Monday, July 23, 2007

Were Abortion Advocates Blowing Smoke or Have We Just Had 97 Days of Remarkable Luck?

The Supreme Court issued its decision in Planned Parenthood v. Gonzales (and Carhart v. Gonzales) on April 18, 2007, upholding the constitutionality of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban and holding that a "health" exception to the statute was not constitutionally required (the law contains a life exception). Abortion advocates argued to the Court that the lack of a health exception in the law would threaten women's health. In the wake of the decision, Planned Parenthood warned that it was "bad news for women's health and safety." A multitude of voices, both among the full-time abortion advocates and those advocates employed as newspaper editorialists warned of the imminent harm women faced as a result of the decision.

As Ramesh Ponnuru pointed out, the number of Partial Birth Abortions performed annually prior to the Court's decision was very much in doubt. But as he notes even the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood's research arm, admits that there were 2200 Partial Birth Abortions in 2000. Accepting this figure, likely a serious understatement, 6 partial birth abortions were performed every day. Ruling out such procedures when necessary to save a woman's life - a circumstance that has never been shown to exist in the real world but nonetheless exempted under the Act - as of today, July 23, 2007, that is 582 partial-birth abortions NOT performed since the Supreme Court's decision came down.

Although the Court noted that its decision would permit an as-applied challenge to the PBA Ban in the case of a woman whose health would actually be threatened were she not allowed to have a partial-birth abortion, and Justice Ginsburg invited such a case in her dissent, no such challenge seems to have been brought. Given that such a woman would presumably need immediate relief from a court - through a temporary restraining order - one would think that if such a circumstance presented itself that the case would almost immediately find its way to court on an emergency basis. At a minimum, one would think that we would have heard well-publicized stories of these women whose health was jeopardized by not being able to have their child delivered alive past the navel (or its head delivered) and THEN killed. It seems that experience is teaching us that the American Medical Association was right when it determined that partial-birth abortion is "not medically indicated."

582 averted partial-birth abortions and NO women harmed. Either an incredible run of luck or perhaps it underscores the biggest victory in the case for life - the unmasking of the abortion lobby's claims that abortion protects women's health.