Tag Archives: Roe v. Wade

Elections do have consequences

Well, folks. We are going to find out in due course — possibly soon — just how consequential presidential elections always have been.

The issue at hand is abortion and whether the Texas strict anti-abortion law will withstand judicial review. I happen to believe the law is unconstitutional, that it runs counter to what we long have thought was “settled law.” That the Roe v. Wade decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 had been settled, that women had a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

Oh, but wait. The issue is likely to end up in front of the SCOTUS again. Here is where the election issue comes in.

The 45th POTUS nominated three justices on the court. He was able to cement the conservative majority. The court is now lined up with six conservatives and three liberals. The conservatives, with — with Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch on board — well might decide that the Texas law is OK after all.

A federal judge in Texas, Robert Pittman — appointed by President Barack Obama — has declared the Texas law to be unconstitutional. It’s headed already to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which well could reverse Judge Pittman’s 100-page ruling. You can count on the Justice Department to take this matter up on the judicial ladder.

Hmm. Do you think Pittman’s ruling will hold up? Neither do I.

We need to ponder this when the time comes to ponder the next presidential election.


Hoping judge’s ruling holds up

It is easy for me to cheer a ruling by a U.S. district judge in Texas that bans the state’s abortion ban.

I will cheer the ruling by Judge Robert Pittman. I fear the ruling won’t hold up.

Pittman said the state law that bans abortion after a woman has been pregnant for six weeks cannot be upheld. I agree with him. Then again, I am not a lawyer, let alone a judicial scholar.

The state law is cruel in that most women don’t even know they are pregnant until after six weeks. That didn’t stop the Legislature from enacting and Gov. Greg Abbott from signing it into law.

Pittman was selected for the federal bench by President Obama, which I suppose gives you a clue as to his political leaning … not that it should matter when it regards court rulings. Right?

The state is going to appeal Judge Pittman’s ruling. It will work its way through the appellate court system. It might even find its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, with its 6 to 3 conservative majority.

At least for the time being, though, the judicial system has come to the aid of women desperate to maintain control of matters that only they should be allowed to decide.


Roe v. Wade far from ‘settled’

If you thought the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States had become “settled law,” you had better think again.

The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision is now under a full frontal assault by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature. Texas now has a law on the books that prohibits a woman from obtaining an abortion as early as six weeks into her pregnancy.

President Biden calls the law “unconstitutional.” The current Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 to let the law take effect even though it is being contested by multiple lawsuits.

One of the four dissenting justices, Stephen Breyer, calls the SCOTUS decision “very, very, very wrong.”

The Texas Tribune reports: The Texas law is novel for incentivizing private citizens to police abortions. It empowers anyone living in the state of Texas to sue an abortion provider or anyone else they suspect is “aiding and abetting” abortions after the six-week mark. Those opposing the law say this may be far-ranging and could include the abortion provider or anyone who provided transportation to a woman, or counseled or referred a woman for an abortion.

Stephen Breyer calls Supreme Court decision on Texas abortion law ‘wrong’ | The Texas Tribune

There’s a fascinating bit of irony at play here. Conservatives proclaim proudly that they oppose what they call “judicial activism.” They say they dislike court decisions that go beyond the Constitution’s strict adherence to original intent.

From my perch in North Texas, it appears that most of the court’s conservatives — except for Chief Justice John Roberts, who sided with the liberal wing — are engaging in a raw form of judicial activism by dismissing the lawsuits and declaring that a law that is being challenged should take effect.

Wouldn’t a “conservative” court just let the litigation play out and stay out of the way?

Settled law? Not when you have a group of judicial activists on the nation’s highest court.


Hoping DOJ can reverse abortion ban

You are welcome to count me as one American who hopes that the U.S. Department of Justice can find a way to circumvent the Texas law that all but eliminates abortion in this state.

Why? Because the law signed recently by Gov. Greg Abbott removes a woman’s right to make a determination on what to do about her own body; it places it in the hands of politicians — most of whom are male — who are seeking to appease constituencies with agendas that have nothing to do with women’s rights and freedom.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has declared DOJ’s intent to examine how to force Texas to back away from a law that makes it illegal for a woman to terminate a pregnancy later than six weeks after conception.

