of months, it's almost always because something has gone tragically wrong and the pregnancy is either killing the mother or the fetus has serious anomalies incompatible with life. If the fetus is viable but the pregnancy is killing the mother, labor will be induced and the newborn will be cared for just like any other newborn. If the fetus is discovered to be developing without a brain, or with brain and/or internal organs developing outside the body, or any of the other horrendous birth defects that mean the newborn is expected to die at or before birth, or at most a few hours or days later, the pregnancy can be terminated early and even then, if the newly delivered infant is living at birth, it can't be killed. Stop listening to the lies you're told by those who're willing to use any means, no matter how dishonest, to ensure that no one can get an abortion in this country, ever.

  310. @Ken Please supply references of Democrats who run around and implement new “abortion till birth, and even after” laws. You can't because it doesn't exist.

  311. On "norm-collapse" -- I have yet to see a compelling intellectual rationale justifying why something that a judge sees as manifestly in error should be persisted in just because of Supreme Court "precedent" and "stare decisis." This author would never tell us "precedent" should make us hew to Plessy v. Ferguson, would never tell us "Brown v. Board of Education" was wrongly decided or that no appellate court should have ever entertained disregarding Plessy until that idea dawned on Earl Warren, the consummate example of a "lawyer who knew a President." I honestly even doubt the author would tell us Bowen v. Hardwick represents "Curia locuta, causa finita," and so Lawrence v. Texas and its progeny (especially Obergefell) are all illegitimate concessions to political pressure that "compromises" the judicial independence of the Court and thus is "norm breaking." No, the only solicitude for expecting federal judges to act like good Germans, saying "I disagree but was only obeying orders/precedents" applies when Roe v. Wade is in play. The title of this essay is accurate: it's not about a threat to jurisprudence, it's about a threat to a policy option Greenhouse likes. Which is why Roe v. Wade should go. On "the impossibility of admitting procedures" -- why would an abortionist be unable to obtain admitting procedures locally? Why is that such an insurmountable barrier, unless you are the equivalent of a 21st century carpetbagger, flying in to abort, leave, and collect?

  312. @JOHN Because many hospitals require at least double-digit admissions from doctors yearly to grant admitting procedures. Because many hospitals are either Catholic-owned or have merged with Catholic-owned hospitals (where I work had such a merger in process, the community outcry scuttled the merger). Because it’s a conservative community which does not want its hospital to grant privileges in the circumstances.

  313. @JOHN - It is often impossible for a doctor who performs abortions to get admitting privileges to local hospitals. For two primary reasons: 1) admitting privileges are offered based on the amount of revenue a doctor is expected to bring into the hospital. Abortion is an incredibly safe procedure that rarely - very rarely - results in an admittance to a hospital. 2) Most hospitals, especially in smaller communities are religious based. Here in Waco there are two hospitals, one Baptist and one Catholic. They have refused admitting privileges to doctors that perform abortions. That is unlikely to change.

  314. @JOHN Quoting Jordan Smith: "Some hospitals require a certain number of admissions as a requisite for granting privileges, but because abortion is so safe, doctors are unable to meet that threshold. (Serious complications requiring hospitalization occur in just .05 percent of first-trimester abortions.) The requirements for obtaining admitting privileges vary from hospital to hospital and can be decided based on politics alone. In Louisiana, two doctors were denied privileges precisely because they provide abortion care, according to court documents filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is challenging the state law."

  315. Discussions of the constitutional issues involving abortion too often presuppose that a judge's personal views and policy preferences will determine the judge's decision. That probably is usually what happens, but personal views, policy preferences, and constitutional considerations ought be three very separate subjects. On a personal level, I have always believed I never could condone an abortion except in very limited circumstances. On a policy level, I have always favored legislation that would provide an almost unlimited right to abortion because I believe that a woman ought to have a right to choose and I believe that society suffers from the birth of large numbers of unwanted children. The question of the extent to which the Constitution limits restrictions on abortion has always been a much more difficult issue for me. For many years, I believed that Roe v. Wade lacked support in the text and history of the Constitution, but I now believe that forcing a woman to have a child against her will is so egregious that it is a clear denial of due process. Judges who oppose abortion for personal or policy reasons should not allow those views to influence their adjudication of the separate and distinct constitutional issues. Thank you, by the way, Ms. Greenhouse, for such an informative and forceful commentary.

  316. "The Flood of Court Cases That Threaten Abortion" How do the cases threaten abortion? Doesn't Ms. Greenhouse know that the United States is a democracy and that if the Supreme Court pulls out of the issue, abortion law can be set through the democratic process, as is done in Europe? Or does she think abortion is so unpopular that it would never win in a level playing field?

