Louisiana Set to Ban Abortion

Anticipating the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the Louisiana legislature has passed an abortion ban that Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco says she'll sign. Like South Dakota's ban, Louisiana's allows abortion only when it's necessary to save the mother's life. If that seems extreme, here's another ominous sign for abortion rights supporters (and federalists):

A sponsor of the Louisiana bill, Senator Ben Nevers, Democrat of Bogalusa, said he had led the effort because the Supreme Court had grown more conservative and the time was ripe for change.

"I had a strong belief that we could finally protect the innocent life of an unborn child," Mr. Nevers said. "This is about the U.S. Constitution granting every person the right to life."

The implication is that the Constitution not only permits but requires a federal ban on abortion, which is a belief that abortion opponents probably should keep to themselves for the time being. If the alternative to the Supreme Court's unconstitutional restrictions on state abortion laws is Congress' unconstitutional restrictions on abortion (of which the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act is only a taste), I think I might prefer the devil we know.

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  • ||

    If the alternative to the Supreme Court's unconstitutional restrictions on state abortion laws is Congress' unconstitutional restrictions on abortion (of which the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act is only a taste), I think I might prefer the devil we know.

    I'm not convinced by the argument that it's unconstitutional to tell states they cannot restrict the rights of their citizens. The tenth amendment talks about rights being reserved to the states or to the people. Screw this idea that I have the right to take yours away.

  • ||

    It pains me to say this, but the legislature knows they can only get away with this because of the huge demographic shift due to Hurricane Katrina.

  • Dave W.||

    I'm not convinced by the argument that it's unconstitutional to tell states they cannot restrict the rights of their citizens.

    I don't think anybody is saying that.

    I think the debate is about exactly what the rights of citizens (and non citizens) should be exactly.

    I don't think of late term abortion as a right. Never have.

  • lunchstealer||

    Yeah, I don't think you have to be a 'living document' guy to argue that there's wording in the Constitution that would allow the Supreme Court to secure an individual right against state interference. Between amendments XI, X, and XIV, there's plenty of justification for the non-enumerated right to privacy and right to make one's own reproductive choices.

  • ||

    I don't think of late term abortion as a right. Never have.

    And yet, since the topic at hand is an attempt to ban ALL abortions, I detect the faintest whiff of a non-sequitur.

  • ||

    "This is about the U.S. Constitution granting every person the right to life."

    It's like the Constitution is God!

  • ||

    (tongue in cheek)
    Feti are not persons. They are little wormy looking things that feed off of females. Should we prevent the abortion of tape worms next!

  • ||

    "Between amendments XI, X, and XIV,"

    I'm assuming that first one is supposed to be "IX" (rights not specifically enumerated) as opposed to "XI" (state governments immune to suit by citizens in federal court).

  • ||

    Hooray!!!

  • lunchstealer||

    SR - Dyslexic be may I.

    What? You don't see how proscription of individuals bringing federal suits against states is founded on assumptions of medical and reproductive freedom?

    Seriously, I've never been able to keep my Roman numerology straight.

  • Dave W.||

    And yet, since the topic at hand is an attempt to ban ALL abortions, I detect the faintest whiff of a non-sequitur.

    Just a way of saying that statements about who can or can't restrict rights don't make a lot of sense until after we agree what the rights are or aren't.

    IIRC, from past discussions (and b4 u got famous), you agree that late term abortion is not a right. I seem to recall you making a distinction at viability. I was surprised and glad when I found out u think this way and am hoping that you can convince some of the more extreme prochoicers to join our lil camp. I am certainly working on my prolife family and friends from the opposite direction and have for a few years now.

    Once we build big enuf our concensus about what the "rights" of each involved party should be, I think we will find the constitutional issues to be greatly reduced in urgency.

  • ||

    IIRC, from past discussions (and b4 u got famous), you agree that late term abortion is not a right. I seem to recall you making a distinction at viability

    Yet if I recall correctly, late-term abortions generally don't happen because a woman is 8 and a half months pregnant and then says "I've changed my mind about wanting to be a mommy;" it's a procedure done if the woman is facing some sort of health risk. How exactly will it be an improvement if the state gets to decide whether or not doctors are allowed to perform medical procedures necessary to protect their patients' health?

    At any rate, I hope Louisiana doesn't join South Dakota in its law that once a woman gets knocked up, her status as an incubator supercedes anything else.