I haven’t ever discussed this matter with young women, but my understanding based on what I have learned over many years of life is that a minuscule number of women even know they are pregnant fewer than six weeks after conceiving a child.

This battle sets up a national state-by-state fight as legislatures elsewhere consider ways to do what the Texas Legislature has done.

The Texas Tribune reports:

Texas’ abortion ban faces potential Justice Department challenge | The Texas Tribune

It had been thought over many years that the Roe vs. Wade decision handed by the Supreme Court in 1973 had become “settled law.” I guess not, given the current SCOTUS’s decision not to hear a challenge to the Texas law.

I hope DOJ succeeds in finding a way to restore what should be a woman’s constitutional right to make the most difficult decision anyone should ever have to make.


Texas abortion law: seriously flawed

Some laws are easy to defend.

The newly enacted law banning virtually all abortions in Texas is equally easy to condemn. I will do so with this brief post.

The law that took effect at midnight is among the most restrictive state laws in the United States. It bans abortions as early as six weeks after conception. It makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

Hmm. Think about that one. Many women — perhaps even most women — don’t even know they are pregnant until well after that time frame. What in the world do they do if (a) they are raped or (b) they are impregnated in an incestuous encounter or (c) their doctor determines that the baby they are carrying has serious health issues?

This issue at one important level does give me fits. I could not advise a woman to get an abortion. However, I do not believe government should impose laws that restrict or virtually eliminate a woman’s right to make that choice for herself. She should consult with her partner, her doctor, her faith leader and her god. These decisions are not in the realm of pompous politicians — so many of them males — who make pious pronouncements about the “sanctity of life.”

I will add, too, that many of these pols get hideously stingy with public money when the need arises for the government to care for children brought into this world.

I will harken back to an adage that President Clinton once said about abortion. He said it should remain legal, but that it should “become rare.” I fear now what women might do if they become desperate to terminate a pregnancy … and how much harm they will do to themselves.


Abortion headed for scrap heap?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am profoundly offended by the notion of politicians dictating to women how they can deal with emotional trauma that virtually no one else can comprehend.

Yet that is what is likely to happen if — or likely when — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs an anti-abortion bill into law.

The Legislature has enacted a bill that would make abortion illegal six weeks after conception, which is before many women even know they are pregnant.

Texas Senate advances bill to outlaw abortions if Roe. v. Wade overturned | The Texas Tribune

What’s more, these politicians — dominated in Texas by Republicans, of course — are poised to make all abortions illegal if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in this country.

As the Texas Tribune reported:

I am shaking my head in disgust and dismay at what these pols think they are doing.

As I have noted already on this blog, my distress at this draconian measure does not make me “pro-abortion.” I never could recommend an abortion for a woman who sought my counsel. I simply would stand back and tell that woman to do what her heart tells her to do.

If only our state’s smug political class — comprising a solid majority of men — would comprehend the notion that they are venturing into territory where they should never tread.

Litmus test, anyone?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I must have been dreaming it, but I always used to believe that politicians never admitted to requiring judges or judicial nominees to pass a “litmus test” to determine their fitness for a particular judgeship.

I suppose we can toss that truism out the window.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett is being grilled by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee over Donald Trump’s decision to nominate her to a spot on the Supreme Court.

She is known to be an avid anti-abortionist and a strong critic of the Affordable Care Act.

Trump has made it clear that he intended to nominate justices who were of that mind on both issues. He is now anti-choice on abortion after being pro-choice and he just cannot stomach having the ACA on the books because it comes from the president he detests with a passion, Barack Obama.

I am left now to ponder whether Trump asked Barrett — or two previous SCOTUS appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — questions related directly to those issues. I just wish I could have been a fly on the proverbial wall when he met with all three of them.

