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View Diary: The SCOTUS Is Extraordinary: The Right To Choose (191 comments)

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  •  Stenberg v. Carhart (none)
    could have done more than just 'crumble' Roe; if decided differently, it would have destroyed it.

    Stenberg and the three current "PBA" bans working their way up the judicial appeals ladder are not -- repeat, not -- about banning D&X procedures.

    The pervasive but mistaken notion that these bans apply only to late term abortions is just right-wing spin, a commercial to make them acceptable to the public at large. If you take the trouble to read the laws in question, you will search in vain for even one word about any specific stage of pregnancy to which they might apply.

    This is no accident. As far back as the first version of the "PBA" ban in 1996, Henry Hyde, James Sensebrenner and others openly admitted that the language of their bill permitted the criminalization of all abortion.

    The term "partial birth" abortion cannot be found in any medical dictionary because it is a political term that anti-choice zealots made up as part of their public relations campaign to stigmatize all abortion. When talking about the bans, advocates use graphic language about late-term abortion that is different from anything found in the legislation itself. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which represents most ob-gyn specialists, has rejected these bans, which fail "to use recognized medical terminology and fail to define explicitly the prohibited medical techniques it criminalizes."

    [snip]

    Since the term "partial birth" abortion has no legitimate medical meaning, some in the media have begun an uninformed, dangerous trend by saying that "partial birth" abortion is medically known as dialation and extraction abortion (D&X). Assigning a legitimate medical term to this legislation is something that anti-choice legislators strategically avoided. They want a broad ban on abortion.

    Six staunchly anti-choice U.S. Congressmen including Henry Hyde, Charles Canady and James Sensenbrenner said in a letter dated March 18, 1996 on an earlier version of the bill: "H.R. 1833 does not ban 'D&X' or 'Brain Suction' abortions...the ban would have the effect of prohibiting any abortion [that meets our definition]...no matter what the abortionist decides to call his particular technique."

    If George Bush appoints one more anti-abortion Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court, this interpretation could well become the law of the land, in effect overturning Roe v. Wade.

    The major pro-choice advocacy groups are perfectly aware that this is the case, but lack the will to face and overcome the right-wing accusations of hysterically crying "wolf" that are sure to ensue if they make an issue of it. Instead, they continue to engage these extremists on their own terms -- and continue to lose.

    The text of the Stenberg v. Carhart decision clearly reveals that the courts get it, too, and they have been willing to say so . . . up until now.

    That is why I say, as I have before, that "our" advocacy groups forgot about us a long time ago.

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