Supreme Court

Did Louisiana Enact a Bogus Health Law as a Pretext for Banning Abortion?

The Supreme Court weighs abortion regulation in June Medical Services v. Russo.


Another abortion case is now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. At issue in this week's oral arguments in June Medical Services v. Russo is the constitutionality of a Louisiana law that requires physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. According to the state, the law serves a valid health and safety purpose and should be upheld as a legitimate exercise of government power. According to the legal challengers, the law is a bogus regulation whose only purpose is to harass lawful abortion providers and drive them out of business.

If all of that sounds familiar, it's because the Supreme Court decided a nearly identical case just four years ago. In Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt (2016), the Court struck down a Texas law requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals on the grounds that the law conferred no "medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon [abortion] access" that it imposed.

In most cases in which the constitutionality of a purported health or safety law is at issue, the Supreme Court employs a legal standard known as the rational-basis test. Under this highly deferential approach, the Court effectively tips the scales in favor of the government. "The burden is on the one attacking the legislative arrangement," the Court has said of the rational-basis test, "to negative every conceivable basis which might support it."* In other words, the legal challengers must defeat not only the government's stated rationale for its regulation, but they must also defeat any conceivable rationale that the government (or even the presiding judge) might later invent. To say the least, the government usually prevails in rational-basis cases.

Abortion regulations—even though they also purportedly involve health and safety—are reviewed under a less forgiving legal standard. Here the Supreme Court employs something known as the undue burden test. It originated in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992), in which the Court said that "unnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion impose an undue burden on the right."

One of the central questions that the Court grappled with this week in June Medical Services, in other words, was whether the Louisiana regulation, just like the Texas regulation before it, amounts to an undue burden and should be overruled.

These cases are also notable for the ideological contortions that they sometimes inspire. For example, as I wrote about the legal wrangling over Whole Woman's Health, "the same left-wing legal pundits who normally say that the Court has no business striking down ostensible health and safety laws suddenly find themselves in the unusual position of favoring aggressive judicial action against Texas' 'burdensome and expensive restrictions' and 'sham health laws.' By the same token, conservative legal activists have taken up the mantle of government regulation and are now accusing the other side of seeking 'to use the Due Process Clause as a deregulatory tool.'"

*This article originally misquoted the opinion in Lehnhausen v. Lake Shore Auto Parts Co.

NEXT: Sexism Didn’t Kill the Warren Campaign. The Warren Campaign Killed the Warren Campaign.

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  1. Are there other medical procedures that a doctor can perform without being associated with a hospital?

    1. Answer is no. Most specialists are part of an independent group who verify the competency of the doctor. Abortionists have no such thing.

      To assume that Gosnell was a one time incident is naive.

      1. Gosnell? Gosnell who is never going to get out prison, Gosnell? His case was big news specifically because it was so rare.

        1. By “rare” you mean “caught”.
          Anyway, Gosnell was a piker, Planned Parenthood makes millions trading in human organs “harvested” from third trimester babies.

          1. “trading human organs”. Where do you think those organs go? They’re not being “traded” for souvenirs. They go to other infants who would die without them.

            Again, you guys are so emotional. Try to be rational.

            1. killing a healthy baby to save a sick baby makes no sense but it does make the abortionist and the hospital of the saved baby money

              1. A lot of assumptions in there. Not every abortion is a healthy baby. Most abortions (<88%) are done in the first trimester anyway, where there is no "baby" and no organs.

                The assumptions and conspiracies among anti choice crowd is bizarre and nutso. Emotional thinking run amok.

                1. Where exactly did you get that statistic? My understanding is that Planned Parenthood refuses to give numbers on how many abortion they do a year. Is there a some required database where the procedure and reason must be recorded that I just don’t know about?

                  1. There was a 2006 study that produced that figure. Here’s fox news claiming 90% for the same stat, though:

                    1. I presume you want a steady flow of new children as fodder for your illegal pedophile friends. So they have some TJ game to do when they break our immigration laws.

                2. No more so than the pro-abortion crowd (btw, these are much better terms, including your anti-choice label, than the self serving pro-life vs pro-choice).
                  The passion some people have for making the destruction of human life as easy as possible should be troubling, as well as the hysterical shunning and defensiveness to criticism of the practice.
                  I mean, it’s not troubling to me, as I don’t value all human life equally. But it does make attempts to claim the moral high ground laughable.

                  1. On the moral aspect, the way I see it is this:

                    There is no scientific point at which we can all agree that life begins. So there is no absolutely correct answer. So anyone trying to impose an arbitrary point to the creation of life is imposing their arbitrary beliefs on others.

                    To a certain point, most of us would find some form of that imposition acceptable. For instance, most Americans want abortion to be legal in the first trimester, most Americans do not want Roe v Wade overturned, but most Americans also want 3rd trimester abortion made illegal with very few exceptions.

                    So, seeing as their is no arbitrary point at which science can tell us life begins, we should allow people to make their own choices on the matter, while barring practices that society at large deem near unanimously morally unacceptable (late or “partial birth” abortions).

                    1. Reasonable, but that arbitrary point argument can go both ways

                    2. Because the point at which life occurs is arbitrary, therefore the practice should be banned altogether? Not sure I’m following, can you elaborate?

                    3. That’s easy, life begins with the first breath.

                    4. Fuck you Pedo Jeffy. It is absolutely a person when sentience is achieved. Although it figures you engage in. Ore sophistry, as per usual.