  • Dave W.||

    Yet if I recall correctly, late-term abortions generally don't happen because a woman is 8 and a half months pregnant and then says "I've changed my mind about wanting to be a mommy;" it's a procedure done if the woman is facing some sort of health risk. How exactly will it be an improvement if the state gets to decide whether or not doctors are allowed to perform medical procedures necessary to protect their patients' health?

    Here's the algorithm:

    1. we develop a concensus on when an 8.5 month preganant woman should or should not be allowed to abort.

    2. we write the results of that concensus into state law, specifically the state law that determines under waht conditions 8.5 month old fetuses can or can't be aborted.

    Simple really.

    I once spent a morning coming up with some proposed legal standards that should govern when a health risk to the pregnant person such that late term abortion should be allowed. I used non-legal language and I think I did a good job. I think there was a good chance that you would have agreed with the standards I wrote, as would many people.

    Unfortunately I wrote and posted these standards at a liberal site called DU. They kicked me off for this post as well as for other ones that argued that some abortion restrictions were allowable and even advisable within the rubric of the Roe v. Wade decision.

    I am arguing that the problem is not Constitutional. It is people like Randall Terry. It is also people like the numbnuts who kicked me off DU for saying reasonable things in a reasonable way.

    It is people like these DUers that I am trying to sic you on. People who have gotten so far out there on abortion that you can't even discuss the details. Like I said, u take the choicers and I'll take the lifers.

  • ||

    we write the results of that concensus into state law, specifically the state law that determines under waht conditions 8.5 month old fetuses can or can't be aborted.

    Already done--it's already illegal for an 8.5-month pregnant woman to get an abortion because she just doesn't feel like having a baby after all; it can only be done if giving birth will result in severe health consequences. So why exactly do we need to outlaw it altogether, when so far it is only legal when the woman's health or life is at risk?

  • Dave W.||

    "severe health consequences"

    what does that mean in plain English?

  • Dave W.||

    I am not arguing that the Louisana law is good or constitutional or that it will be in force long enuf to have any practical consequences.

    I am arguing that it is a distraction over more important issues like what "severe health consequences" should mean.

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    Since RvW, how many doctors have been successfully prosecuted for performing an unnecessary abortion at 8.5 months?

  • ||

    "severe health consequences" what does that mean in plain English?

    Snarky answer: a consequence to health which will be severe. Serious answer: I have read of cases where the woman got a late-term abortion because she was either at risk of permanent waist-down paralysis, or (ironically) because giving birth to her current child would make it impossible for her to ever have any more.

    We've already got the DEA, rather than doctors, making decisions about whether or not certain types of pain are severe enough to warrant the patient's taking morphine. I don't want the government making even more decisions on what medical care doctors can and cannot provide.

  • Dave W.||

    or (ironically) because giving birth to her current child would make it impossible for her to ever have any more.

    But if she got the abortion she could have had a lot more children? That one sounds kind of suspicious. Tell your peeps to stick with dialysis, paralysis and death cases. Otherwise "severe health consequences" begins to look more like a door than a fence.

    and let's tie this back to the way at least some of the people in Louisiana are probably thinking. They probably understand that their law is overbroad. However, if they give an inch then the opponents will take a mile. So they come out with this barbaric position and hope that at the end of the pushback and the counterpushbacks that the law will end up at a sensible equilibrium.

    I don't like this style of political warfare at all. Not when prolifers do it; not when prochoicers do it.

    I think the best way to avoid it is not to avoid this extremism over the long run is to not be cavalier about the rights of 8.5 month fetuses, rather than to squeeze the Constitution for further insights.

  • ||

    But if she got the abortion she could have had a lot more children? That one sounds kind of suspicious.

    Yes, because everybody knows that pushing a baby through a pinhole is a breeze, and there's no way it could cause complications.

    I'm still wondering at your lack of concern over the implications of allowing non-medically-trained people even more leeway over deciding what medical procedures can and cannot be done. Do you figure the DEA control over who gets pain medication doesn't give the government enough authority?

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    Prior to Roe, abortion was legal in California in cases where the mother's life or health was in danger -- very vaguely defined.

    And in many cases, all it took to get an abortion was to shop around for a psychologist willing to conclude that the mother would commit suicide if she couldn't abort.

    I wouldn't be averse to a life-of-the-mother exception that specified a few known conditions under which life or limb was severely threatened, and left the decision on others to a medical review board not selected by the person seeking the abortion.

  • Dave W.||

    Yes, because everybody knows that pushing a baby through a pinhole is a breeze, and there's no way it could cause complications.