  317. @Charlesbalpha Gerrymandering negates the ability for states to have equal representation. While the majority of Americans support abortion rights, the minority controls the voting booths.

  318. How dare women have control over their own bodies. Let’s just ban all abortions throughout the U.S. Of course the consequences will include: * Back alley abortions * Coat hanger abortions * Women who are harmed or die for lack of medical procedures * Rich girls flying overseas to still obtain abortions You see, there will still be Americans who will be able to get abortions. Only the poorer segment of society will be affected.

  319. @Richard It always was and always will be ALL girls and women who suffer and will not have adequate available abortion and birth control services. PLENTY of girls and young women from middle and upper income families died from botched abortions or were forced to have unwanted babies, as well as unwanted shotgun marriages. The religious patriarchy spares no female, infant to granny. You also ignore one of the next shoes to drop in the #MeToo and #BasicHumanRights area: incest and rape of girls and women inside the home by a brother, father, grandfather, uncle. No annual income level or amount of money in a bank account has ever protected females from that.

  320. Contrary to the thought espoused by those in power, men have no more business telling a woman she does not have control of her body than a dictator telling those under control they have no right to think. Not an odd world we live in, just one controlled by arrogance and the accompanying stupidity which without coincidence forms the basis of many male controlled legislatures both here and throughout the world. If we as a nation make it through this absurd time the people to thank will not be the ones who pose so well during their hollow chest thumping press release appearances, rather the women, like the vilified AOC who stand for women's, aka human rights. The mere fact that "marching orders" are applicable to any judiciary anywhere in our nation indicates a corruption which undermines the rule of law let alone equal justice. Regardless political affiliation such thoughts are foreign to the way of life so many among our leadership espouse. They indicate a turn to the right which, as any student of history at any level knows, will not end up as the yellow brick road our forbears sought. For the sake of all young people everywhere I only hope women take the reins of control and put the historical fiction accepted by so many in the bin where it belongs.

  321. Conservatives yell and scream about government intrusion, like Obamacare, and preach freedom. Yet, when a woman desires to exercise her freedom, let alone must to save her life, she may not. No one likes abortion. No one is pro-abortion. But, for half of our population to be free, too, it must be available, not made nearly impossible because some who claim to speak on behalf of God say so. To hide behind the guise that they are protecting the unborn, which have no consciousness or ability to survive without their mother, is merely an expression of squeamishness and church-inspired guilt. That is not a viable ground to deny one their most intimate freedom.

  322. A legitimate religious objection to my tax dollars going to fund warfare, bombing of children and other life destroying military activities, putting children in cages after separating them from their parents, or denying health care protections to children and others, should be given the same weight as an equally legitimate religious objection to abortion or even abortion counseling. The courts should affirm this moral equivalence and as a country we can act accordingly.

  323. Let's say the Supreme Courts says, 'yes, states have the right to ban abortion', it STILL won't work because it's INFEASIBLE. How is a poor state like Louisiana going to enforce their law? Are they going to round up all 10,000 of those women, every year, and throw them in jail? In this scenario, just trying to enforce this law if going to cause a million times more problems than it's intended to solve. None of these threats to abortion will go anywhere which means it's a giant legislative waste of time. Again.

  324. @Studioroom - Remember the Fugitive Slave Act? In my red state, I'd expect a Fugitive Pregnant Woman Act, or something similar. I can see pregnant women having to gain permission from the state to leave the state, and having to check back in with the state when she returns to ensure that she's still pregnant. If she doesn't check back in, then that would trigger the Fugitive Pregnant Woman Act, where she could be tracked down and forcibly returned to the state.

  325. @Studioroom They don't round up the women who seek abortions. They make it a serious crime for a healthcare provider to perform the abortion. This is pretty easily enforced, and results in women resorting to unsafe back-alley abortions. The resulting pain, fear, sepsis, infertility and death are the intended consequences for the women.

  326. @MegWright Don't worry... I'd buy large tracts of fallow land in Ontario where women may run free and do as they please, get new identities, and return safely to states where they can live out their lives in security and contentment. Donation information to follow.

  327. Recent polling shows over 70% of Americans support abortion being legal. Yet, we see the opposite occurring. Abortion rights will soon disappear from Red States. Abortion tourism to states allowing the procedure will start occurring for those with money. The poor, as is always the case with the GOP, will be screwed. This is what happens when minority rule is in effect, thanks to gerrymandering and voter suppression measures.