                      It must be a real dilemma for you, murder them, or keep them around for your illegal friends to rape later.

            2. Most of them went to medical practices for medicine and other research.

              Do you know fucking anything about this sibject?

              1. the Germans said the same thing to the Jews and the Japanese said the same thing to American prisoners of war so that makes it okay i guess.

                BTW i have never given my stance on abortion but those who hate any type of questions on the subject seem to like to make a lot of assumptions about the questioners personality and intelligence, that never helps in discussions of this type

        2. Can you name another surgical procedure were the physician doesn’t have to have admitting priveliges? With my 17 years in medicine, much of it rural medicine, I can’t think of any, other than possibly removing a hangnail or wort or something. Now medicinally induced abortions are a different story, but how many of those are actually done in office?

          1. I’m no expert. I wish I had more to engage with you here, but the article is very light on the facts, I don’t work in medicine, and I don’t have time right now to do the reading this would need.

            1. Facts are so hard to find. I wish they would event a way for us to do basic research, maybe even from the comfort of home.

              1. Unlike you, Jesse, I admit when I don’t know something about a topic. I don’t rush to google to become a 3 minute expert.

                1. Hahahaha! JesseAz is a 3 minute expert, hahahaha!

        3. How long dod he operate for? Go look at the non compliance rates for abortion centers in various states for failing basic medical sanitization standards you ignorant fuck.

          1. Be polite, or I won’t give you any attention at all.

            1. Or you could get away forever. And don’t you have a NAMBLA board to moderate?

        4. There have been others, but embargoed by the press

          1. Yeah, but you know about them how…?

    2. Vaccinations? Hangnails? Annual physicals?

      If any of those require hospital associations, that just shows how silly the requirement is.

      1. Because standing on a scale, having your temp taken, and saying “Ahhh” are the same as having a human being forcibly removed from a womb are the same thing.

        Got it.

        1. Did he ask about “medical procedures”? Yes.

          Did I list medical procedures? Yes.

          If I were to practice any of those without an MD, would I be hung out to dry? Yes.

          Are you trying to move someone else’s goal posts? Yes.

          Fuck off.

          1. I think surgical procedures would have been a better question, except for medicenally induced, abortion is a surgical procedure.

          2. “Did I list medical procedures? Yes”
            Explain to me how killing a healthy child is a medical procedure, you sickening fucking ghoul.

            1. Ron called it a medical procedure. You can’t read, can’t connect dots, and also move someone else’s goal posts.

              Fuck off.

            2. Also …. I wonder if you support capital punishment, whether for abortionists and their patients or not. Is that execution by medicine a medical procedure, in your tiny incompetent brain?

              1. So let’s make every abortion subject to a jury of peers, with a court appointed lawyer for the fetus. False equivalency much?

    3. Abortion is the only medical procedure that has it’s own right to be performed.

      1. It may be the only one with protections on the right to be performed, but that’s a matter of necessity, not a question of the right existing. I’m pretty sure if a state tried to ban blood transfusions or amputations (also against some religions) those rights would get protected pretty quick too

        1. Those are live saving procedures. What if a state required plastic surgeons to be associated with a hospital? Abortion is in nearly every case an elective procedure.

          1. Vast majority of plastic surgeons do have admitting privileges or someone on staff who does.

        2. Bad analogy. Blood transfusions and amputations are done to save lives (and no religion bans amputations). Abortion is performed solely to kill someone.

          It’s not a matter of religion (Christian scripture doesn’t mention abortion), but basic human fucking decency.
          Christopher Hitchens wrote in his column for the Nation magazine in April 1989:
          “[A]nyone who has ever seen a sonogram or has spent even an hour with a textbook on embryology knows that emotions are not the deciding factor [in abortions]… In order to terminate a pregnancy, you have to still a heartbeat, switch off a developing brain . . . break some bones and rupture some organs.”

          1. “Bad analogy. Blood transfusions and amputations are done to save lives (and no religion bans amputations). Abortion is performed solely to kill someone.”

            You realize you are 100% wrong here, right? You’ve never heard of a medically necessary abortion? Or the ones they can call “elective” in certain states, but the would-be mother only gets to elect to have a later stillbirth or an earlier abortion.

            Have you ever tried to see things from anyone’s else perspective?

            1. Also, Rastafarianism bans amputation. That’s why Bob Marley died

              1. I thought he was just worried that losing his little toe would fuck up his soccer and dancing.

            2. Something like 95%+ of abortions are elective (basically “I don’t want to have this kid” rather than medically necessary, due to rape/incest, or because it potentially could harm the mother)

              1. I really don’t care if it is 99.9%. That means the government is still creating an unnecessary medical crisis for at least 1/1000 cases.

                Oh well, just a woman getting caught in the crossfire of the anti abortion crowd’s moral imposition. Who cares if it kills a few women, it’s the unwanted babies who matter!

                1. Conflicting rights are a bitch

                2. Now apply that same logic to gun control. If banning anything with more than 10 rounds ends up with 1 out of 1000 women losing their life they are just caught in the gun control moral imposition.

                3. Who cares if it kills millions of healthy babies, right Pedo Jeffy?

            3. We’ve had this argument in the past. Medically necessity is a vague term and rarely applies to abortions to save the mother’s life. Given the risk of abortions in the last trimester, many on/gyns maintain it is safer to actually induce labor or perform a C-section then abort (one of the citation you provided a couple weeks ago documented this). Additionally, during the first and second trimester, there has never been a law against abortion for a pregnancy that truly threatens the mother’s health or her physical well being. They just labeled them (and still do) a D&C.

