Results tagged “Supreme Court of the United States” from Blog for Choice
Today, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear a challenge to a law that protects women seeking reproductive-health care in Massachusetts - including checkups, birth control, and abortion care - from enduring violence, and harassment by anti-choice protesters outside of reproductive-health clinics.
Massachusetts has a 35-foot buffer zone (the distance of two parking spaces) that blocks anti-choice protesters from approaching women accessing health care. But anti-choice forces are fighting the buffer zone so that they can get even closer when shaming and harassing women entering these clinics.
Anti-choice protesters often hover around reproductive-health care clinics within a certain distance to protest, picket, and hand out anti-choice propaganda to women walking into the clinic - regardless of whether they're at the clinic to get an abortion or not.
These protesters are anything but harmless. Their tactics include screaming, using threats, taking photos, and even spitting on patients. In some of the more extreme cases, anti-choice protesters have been deadly. Most recently, Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas was murdered in his church by an anti-choice protester in 2009.
We reached out to some of our allies who volunteer as clinic escorts. These courageous supporters walk women through mobs to make sure they can get health care safely. They told us what it's like to escort and sent us pictures - we so appreciate their willingness to share their experiences.
This history of violence, harassment, and ripping away patient privacy is why the Supreme Court must rule in favor of women's safety and uphold the buffer-zone law. Nobody should be subjected to harassment or violence when getting health care or making a deeply personal health decision.
Are you okay with allowing nearly half of the states in the Union to ban abortion care?
The reason we're asking is that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee brought it up this week.
I would love the Supreme Court to say, "Let's send this back to the states." Rather than having a federal mandate through Roe v. Wade, let the states again consider this issue state by state.
Sen. John McCain made a similar, "let the states decide" argument in 2008. It's an old line from anti-choice politicians.
It's no big deal if the Supreme Court overrules nearly 40 years of jurisprudence that says a woman has a fundamental, constitutional right to choose safe, legal abortion care, these politicians say. The issue would just go to the states.
But what would it mean if states got to consider the issue of a woman's right to choose, "state by state?"
It would mean very bad news for women throughout the nation.
If Roe v. Wade were overturned today, women could lose the right to legal abortion immediately in 17 states.
Based on analysis of current state laws and the hostile legislative landscape, here is how it could happen:
Fifteen states have near-total bans on abortion already on the books that aren't in effect because they are unconstitutional. Bans in the following states may become enforceable if Roe falls: AL, AZ, AR, CO, DE, LA, MA, MI, MS, NM, OK, UT, VT, WV, and WI.
Four states have laws that would impose near-total criminal bans on abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade (sometimes known as "trigger" bans): LA, MS, ND, and SD.
That brings the numbers of states where abortion becomes illegal to 17. (Louisiana and Mississippi are included in both groups.)
But we shouldn't stop there. Fifteen states currently have anti-choice legislatures and governors that would likely outlaw abortion if Roe falls: AL, AZ, GA, ID, LA, MI, MS, NE, ND, OH, OK, SD, TX, UT, and WI.
Five of these states, GA, ID, NE, OH, and TX, are not in the two previous categories.
So, in total, there are 22 states where choice is at risk if Roe is overturned.
That's 44 percent of the states.
Put simply, overturning Roe v. Wade would mean that a woman's personal, private medical decisions would be up to guys like the gyno-governors, rather than a woman and her doctor.
Just something to consider the next time you hear Gov. Romney or other anti-choice politicians throw around the "let the states decide" line.
Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America, www.ProChoiceAmerica.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
Last week, leading media organizations turned to NARAL Pro-Choice America for our analysis of 12 announced and potential Republican presidential candidates.
The big take-home: these candidates are all trying to outdo each other on who can be the most hostile to a woman's right to choose.
Now, ThinkProgress is reporting that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has selected Robert Bork as the co-chair of his campaign's "Justice Advisory Committee."
Who is Robert Bork?
Back in the '80s, he was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. Americans quickly learned just how extreme Bork's views were: he had spoken out against civil rights, a woman's right to choose, the right to use birth control, and equal protection for women under the Constitution.
Fortunately, a bipartisan majority of senators voted to reject Robert Bork. If Bork had been confirmed to the Supreme Court, it's very possible that Roe v. Wade would have been overturned.
So, it's telling that this is a man Gov. Romney chooses to take his "justice advice" from.
- In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Federal Abortion Ban-- the first federal law ever to criminalize safe medical procedures, with no exception to protect a woman's health.
- Women in the military serving overseas cannot access abortion care at a base hospital where it's safe--even with their own money.
- Thirty-three states restrict low-income women's access to abortion care. And under the Hyde amendment, low-income women who rely on the federal government for their health care cannot access abortion care, with exceptions only to preserve the woman's life or if the pregnancy results from rape or incest.
- Six states prohibit abortion coverage in the private insurance market.
- Eighty-seven percent of counties in the United States have no abortion provider.
From Washington, D.C. to statehouses across the country, pro-choice Americans have our work cut out for us this year if we're going to protect a woman's right to choose.
Here are the facts that you won't find in Ed Whelan's review of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's role in the White House during the debate over so-called "partial-birth" abortion in the 1990s.
Remember, Elena Kagan's writings on this subject put her in the same category as former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Justice John Paul Stevens (PDF), whom she would succeed on the court.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists opposed this threat against women's health. End of story.
The anti-choice movement couldn't get what it wanted from legitimate medical groups so it went as far as to set up its own fake group, the "Physicians Ad Hoc Coalition for Truth," (PDF) solely for the purpose of peddling their lies. Now they're complaining about statements the real medical groups issued? That's ridiculous.
Sadly, we can only imagine that anti-choice senators will take this cue and repeat these claims during next week's hearings.
For the facts about this issue, check out our PDF on the Federal Abortion Ban.
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, issued the following statement on President Obama's selection of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to succeed retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court:
President Obama has selected a nominee with a sound record of legal accomplishment. We call on the Senate to give Solicitor General Kagan a fair hearing and look forward to learning more about her views on the right to privacy and the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. President Obama recently reiterated his strong support for constitutional principles that protect women's rights. We will work to ensure Americans receive clear answers to questions regarding these principles as this nomination process moves forward.
Given the current composition of the court, we will assess Solicitor General Kagan's complete record on privacy and other relevant issues in the same way we did during Justice Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation process. Unlike Chief Justice Roberts or Justice Alito, each of whom had anti-choice records before coming to the Supreme Court, Justice Sotomayor articulated several times throughout her hearing that the constitutional right to privacy includes the right to choose, and thus we supported her nomination for a seat on the nation's highest court.
As we all know, the future of women's access to abortion hangs in the balance. The last two major choice-related cases were decided by a five-to-four margin, and retiring Justice John Paul Stevens is one of the Supreme Court's strongest supporters of the right to choose. His departure could create a vacuum on the Court, and our opponents are going to do everything in their power to obstruct the confirmation process.