Trump’s lack of political savvy is well-known and well-chronicled at this point. A significant portion of me believes he likely asked them all directly: Will you rule against Roe v. Wade and against Obamacare? Just say “yes” and I’ll nominate you to the Supreme Court. Got it? Good!

It sickens me to believe this is possible. I fear that we’re now living in an era when the nation’s leading politician doesn’t give a damn about the appearance of litmus tests … other than to insist on applying them when they suit his political agenda.


Get set for the Fight of the Century

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

So, you thought that Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier engaged in the Fight of the Century way back in 1971, yes?

Step aside, fellas. The bigger fight is about to occur with the pending nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The word is out that Donald Trump is going to nominate Judge Barrett to the court to succeed the late, great Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Barrett is a darling of the evangelical Christian community. She is a far-right winger who vows to throw out Roe vs. Wade, the landmark SCOTUS ruling that legalized abortion; she wants to toss out the Affordable Care Act; Barrett intends to make constitutional decisions based on the will of God … which is a tough call given that the Constitution is a secular document.

Ginsburg, of course, represented the “other” wing of the Supreme Court.

So, the fight will commence as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell puts on his hypocrite hat and does the very thing he vowed shouldn’t happen, which is confirm a presidential Supreme Court appointment during a presidential election year.

Senate Democrats won’t sit still for it. Nor should they.

And in the House of Representatives, we hear faint rumblings of House members taking unusual steps to forestall this confirmation process until after the Nov. 3 presidential election.

The founders intended to keep the federal judiciary above partisan politics. As smart as they were, they could not have foreseen what we are about to witness up close in real time.

Let’s hold on with both hands.

Schumer needs to settle down

“I want to tell you Gorsuch. I want to tell Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

So said U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer. He was directing his remarks to Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

They were taking part in a Supreme Court hearing on a controversial abortion case out of Louisiana. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, of course, are two justices nominated by Donald John Trump and approved after bruising confirmation battles in the Senate; Schumer opposed them both.

Sen. Schumer is wrong to threaten these justices. Chief Justice John Roberts took the unusual approach in rebuking the Senate leader, calling the threats leveled by Schumer “inappropriate” and “dangerous.” Yes. They are.

Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh aren’t my favorite members of the nation’s highest court. I want them to rule the right way on this case and I want them to preserve a woman’s right to control her own body. However, Sen. Schumer has stepped way over the line that separates the legislative and judicial branches of government.

Schumer needs to pipe down and let these justices do their job without that kind of intimidation.

Sanctuary cities for unborn? Oh, my … get ready for the fight

Three Texas communities — Big Spring, Colorado City and Rusk — have thumbed their collective noses at a legal activity that I acknowledge fully has its sworn enemies.

The cities all have created what they are calling “Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn.” They have declared that abortion is illegal in their cities and I will presume women who obtain them are subject to criminal prosecution.

Abortion-rights activists are furious, as they should be. Why? Well, it’s a simple notion, truth be told. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy was legally protected under federal law. Subsequent high court rulings have upheld the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

Thus, the activity remains legal. Does it produce a desirable outcome? Of course not. However, I am in no position — nor is anyone else, for that matter — to dictate to a woman how she must make such a gut-wrenching decision. That is her call in consultation with her partner, her physician … and her conscience.

The Texas Tribune reports: The American Civil Liberties Union has said it is seeking to strike them down. Three towns — Mineral Wells, Omaha and Jacksboro — have voted down similar ordinances or walked them back under advice from city attorneys.

Big Spring, Colorado City and Rusk haven’t yet made their decisions final.

I am all for local control. I dislike states telling cities and towns that they cannot, for example, install electronic devices to help police enforce traffic laws. However, the U.S. Constitution remains the law of the land and in the case of abortion, the Supreme Court already has stood behind the Constitution as the final arbiter on the inflammatory issue of whether a woman can choose to terminate a pregnancy.

Texas already has told cities they cannot create sanctuaries to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation. Yes, I am aware of the intense political differences between illegal immigration and abortion.

But the Texas cities that are seeking to create “sanctuaries for the unborn” need to prepare for a fight that they should not win.