Supreme Court Rejects Arizona Appeal of Abortion Restrictions

Supreme CourtThe United States Supreme Court on Monday turned aside Arizona’s appeal to reinstate its law banning most abortions after 20-weeks. In Horne v. Isaacson (13-402), the state asked the Court to review the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. It declined to do so.

Some twelve states have shortened the period for lawful abortions — below the period set by the Supreme Court decades ago. Rather than 24 weeks, Arizona set a 20 week period.

The appeal presented three potentially sweeping questions: First, where the Ninth Circuit was correct that the “viability” line from Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey remains the only critical factor in determining constitutionality; Second, whether the Ninth Circuit was wrong in refusing to consider fetal pain as a state interest as well as other factors; and finally, whether Roe v. Wade and its progeny should be revisited in light of new medical research.

The Ninth Circuit decision will stand, including the following holding:

As Roe and its many progeny make clear, viability, although not a fixed point, is the critical point. The Supreme Court has recognized that viability varies among pregnancies and that improvements in medical technology will both push later in pregnancy the point at which abortion is safer than childbirth and advance earlier in gestation the point of fetal viability. See Casey, 505 U.S. at 860 . Indeed, such trends led Justice O’Connor to remark, prior to Casey, that “the Roe framework… is on a collision course with itself.” Akron, 462 U.S. at 458 (O’Connor, J., dissenting). But while “time has overtaken some of Roe’s factual assumptions,” prompting the abandonment of the trimester framework, “no changes of fact have rendered viability more or less appropriate as the point at which the balance of interests tips.” Casey, 505 U.S. at 860-61 . Evolving medical realities have not eroded Roe’s central legal holding-that “viability marks the earliest point at which the State’s interest in fetal life is constitutionally adequate to justify a legislative ban on nontherapeutic abortions.” Id. at 860 . Casey could not have been clearer when it stated:

“The soundness or unsoundness of that constitutional judgment in no sense turns on whether viability occurs at approximately 28 weeks, as was usual at the time of Roe, at 23 to 24 weeks, as it sometimes does today, or at some moment even slightly earlier in pregnancy, as it may if fetal respiratory capacity can somehow be enhanced in the future. Whenever it may occur, the attainment of viability may continue to serve as the critical fact, just as it has done since Roe was decided.”

This will not be the last we hear of this issue. Texas and other states are still raising analogous arguments in challenges. Viability as a standard put the abortion rulings in a constant tension with medical science as technology allows earlier and earlier dates of viability. At some point, those advances will be difficult to ignore unless the Court removes viability as such a critical factor in the constitutional analysis.

34 thoughts on “Supreme Court Rejects Arizona Appeal of Abortion Restrictions

  1. Teji:

    DavidM isnt a liar and he knows a good deal about many things. I seem to remember that he apologized for a simple mistake which he readily admitted when it was shown to him.

    Why do you resort to inuendo, name calling, denigration of him, his family and of his beliefs?

    The professor asked for that type of behavior to cease. Apparnetly you missed the memo?

  2. davidm2575 wrote “When children are brought up in a culture that devalues life, there are serious consequences to civilization.”

    Kids are being brought up in a country (USA) where people suffer, go bankrupt and die because they cannot afford the necessary medical treatment that they need. Is this the kind of culture that values life? I think not.

    Kids are being brought up in a country where we send innocent solders to fight wars and die for oil. FOR OIL – NOT FREEDOM. Is this the kind of culture that values life? I think not.

    We are in for some serious consequesces and it has nothing to do with abortion.

  3. David wrote: “Sexual preference is determined by much more than just nature. There are not even discrete boundaries for sexuality. We talk about homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual, and asexual, but these are just convenient stereotypes. In reality, there is a spectrum of sexual preferences that is different for everybody, and one’s genetics, culture, environment, and choices they make determine their sexuality. It is much more complicated than just “one is born with it.”
    I would agree with that.

  4. davidm2575

    … some have a genetic predisposition toward intelligence, but much more goes into intelligence than just that predisposition.

    DNA is not alive, it is a molecule.

    In the new paradigm of genetic science molecular machines in DNA and in cells determine genetic dynamics (The Uncertain Gene – 8). The ribosome is one example of a molecular machine that fabricates genetic molecules.

    Some of the better known evolutionists consider human intelligence to be a lethal mutation (What Kind of Intelligence Is A Lethal Mutation?).

  5. davidm2575

    Dredd wrote: “DNA is not alive, it is a molecule.”

    Yes, so what’s your point?

    (You know I have a Masters degree in Biology, right?)
    Which says nothing about abiotic dynamics of genetics.

    My point also indicates that a masters degree from 1950 is not the same as one from 2010.

    Especially one in biology, which has nothing to do with molecular machines or the genes they manufacture, which are also not biological.

    Biological evolution is not involved in the evolution of atomic and molecular machines over about 10.21 billion years prior to the first biological entity.

    It was all abiotic, like DNA.

    This case is about when a fetus is viable, which does not have anything to do with intelligence.

    Especially genetic predisposition as you mentioned it

    Your supposed genetics of intelligence (“some have a genetic predisposition toward intelligence”) is not implicated in the case, nor is it scientifically viable following the collapse of Eugenics in the previous century.

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