              1. Now most of the medically necessary abortions are related to health issues of the infant. So the question becomes if the infant has health issues, us that reason to destroy them. This sounds an awful lot like eugenics to me.

                1. So what? Slippery slope arguments are fallacious.

                  And there are 0 downs babies born in some countries in Europe, because they consider it cruel to let someone be born with severe disabilities. Not endorsing that, but showing you that there are a wide range of viewpoints on what is most moral in these cases. You, nor I are the arbiter of truth and morality. Let people make their own decisions.

                  1. I consider your distempered to be immoral. Therefore I should be able to terminate it?

              2. It probably is the case that situations where an abortion becomes urgently essential to save the woman’s life are rare. However, in many cases it is clear that continuation of the pregnancy will likely lead to a situation where an abortion does become necessary. It would be medically negligent for a doctor who anticipated a deterioration of the situation to refuse to take action until it was medically urgent. For the same reason, if you find a tumor you have it removed rather than waiting for it to metastasize.

          2. no religion bans amputations

            Some require them.

    4. The fact that doctor’s offices sometimes exist more than 30 miles from a hospital says yes

      1. If they perform even minor surgical procedures, even if they are so far away, they generally have to have some form of admitting priveliges or an agreement with a physician who does. That is why most rural clinics don’t offer even minor surgical procedures. Abortion, except medicenally induced, is a surgical procedure. Hell even when I got my last colonoscopy, a fairly routine and minor procedure, the surgeon had admitting privileges.

        1. Bu the abortion laws often put a requirement of admitting privileges within a certain distance, effectively banning abortion clinics farther than that from hospitals, even if they could secure admitting privileges

          1. The same thing applies to almost any surgical procedure in rural America. It isn’t only abortion.

    5. Cosmetic Surgery.

      1. Depends on the state and type of cosmetic surgery.

    6. There are a some, not any that have the complication rates if abortion.

      However no other industry outside of abortion centers and back alley practices allow the basic failure of standard medical cleanliness.

      To these people horror clinics like Gosnell dont exist. Those clinics passed regulatory assessments.

      1. It’s funny you guys keep having to bring up a 7 year old case as the best (only) example of all these abortion horrors you like to emote about.

        You’d think that if these “back alley” practices were as common as you make they seem to be, they’d be discovered a little more frequently than once every few decades.

        We shouldn’t expect much rationality from the movement that produced a slew of murderers and terrorists, though.

        1. They are. Strangely enough, MSNBC and WaPo don’t talk about them

          1. Then please point one out for me. It must be reported somewhere.

            1. Do you seriously not know how to use Google? Here is a partial list that is a few years old


              Note the stories of paramedics having to carry seriously ill and injured patients out of clinics that couldn’t accommodate a gurney

    7. re: “Are there other medical procedures that a doctor can perform without being associated with a hospital?”

      Yes, lots. In fact, the vast majority of medical procedures including those which are routinely performed in a hospital may be performed by doctors outside of a hospital.

      Consider, for example, a doctor who volunteers to serve in an impoverished country or a disaster area. Are you really going to try to claim that doctors can’t treat heart disease, set bones or perform surgery just because there’s no fancy first-world hospital around?

      The general standard is that doctors may perform any procedures for which they are trained and qualified. Part of the training includes knowing what facilities are required and knowing what to do when complications arise. Admitting privileges has nothing to do with patient safety. In most jurisdictions, the rule is blatant economic protectionism. In LA, well, it’s still a pretext but the motivations may be mixed.

      1. Perform surgery yes. They are not allowed to perform surgery unless there is a hospital nearby, that they can transport them too. And generally they have to have admitting priviliges.

        1. There may be some states with that requirement but it is not a universal rule.

          And, again, that’s largely a protectionist pretext, not something actually relevant to patient safety.

  2. What happened to the rest of the article?
    It seems to cut off mid argument

    1. For real. I came here to post the same thing. “Oops, there’s the deadline. Oh well. Send it!”

      1. For once with an article on Reason, I was interested in seeing the piece go further

  3. Safe for the woman. Little hard on the child.

  4. For any other surgical procedure would the judiciary even entertain a challenge to safety regulations? This is not about Constitutional issues. This is about protecting the judicial usurpation of legislative authority from the states on the subject of abortion, not medical procedures in general.

    1. If the regulations were devised as to make the surgical procedure impossible or nearly impossible, then yes.

      1. Which is the case in almost all of rural America for most procedures not just abortions.

        1. Are you really going to claim that there hasn’t been a coordinated and purposeful effort to make abortion impossible de facto?

          Abortion is specifically targeted by lawmakers, like in the example in the article, by making abortion particularly hard to do legally. So unless your local freeze a wart off clinic is being targeted with special rules that limit the number of clinics to few or 0 in your state, it’s not an apt comparison.

  5. The only way we will ever get any sort of consistency of law on this issue is if the SCOTUS would for once and all make a decision on the life of the unborn. IF it is a life… abortion is murder. If it is NOT a life… hack away at it. There is no legal arguments to made after that for or against. If it’s a life, privacy doesn’t cover murder. If it’s not a life, then literally nothing is happening, it’s the same as removing a bunion or tumor.

