January 22, 2006 marks the 33rd year of legal abortion in America. Abortion law in America is often misunderstood. Organizations that promote abortion frequently misrepresent current law by inferring that abortion is only legal in the first three months of pregnancy. However, in America, abortion is totally legal throughout the entire pregnancy for any reason, as decided by Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton in 1973.
Changes on the High Court
This past year has seen the opening of two positions on the U.S. Supreme Court. Pro-Life President George W. Bush has had the opportunity to change the face of the Court. Chief Justice John Roberts—a strict constructionist—was sworn in October 2005, and the Senate is still deliberating over Judge Samuel Alito (also a strict constructionist). Strict constructionist judges are vitally important because they strictly interpret the constitution without legislating from the bench. Abortion—and the Roe v. Wade decision in particular—will be the main issue on which the Senate will focus while reviewing Supreme Court nominees. Pro-abortion organizations and liberal politicians are voicing their concerns that Roe v. Wade will be overturned if Judge Alito and other Bush nominees are confirmed. However, even if Roe v. Wade were overturned, abortion would not be banned. The pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights explained, “A Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade would not by itself make abortion illegal in the United States. Instead, a reversal would remove federal constitutional protection for a woman’s right to choose and give the states the power to set abortion policy.”
Some commentators have also been stating that the Supreme Court has been divided 5-4 on Roe v. Wade. However, this, too, is a misrepresentation. While six of the current justices support reaffirming the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, the justices are divided 5-4 on the issue of partial-birth abortion. In 2003, President Bush signed into law a federal ban on partial-birth abortion, but enforcement of the ban has been blocked by litigation in the lower courts (which is again headed back to the Supreme Court). The President’s nominees may very well cast the deciding vote to determine whether this brutal abortion method will remain legal.
Current U.S. Supreme Court Abortion Case
Until November of 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court had not heard an abortion-related court case in over five years. The high court is considering arguments from Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood, a case regarding the constitutionality of a Parental Notice Law in New Hampshire. This law would require an abortion clinic or abortion provider to notify the parent of a minor girl 48 hours prior to her undergoing the procedure. Pro-abortion advocates have been arguing that the law is unconstitutional because there is no exception for the health of the minor. The court must determine whether the law can stand as constitutional without the health exception.
Opinions on Abortion
Polls have consistently found that the American public favors incremental legislation limiting abortion. A November 2005 Gallup poll revealed that 54% of Americans oppose either all abortions or all but “the exceptions” (in cases of rape, incest, and to prevent the death of the mother). This poll also showed that 69% of Americans support Parental Involvement laws, while just 28% oppose them. If states continue to pass legislation such as Parental Involvement, Woman’s Right to Know, and Partial-Birth Abortion bans, then the number of abortions in our country will continue to decrease, and the society’s acceptance of this vile procedure will decline.
Help Ensure Pro-Life Success
You too can help to ensure that this coming year is our most successful yet.
- Pray. Pray daily for the success of the Pro-Life movement.
- Sign up for TRTL email alerts. Throughout the year, you can to stay abreast of the newest Pro-Life issues through Pro-Life Updates, LifeLinks, and TRL News.
- Join a local chapter of TRTL. Please contact us at ProLife@TexasRightToLife.com or (713) 782-LIFE for more information.
- Volunteer. Volunteer opportunities both in and out of our office are available, including thank-you calls to donors, data entry, mailings, special events, organizing petition drives, and much more. Contact the office at (713) 782-LIFE for more information.
- Donate. Donate to Texas Right to Life so that we can expand all our programs and outreach to families in need, to activists, to churches, and to legislators in Austin and in Washington, D.C.