Opinion by Larry LeDoux, assistant
professor of Communication
| It’s OK to ban nationwide a medical procedure
without providing a health exception, according to Supreme Court
Justice Anthony Kennedy in his April 18 precedent-shattering
majority opinion banning one of two late-term abortion procedures.
It’s OK because the other procedure wasn’t banned.
(One hears an echo through time: was that “yet”?)
It apparently doesn’t matter that the other procedure is
sometimes deemed less safe for women’s health, which is
why medical professionals developed the procedure the congress
and the court, in their medical wisdom, banned.
It apparently doesn’t matter to Kennedy and four other
justices—Anton Scalia, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and
Clarence Thomas—that the procedure they banned has been
found medically necessary in some cases by the American College
of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
It apparently doesn’t matter to the five (wise?) men of
the highest court in the land that their medical opinion endangers
the lives of hundreds of women and may ultimately kill more people
than all the deranged campus gunmen put together.
It apparently doesn’t matter to the five justices, all
Catholic, that, despite their denial that their religion affected
their judgment, they are obeying the mandate of their Pope, Benedict
XVI, who, when he was Cardinal Joe Ratzinger, said that everyone
in public life who supported the right to choose should be excommunicated.
It apparently doesn’t matter to Roberts and Alito that
they are foresworn before Congress and the American people. They
testified, under oath, at their confirmation hearings that they
would respect precedence on abortion, yet here they have overturned
two 30-year-long precedents that required, first, that no new
law impose an “undue burden” on women’s right
to decide for themselves in matters that affect their body, and
second, that a health exemption must be included in any ban of
a disputed medical procedure.
Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman (The Honolulu Advertiser,
April 20, 2007) presents two snapshots of history that remind
us that we haven’t grown out, yet, of a millennium-long
pattern of repression of women that, for the hypocrisy of its
cloak in Christian values, is more serious and devastating than
anything the Islamic jihadists, the Taliban, and Iran’s
In one snapshot, President G. W. Bush is surrounded by middle-aged
white men as he proudly signs into law the Partial-Birth Abortion
Ban. The male-chauvinist politicians who voted for it couldn’t
even correctly name the procedure: except in the mind of the
PR consults who envisioned it, no “birth” is involved.
In the second snapshot, then-President Bill Clinton, vetos an
earlier version of the ban. (It was passed over his veto and
then struck down by an earlier Supreme Court because it lacked
a health exemption and placed an undue burden on a woman’s
right to choose.)
Clinton surrounded himself,” Goodman writes, “with
women who had been through pregnancies that came with an awful
vocabulary: words such as hydrocephalus and polyhydramnios.”
Those women,” Goodman continues, and the doctors that supported
them, obstetricians and gynecologists, “asked only for
one exception to the ban—for serious health risks.”
Practicing medicine without a license is against the law. But
U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales would have to call for
prosecution, and as he has already shown himself a tool of a
corrupt administration, that is too much to hope for. Besides,
he was the winner in this court case.
Lying to the U.S. Congress is also against the law, and since
we do have a congress, now, that is not controlled by the party
of the administration, Roberts and Alito should be impeached,
if not for despoiling women’s rights and endangering women’s
health, at least for having committed perjury before congress
and the American people.
Write or e-mail your congress person now. Call for the impeachment
of justices who lied under oath, and who cannot obey the very
laws they are sworn to protect.