    1. Not exactly, the right to bodily autonomy would still prevail even if you declare the fetus is a life

      1. Ding ding ding.

      2. No it wouldn’t. That is an absurd argument. If bodily autonomy trumps life, then deadly force is justified in any case of assault or violation of your bodily autonomy. Also, the woman created the pregnancy. She can’t claim violation of her bodily autonomy when her own actions created the violation. Libertarians who embrace abortion utterly reject the personal responsibility that necessarily comes with freedom. You want the freedom to have sex, than you must necessarily accept the responsibility for the resulting pregnancy and life that comes from it.

        Abortion tells you who are the actual libertarians and who are just the leftist libertines who don’t like responsibility and think freedom is the way to avoid it.

        1. If you woke up tomorrow with someone else stuck to you. Neither of you consented to this, the operation to remove this person will kill them. Should you be forced to keep this other person alive at the detriment to your own life?

          1. You don’t just wake up pregnant. You take actions that you know risk pregnancy. So if I did something that created that risk and forced that person to person to be there, I couldn’t kill him for being there. So your analogy is so false it can only be called a lie.

            1. The trouble with your “Libertarian” argument is that you are bringing in the government to enforce personal responsibility. You also seem to be ignoring the concept that laws should have majority support from society.

              As for your belief that women who don’t want to get pregnant should never have sex (since no form of contraception is 100% effective), that does not sound like a fun society to live in.

            2. There’s a few obvious points here. The first of which that no, not every time someone gets pregnant do they take acts that creates that risk.

              Two, the point of the question is to focus on a specific element of the greater issue. Abortion is actually a complicated issue, and one worth working through the different angles of it. It is not meant to be a perfect analogy.

        2. Guess what? Lethal force IS justified for violations of bodily autonomy (such as rape) but not all assaults rise to the level of a violation of the right to bodily autonomy, so that’s where disparity of force laws come into play, but since pregnancy isn’t a criminal assault they don’t apply here

          As for the woman’s own actions crating the pregnancy, that doesn’t make a damn bit of difference, unless you are one of those people think raping a drunk woman is OK because “her own actions” led to her being drunk

          1. Guess what? Lethal force is only justified if you have a reasonable fear your life is in danger. So, no, rape does not justify or ordinary assault does not justify lethal force.

            And yes, the woman creating the situation means she cannot commit murder to get out of it. Unless you think all sex is rape, which you are so stupid and dishonest you probably do or will claim to do so, then she is responsible for her condition and can’t take the life she created and never consented to be there.

            1. You’re the one who forgot to state whether you would support an exception for rape, so it’s a bit rich calling other people stupid.

              Your legal analysis is also incorrect by the way, perhaps research these things before parading your ignorance.

            2. Lethal force IS definitely justified for rape. Are you seriously claiming that a victim has to suffer the rape, if her only chance to defend herself is to shoot the bastard? No, she has every right to shoot the bastard. Same applies to torture – if you decide to kidnap a girl and torture her for several months in your dungeon, then release her, she is NOT obliged to stay there until you mercifully choose to release her – if her only chance is to shoot you, she is definitely justified. Same applies to a person that decides to jump on your back and refuses to climb down. You are not obliged to carry them for months until they choose to let you be. If you can get them off your back with as little harm to them as possible, great. But even if they were certain to die, you still would NOT be obliged to carry them around on your back only so that they don´t die. You would be entitled to seek relief from pain and autonomy for your body that IS being violated by someone else.

          2. “Outlawing the termination of human life = raping an unconscious person”

            Great argument

        3. Or we just want people to not involve the government when it comes to medicine.

          Consider this case: A couple very happily gets pregnant. They want this baby very much. About 15 weeks in, they get some bad news. Test come back positive for Trisomy 18, and further testing shows the case to be particularly severe. The chance of survival for this fetus is effectively 0%, but miracles can happen. The best case scenario in all of medical literature is that the fetus somehow survives birth (effectively 0 chance, but we are talking about all of recorded medical history here), lives a life full of additional surgeries, constant pain, and the mental capacity of the most severe downs cases (best case), then dies sometime before reaching its mid-teens.

          The couple decides to abort, because it seems cruel to deliver an infant who could only live to suffocate immediately after birth, and the real risks that still exist in delivery seem too risky to justify such a short and painful existence for this fetus.

          In several states, this would be an “elective procedure”. Worse yet, proposed “heartbeat laws” would have made this procedure illegal. Even the most liberal of anti choice laws still require this would-be mother to get another humiliating and pointlessly cruel ultrasound (there’s a picture of a baby you thought you would have, yay!), possibly face a panel of government busybodies, which would delay the procedure more, again adding more cruelty and medical complication.

          It’s not all about hedonism and responsibility. You can’t just scold away every problem, or tell women to close their legs.

          It’s almost as if you guys have a very limited imagination and empathy.

          1. Or we just want people to not involve the government when it comes to medicine.

            Do you really think that this applies to most people who are ardent supporters of the right to abortion? I mean do they think that it should be much easier to introduce or try novel therapeutics? Novel diagnostics? Do they think that the insurance market should be totally deregulated? Perhaps you do, but I suspect most in this group do not.

            1. I think most pro choice people see abortion as a medical procedure that is between patients and their doctors. I think they are likewise suspect of many anti-abortionists being concerned for babies, when they actually seem to hold a lot of other beliefs (see John) that are consistent with misogyny.

              1. Yet many of these same people would happily outlaw private healthcare and turn every medical decision into one between a patient, her doctor, and the central committee. That is my point. It is hard to take someone seriously about “my body my choice” when it mysteriously only applies to one or two procedures.