    I am saying that if the 8.5 month fetus will cause the loss of childbearing abilities, then the next one probably would to. She is probably exchanging the current 8.5 month fetus for a child born at a later time. I don't think the mother needs this prerofgative when the downside is abortion of an 8.5 month fetus. Even if the mother were effectively exchanging the current fetus for a whole passel of children to be born later, I still don't think that is fair to the 8.5 month fetus.

    That suggestion about "chance of complications" is exactly the kind of loose talk that pushes the people to fight this fight the way they fight it. Every birth and every abortion carries a chance of complications, including death of the pregnant person. I don't think the 8.5 month fetuses' rights should yield at every margin of the everpresent "chance of complications."

    I'm still wondering at your lack of concern over the implications of allowing non-medically-trained people even more leeway over deciding what medical procedures can and cannot be done.

    I look to the medical profession to tell me what the procedures are and what the likely outcomes associated with each procedure are. I also look to them to tell me (to the extent they can) what fetuses can think or do at each stage of development.

    As far as what is permissible and not, that is a matter for my metaphysics as a human being and a voter, and not something I would ever delegate to doctors and scientists. I don't trust doctors and scientists with the question of whether blacks are inferior, I don't trust them with the question of whether Jewish people are unhygenic and I don't trust them to tell me when a fetus should acquire political rights either.

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    I'll give you the answer to my question: 0 doctors have been prosecuted for performing an unnecessary abortion at 8.5 months.

    Which means that, for all intents and purposes, doing so is legal.

  • ||

    I'll give you the answer to my question: 0 doctors have been prosecuted for performing an unnecessary abortion at 8.5 months.

    Which means that, for all intents and purposes, doing so is legal.


    That statistic on its own is meaningless, without knowing how many doctors actually performed unnecessary abortions at 8.5 months.

    I don't trust doctors and scientists with the question of whether blacks are inferior

    So when doctors and scientists say things like "DNA tests show that blacks and whites are equal," you ignore them?

  • Timothy||

    If anyone needs me I'll be over here eating popcorn and sighing.

  • Dave W.||

    So when doctors and scientists say things like "DNA tests show that blacks and whites are equal," you ignore them?

    well, I would ask them to claify.

    If "equal" means identical DNA, then I would conclude that the doctor is lying.

    If the doctor means something else by "equal" then I would want to know the doctor's working definition of equal DNA.

    As sort of a sidelong example: we know how many chromosomes most humans have because we know at the start that our DNA test subjects are human and we had doctors work backward to count the chromosomes. We don't say: "hey, individual, you have n number of chromosomes so you must be human." That way would count hares as human. More to the point, it might miss some humans with chromosomal abnormalities.

    When the metaphysicist in my head talks to a clinical MD he gets all Jack Webb: "Just the facts, ma'am."

  • ||

    Say, Dave W.;

    Here's the algorithm:

    1. we develop a concensus
    [sic] on when an 8.5 month preganant [sic] woman should or should not be allowed to abort.

    Here's an algorithm for you:

    1. We don't develop a consensus on when women are allowed to abort because her reproductive decisions are none of our goddamned business.

    Nobody's buying the whole "Oooh, but look over here! Late term abortions!" shell game. Actual third-trimester abortions make up a very low percentage of total abortions. Your shell game is the equivalent of someone trying to outlaw cars because a few car owners use theirs for street racing.

    I once spent a morning coming up with some proposed legal standards that should govern when a health risk to the pregnant person such that late term abortion should be allowed.

    I'm sorry to hear you wasted your time minding the business and reproductive habits of people for whom you'd otherwise have not one care in the world.

  • Dave W.||

    decisions are none of our goddamned business

    tell it to Roberts and Alioto.

    Jennifer and I are casting about for a synthesis here. Not playing the same game you have been playing for 30 years now. Time is passing u by.

  • ||

    Nobody's buying the whole "Oooh, but look over here! Late term abortions!" shell game. Actual third-trimester abortions make up a very low percentage of total abortions. Your shell game is the equivalent of someone trying to outlaw cars because a few car owners use theirs for street racing.

    How is this different from the "mother's health" shell game from the pro-choice side--where every 1 instance concerning a mother with legitimate health issues is stretched to cover for 99 other abortions where nothing is at stake except 'convenience'...

  • ||

    How is this different from the "mother's health" shell game from the pro-choice side--where every 1 instance concerning a mother with legitimate health issues is stretched to cover for 99 other abortions where nothing is at stake except 'convenience'...

    South Dakota's law, as currently written, won't even allow that one woman to get an abortion when her health is at stake, so I'd say that since we've already seen certain US governments willing to completely ignore cases where the woman's health is endangered, it's quite worthy of mention.