                1. They may have very different opinions than you and I about who should pay for what, but they (naively) separate the choice and who pays parts of that. They think they should be allowed to choose, and also think medical care should be government paid. I’m not here to defend that.

              2. Acknowledgment of personal responsibility does not equal misogyny

                1. Accountability is quite frequently used as a cover for misogyny. It’s no accident that the anti abortion crowd is made up mostly of religious conservatives who also see a woman’s primary place in society as the house.

          2. Or maybe we have the government enforce murder laws you ignorant retard. you are so stupid you think begging the question amounts to an argument. It is not medical care. It is murder. And whether it is murder is the whole issue you blood thirsty moron.

            1. John, you really are a miserable piece of shit.

              So you would force people to give birth to doomed fetuses. Cool. Totally not insane.

            2. Murder laws. You are much more disconnected from reality than I thought before. Are you cycling your meds on and off? Don’t do that.

          3. Hmmmm, very interesting. Now what if the parents hadn’t done the test. They didn’t know about the problem until the child was born. The infant is now born and faces all the pain and surgeries you mentioned. Is euthanasia acceptable at this point in time? How about nine months on? Whatever you answer, that’s what an honest look at abortion looks like.

            1. But they did do the test, so now they face a choice. A choice some fake libertarians think the government should make instead of individuals.

              1. If the child had been born is euthanasia acceptable? Your answer to that question is the honest answer to your own original question. A human nine months and six days from conception still inside the womb should have the same rights as a human 8 month ten day from conception that is outside the womb does. Anything else is belief that the birth canal magically imbues us with human rights, which is just silly on its face. So if you can kill the latter human to spare it pain and surgeries, you can kill the former human to spare it pain and surgeries. If you can’t kill the latter then you can’t kill the former.

                1. I don’t agree with your logic, whatsoever. Aborting the fetus protects the mother as well as the fetus. Killing a baby only spares the baby. The risk to the mother has already passed.

                  And the fetus isn’t the only one with rights in your scenario. The would be mother still undergoes significantly more risk by going through with the remainder of the pregnancy.

                  Would you force a woman with a doomed fetus to bring it to term?

                  1. Really, you sure the risk is passed? She’s being forced to be in contact with medical professionals and the increased risk of serious hospital born diseases for the child that is one month younger and outside the womb. I mean as long as we are talking about risks that aren’t just lower than 1% but 1/100 of 1% in the United States.

                    Look if I’m throwing knives 100 feet away from you at a wall in the opposite direction from you, you do not have the right to use physical force to “protect” your life from the “danger” I’m putting you in. If I’m 3 feet away from you and throwing knives millimeters from your head, you have the right to defend yourself physically.

                    An individual moral standing to initiate violence with the intent to kill against an innocent third party follows a similar continuum, and passage through a magic birth canal doesn’t change that it is still a continuum.

                    1. Dude, I’m not really following this hypothetical anymore. You’re mixing metaphors now.

                      My basic question still is: do you force women to bring doomed fetuses to term?

                  2. You are an idiot about childbirth.

                2. Being born isn’t “magical” but it does result in the removal of the physical link between fetus and mother. This removes the risk of health problems with the infant causing complications for the mother, and the infant is no longer dependent on the mother for its source of oxygen and nutrients. The mother can physically walk away from it if she wants no further involvement (i.e. no need for euthanasia). She can put it up for adoption or whatever.

                  If medical science found a way to extract fetuses and continue to grow them in a jar of chemicals, then yes it would be arbitrary to distinguish between the life of the unborn versus the born. But as there is no way for a fetus to remain alive after extraction from the womb, there is a fundamental difference between the two. (Please don’t waste your time posting about third-trimester fetuses that were aborted despite being viable – unless you have actual evidence that such things happened, and that it would have been possible to procure a live birth without increased risk to the mother.)

          4. I actually know two couples who faced something almost like this, and was nearly forced to confront it myself.

            One couple had an anencephalic baby. No brain at all. Cannot live more than a few days at most – usually die at birth. It was absolutely confirmed by high resolution ultrasound. They are christians and opposed to abortion in any case. In her case, she developed gestational diabetes. It was quite risky. She ended up hospitalized. It was about as horrific a pregnancy as you might imagine. Her health was being harmed.

            They carried the baby to term. It lived for several hours. They grieved and buried their child.

            The other couple had the same diagnosis. They were on their 3rd year of fertility treatments. It was devastating. Because their chances of having a baby were already so low, they opted to abort, to reduce the damage to her body and get her back to being ready to try again sooner. They had been through multiple miscarriages, so they chose to view it as just another miscarriage.

            Those types of cases are pretty rare. But not rare enough. I promise you, having been there for both situations, you don’t want to go through that. Either way.

            Mine was a dodged bullet. We had a test that indicated a high risk of severe developmental problems – 22% chance. We were getting older, and were not going to get many more chances, so it was important. Carrying a non-viable baby to term might mean never having another child. Pregnancy had been very rough on her. Having been through many miscarriages, I was familiar with the emotional roller coaster. I have held my perfectly formed child’s lifeless body in my hands – stillborn due to a placental abruption at 8 1/2 months. We were acutely aware of how precious life is. This hit hard.

            They offered amniocentesis to get a complete answer – risky in itself. Since the 22% chance was not “handicapped baby” but “severe deformity resulting in death”, we opted to find out…. not having a clue in the world what we would do with that information.

            The results were fine. It was a false positive. Scared the crap out of us, but we avoided having to make any choices. My daughter is beautiful and brilliant – gifted in the top 1% academically and an all-around athlete. But she scared the crap out of us.

            I have my own opinions about what I might do – but I damn sure don’t want anyone else substituting their judgement for mine in that situation. And I sure as hell don’t presume to know what is best for others either.

            That said, people using abortion as a last resort for birth control really offend me in a deep way that can only be accessed if you’ve been through the loss of a child, or maybe the trauma of infertility.

            1. I’m so sorry you went through that, I truly empathize. Happy it worked out for you in the end.

              The scenario I outlined above was actually mine and my wife’s. I didn’t want to make it personal because it will only be used against me, and I really shouldn’t invite blood pressure spikes like that.

              The thought of us having to face a government panel, or even just wait for some approval by a bureaucrat while we were going through that mess is sickening to me. It’s easy for people who have never been in this position to hand wave it away. “Just keep your legs closed,” or “if it really is necessary, the government will approve it.” Oh, nice. I can just wait and see if the government lets me spare my wife the horror of giving birth to an infant just to let it suffocate in front of us.

              We also had 2 miscarriages previous to the abortion, one fairly late. We also view the abortion as another miscarriage. We have had 2 healthy children since then.

              1. The thought of us having to face a government panel, or even just wait for some approval by a bureaucrat while we were going through that mess is sickening to me.

                Totally understandable. Now imagine what terminal cancer patients go through…

                1. I’m not pro socialized medicine, although nor am I pro-whatever you call our current mess, either.

              2. We tend to find each other, don’t we. In a room you can always tell.

                It seems that so many of my experiences reinforce my belief system, one which is grounded in “I’m pretty sure I’m not smart enough to run your life for you… and I’m damn sure you’re not smart enough to run my life for me”

                Unfortunately, there is a large cadre of people who think they can substitute their judgement for yours. You can’t. It is wrong to try. Even if they screw it up, it is their life to screw up.

                If I was in the dorm at Harvard back in 1975 when Bill down the hall got the call from a buddy to drop out and go work with a group of guys in a hotel room making something for an electronics hobbyist toy, I’d have told him he’d be crazy to go. You don’t drop out of Harvard for something like that.. .especially not in 1975. Mr. Gates has donated Warren Buffet’s net worth to charity in the intervening years, not to mention having played a key role in revolutionizing the way business is done.

                This current debate is complicated by unanswerable questions with unknowable key variables. “You aren’t in any position to substitute your judgement for theirs” is a pretty good place to plant your flag in that situation.

                1. Well said.

                2. Like slave owners
                  We really dont know enough about the proper care and feeding of slaves to tell them their business

                  1. Fuck off, simpleton.

                    Have you found me any evidence of these super secret media blackout abortion clinic house of horrors stories yet?

                    1. Does your stupid ass know how to Google?


            2. Thought-provoking. Thanks for sharing.

          5. “It’s almost as if you guys have a very limited imagination and empathy”

            And you’ve clearly never known anyone with a disabled child

            1. One of my closest friends has a disabled child. What’s your point?

            2. He never knew his parents?

              1. Good one

          6. That sounds an awful lot like eugenics. We need to keep abortions legal because some babies are born less than perfect. Where do you draw the line.

            1. “less than perfect”

              Look man, we’re not talk if you can’t be honest and engage in good faith. A doomed to die before birth or just after birth fetus is a lot more than “less than perfect”.

              I’ve had to draw my own line. That line was drawn at: this baby will almost certainly not live to term, and if it does, will suffocate in minutes.

              And the point is I don’t draw the line for others, and neither should you.

        4. Abortion tells you who are the actual libertarians and who are just the conservatives who want to smoke weed

      3. Nope, bodily autonomy doesn’t apply when there is no conscious action. You can’t stab someone to death just because they passed out and landed on top of you. You definitely can’t stab them to death if you intentionally made a decision that you knew could cause them to pass out on top of you in the first place.

        When rights come into conflict the tie breaker first goes to the person who initiated the conflict. If that can’t be determined they go to the greater right. The right to be alive is greater right than the right to bodily autonomy, as the loss of the former is by its very nature inclusive of the loss of the latter.

        1. So if I’m dying of kidney failure and you are the only person who can donate a kidney to me, my right to life trumps your bodily autonomy and I can force you to give me your kidney? Nope, your bodily autonomy wins and I die.

          1. Nope, because you would be initiating the conflict of rights in that situation.

          2. So if I’m dying of kidney failure and you are the only person who can donate a kidney to me,

            One, more than one person can donate to any single human.

            Two, see one.

    2. Consistency? How?

      Bonnie, Kate and Tess are all 7 weeks pregnant.

      Bonnie is excited, she’s been trying so hard to have a baby.

      Kate is annoyed. She should have caught this sooner, she could just have taken the pills. Now she’ll have to pay.

      Tess doesn’t know she’s pregnant. She’s only had sex a few times, and she ALWAYS uses protection.

      Which is a life? The only difference between them is the state of the mother’s mind.

      But the government has actually already made up it’s mind.

      If some maniac was to kill Bonnie, Kate and Tess while they were pregnant they’d face 6 counts of murder–not three–no matter what the mother’s state of mind was.

      To the state, in the case of murder, the fetus is counted as a full human life.

      And yet we continue to pretend otherwise.