  • Dave W.||

    South Dakota has less than 1% of the US population. For all I know, SD and Louisiana combined have less than 1%.

    The poster's numbers are therefore resonable approximations.

  • ||

    1. We don't develop a consensus on when women are allowed to abort because her reproductive decisions are none of our goddamned business.

    Exactly. I will throw two cents in and say that it is no man's place to decide the rights of a woman and her choices. No man (not counting hermaphrodites who may have) has ever been pregnant, has EVER made the decision whether to carry life or not to, so has no ethical say. Our country is still so patriarchal that even though the population of men and women is nearly equal, the government (and judicial branch!) is sorely unbalanced and misrepresentative. The pathetic barefoot and pregnant conservative christian idiot women would rather a man be in charge in any situation (unless she is pro-life). Which is why this crap is under discussion in the first place! Yes, women have differing opinions, but it is up to them in the end...so why do we put up with only having ONE woman in the supreme court to protect us?! It is something feminists and libertarian women have been trying to figure out for years.

    Abortion discussions and threats are only a political game to be played, anyhow. People prey on the conservative religious and gullible with words like "murdered babies" and "activist judges" all of the time. I am an athiest and I do not believe that human life is precious in any form, so I am all for late-term abortions if it gives me a bigger share of the resources. How about that statement, mr. W? The "soul" argument can kiss my ass and so can men who want to put their wangs in on these discussions when it is none of their damned business! "U R" only a sperm donor, like males in all walks of the animal kingdom. Get over it and shaddup!

  • ||

    When does GATTACA get here again? :)

  • Timothy||

    Mmmm...popcorn.

  • Dave W.||

    some of those late term fetuses have dicks, kassandra. Just like me. If that matters.

  • ||

    I think the practical effect of such laws (if Latin America is any sort of indicator of a future where abortion is outlawed - abortion being very common throughout Latin America despite such laws) is very minimal for most women in the U.S. Unless these laws are rigorously enforced and states claim some sort of extra-territoriality goes along with these laws. Then you are going to see some significant negative externalities associated with him, much like the externalities associated with our current drug law regime.

  • ||

    some of those late term fetuses have dicks, kassandra. Just like me. If that matters.

    Nope. It doesn't. Your mother obviously wanted you to live, so don't complain. If she had aborted you, well...you wouldn't be here right now, huh? And my mother has had an abortion, do I constantly think about it? NO. She'd probably be in an insane asylum right now if she'd had it. A dick doesnt give you anything but a dick and a Y instead of X. Too bad, huh.

  • ||

    Even assuming a fetus of a particular age deserves human rights, for me what the question basically boils down to is: can the law force Person A to use her body to keep Person B alive?

    If someone will die without a bone marrow transplant, and I happen to be the only person who is a "match," can I be forced to donate my bone marrow against my will? If I have a super-rare blood type, can I be forced to give blood on behalf of someone who needs a transfusion? Can I be forced to give up a piece of my liver? I think most people would say "no" to all of these.

  • Dave W.||

    no kassandra. my dick gives me a vote and my votes says you are quite stoopid in matters of human rights.

  • Dave W.||

    Even assuming a fetus of a particular age deserves human rights,/i>

    what happened to the viability thing, Jennifer. have your sisters come to reclaim you.

    If someone will die without a bone marrow transplant, and I happen to be the only person who is a "match," can I be forced to donate my bone marrow against my will?

    Did you promise to do such a thing. If so, then yeah, you ought to be held to that.

    Now you can't promise things to a fetus. However, if you have carried to the point of viability, then I would argue that you have made a constructive promise to the fetus just by letting it live inside you for so long. You don't get to pull your support away at the last minute, especially given the pain and brain capacities the fetus has developed in reliance upon you.

    a better analogy is to a child. You don't have to feed your child. You can give your child away. What you can't do is start feeding the child and then suddenly decide to stop feeding the child on the grounds that nobody can force you to do anything.

  • ||

    I'm sorry, but I can't figure out the whole "abortion an 8.5 month fetus to save the life of the mother" issue. Are there OB-GYNs that refuse to perform Caesarean births?

  • ||

    Well, it looks like we're going to retread all the same arguments again. What the hell...

    Jennifer,

    The difference is, that in the case of someone needing a marrow transplant, if you do nothing that person will die. In the case of pregnancy, the vast majority of the time, if you do nothing the unborn will live and come to term.

    There is a world of difference between letting someone die by inaction and actively killing them. Abortion is the latter.

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