      1. There are very few cases where the law is actually consistent or logical.

        To wit: Drunk driving vs being drunk and therefore unable to consent to sex, resulting in charges of rape. (bonus points for being drunk and unable to asses the ability of someone else’s level of intoxication is irrelevant to the law).

        1. God, I hate that double standard. I’ve gone round and round with people on that and have gotten stupid answers like drunk driving is really a punishment for not making good decisions before you get drunk.

          1. That analogy would only make sense if the car was a person and forced the drunk person to drive it home without obtaining consent. (A much bigger problem with drink driving laws is the fact they’re based on an average number rather than being a measure of someone’s reaction times and motor skills. Which would be harder to test, and probably a lot of old people would lose their licenses.)

            1. The point centers around mes rea.

              They say you that if you are intoxicated you are not responsible for your actions, so if you have drunken sex and later decide that you didn’t actually want to…. you have been raped. That is the law, and your partner will go to jail for rape.

              Meanwhile, if you are too drunk to be responsible for your decisions to have sex and you hop into a car, you are responsible for that decision. You can go to jail for that decision.

              With the same level of intoxication you are too drunk to be responsible for your decisions as pertains to sex (if you are of the proper gender, in almost every case), and yet responsible for your decisions if you get behind the wheel.

              It is a blatant and obvious contradiction.

              But if that doesn’t work for you, I’ll note the cases where 14 year old kids have been prosecuted as adults for child pornography for sending naked pictures of themselves to their boyfriend/girlfriend. The same person is both a child incapable of making choices with such consequence and an adult responsible for their choices in the same transaction.

              As I said, the law is neither logical nor consistent.

    3. It can be a life without being a person. I think that is an important distinction. Is an undifferentiated clump of cells a person? If not, when exactly does it become a person? Can anyone even know?

      This is a really complicated issue for many reasons. Many 1st term pregnancies aren’t viable. The lack of viability isn’t always known right away. Later term pregnancies can become non-viable in rare cases and often it isn’t certain that they are non-viable. In very rare cases late term pregnancies can be a threat to the health or life of the mother. How can SCOTUS make a sweeping decision on something like this? How can you say abortion is murder in all of those cases? Do we really want to force all mothers to carry their pregnancies until they either naturally miscarry or give birth? At the same time, it’s really hard to see how anyone could justify killing an otherwise healthy fetus past the point of viability.

      This is a controversial issue and it’s bad to let government use the threat of force to decide controversial issues. I would feel more comfortable with a legislative decision, than a sweeping judicial decision, but not by much.

    4. You never heard of justifiable homicide? You never heard of presumed consent?

      If the thing you’re killing (animal or vegetable) doesn’t care about living or dying, and isn’t owned by anybody who cares about its living or dying, what’s the objection? All value is subjective, including the value of living. Subjective means thinking about it. If you can’t think about it, you have no values.

  6. >>Another abortion case is now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    good. there should be one a week until those knuckleheads stop permitting murder in the name of the state.

    1. Man, you are some emotional people. “permitting murder in the name of the state” Pearl clutch any harder?

      1. see me over on the death penalty page too, Holmes. murder is murder and state is state

        1. Morning after pills are murder? Jerking off is murder? Where do you draw the line, homie?

      2. What else do you call killing someone for your personal convenience.
        You’re not one of those disingenuous idiots who tries to pretend that a child is some sort of organ that only becomes human when blessed by the Birth Canal Fairy, are you?

        1. So…Jewish?

        2. Every abortion is for “convenience”? You are mistaken, again. Please take your emotions out of this for a moment.

          1. Every abortion is for “convenience”? You are mistaken, again. Please take your emotions out of this for a moment.

            Elective abortion is the only issue.

            No one is complaining about medically necessary abortion.

            1. But they are. See: . That’s not some wingnut blog, either. The anti abortion crowd is nutso.

              Heartbeat laws, etc. would all eliminate medical exceptions, vastly limit the cases where an abortions would be deemed medically necessary, and in all cases now involve some sort of government panel that the suffering woman has to face, delaying the procedure an increasing associated risks.

              And the laws like Louisiana’s here eliminate all abortion providers in huge geographic areas, making it harder for anyone to get an abortion, medically necessary or not.

        3. Do you believe a clump of undifferentiated cells is a person with the same rights as an adult human? If so, I hope you can understand why not everyone else feels the same. It is possible to support first trimester abortion rights, but oppose third trimester abortions.

          1. Do you believe a clump of undifferentiated cells is a person with the same rights as an adult human?

            No, I don’t.

            What does that have to do with this issue? Human fetal cells start differentiating on the first day.

          2. Ok smart guy…what is consciousness? who is to say the “clump of cells” has no sentient thought? Quantum mechanics strongly suggests there is primitive consciousness at the electron/quark level….morality demands we treat life at conception…

  7. Now if we can just apply this reasoning to gun rights.

    1. Agree. How can the SC allow states to treat an enumerated right (gun rights) to basically rational-basis, and limit it in any way they see fit so long as it doesn’t completely ban it. Then they take the “right to abortion”, not listed in the constitution at all, not under federal authority, much less on the bill of rights, and decide that any state law increasing difficulty or cost is unconstitutional?

      1. It’s in the Bill of Rights, the 9th amendment.

        1. And the 10th amendment?

          1. I’m no legal scholer, but my understanding is that that 10th limited the Fed govt to only what authority was given to it in the constitution. Abortion and gun regulations were not ceded to it, so as I said, neither are under federal authority. And the 9th retained all other rights not mentioned, to the people and the states. While abortion arguably could be included, that only bans the feds from involvement, neither regulation nor protection, not state regulation. All of this misses my point, Abortion is not specifically mentioned as a right that shall not be infringed, yet it enjoys greater federal protections from both federal and state regulation than gun rights which are specifically protected from any Fed infringement, and supposedly state infringement as well, as it is supposed to be one of the rights from the bill of rights that is applied to the state governments as well. (Not sure why some but not all of the bill of rights haven’t been protected against the states, but that’s another topic)

  8. Why do abortion clinics get so many free passes? In any other area of medicine, regulation is extremely burdensome and virtually nobody bats an eye. Why does nobody argue for other kinds of medical freedom?

    1. Because the pro abortion people are in fact pro infanticide. So, teh resulting butchery that happens as a result of there being no oversight is their desired end.

      Planned parenthood, aborts children, dismembers them while they are still alive, and then sells their organs for profit. And the sick pathetic left libertarians think that is great and anyone who objects is just a statist. Nothing says NAP like murder and dismemberment for profit.

      1. I have to say, a number of years ago when I read some Catholic scholars writing about a “culture of death,” I brushed it off as overwrought. But now I see many of the very same people who say “my body my choice” and demanding unlimited access to abortion and euthanasia are mysteriously silent on reforms to the drug discovery process. In other words, you have a right to kill yourself, but don’t even try to survive. Culture of death indeed…

        1. I am the same way. I was always a bit naive about that. But the last few years and especially the truth coming out about planned parenthood selling body parts for profit ended any naivety I had.

          1. You just admitted to believing a bunch of selectively edited tapes, so your naivety isn’t over yet.

      2. You know, it’s possible to be against Planned Parenthood and third trimester abortions, while still being for the right to choose a first trimester abortion, right? Most people on the pro-choice side aren’t extremists, just like most people on the pro-life side aren’t looking to physically attack abortion clinics. Not everyone on one side is a Gosnell (and not everyone on the other side is in the Army of God.)

        1. They all claim to be reasonable, but they never act on it. I have never met a person who claimed to be pro choice who wouldn’t absolutely go to the mattresses for Planned Parenthood. The 99% of abortion advocates who embrace a culture of death and infanticide give the other 1% a bad name. You are right.

          If you are pro choice, you own planned parenthood. If you don’t like that, stand up and demand they be held accountable for what they do.

      3. A child is a person between the ages of birth and puberty. A fetus isn’t a child.

    2. More than that – why are abortions forced into special clinics? Either it is a legal medical procedure or it isn’t. We should decide one way or the other. This half-measure is terrible.

      It results in crappy clinics with really sketchy incentives.

    3. Here’s what is hilarious about Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt, the TX law that was overturned as an “undue burden”. It required admitting privileges, but it was overturned because it said abortion clinics must meet the same physical standards as ambulatory surgical centers, meaning a parking lot that can accommodate wheeling a patient to a car driven by someone else at discharge, handicap parking, wheelchair access, hallways and doorways wide enough to fit a rolling bed or ambulance gurney, etc
      Whole Women’s Health was in an old dump not up to code, so it would have been an “undue burden” to upgrade to operate in a safe environment like every other doctor and dental surgeon has to.

      The hilarious part is, had they opened up a dress shop instead of an abortion clinic in the same building, they could have been sued to oblivion under the ADA for not having doorways and aisleways wide enough, 2 wheelchairs not being able to fit between clothing racks, or having the bathroom mirror 2 inches too high. There are professional troll scouts who go into retail businesses on behalf of bottom-feeder lawyers looking for even the most minor ADA code violations. They need not be actual customers, or even disabled, they just make their living suing shop owners.

      All the talk about abortions being “safe” is bullshit. The same people who want to regulate speech despite the first amendment, the same people who want to regulate guns despite the second amendment, the same people who want to regulate every single aspect of life down to your lightbulbs, your toilet, how much salt can be in your food, and how big of a soda you can buy, those people will not allow a single regulation on their unholy sacrament Abortion, no matter how logical or even necessary it might be.

      If you told the progtards that more pregnant women are killed by shoddy abortions than by “assault rifles” every single year, they still wouldn’t care.

      1. Dylann Roof killed 21 people – in that same year only two women died from abortions. So not really “every single year”, was it?

        And seriously, soda bans? Please list the places that have soda bans (hint: not California, not New York).

        Get a grip on reality.

        1. Dylan Roof used a handgun, idiot.

      2. All the talk about abortions being “safe” is bullshit. The same people who want to regulate speech despite the first amendment, the same people who want to regulate guns despite the second amendment, the same people who want to regulate every single aspect of life down to your lightbulbs, your toilet, how much salt can be in your food, and how big of a soda you can buy, those people will not allow a single regulation on their unholy sacrament Abortion, no matter how logical or even necessary it might be.

        to these people, a woman’s right to choose ends at her lady lips!

  9. When will someone please tell me why, when a woman gets pregnant, their body, all of a sudden, becomes property of the State? And please, no “moral” arguments based on religious teachings (there are more than a few people who believe that ensoulment occurs only after birth (in some cases forty days after birth).

    1. Albert, does an abortion involve one person or two?

      Scientifically, that question is unanswerable. There is no clear legal basis for an answer to that question, either. It is inherently a moral question based on your opinion about when “life” or “personhood” begins.

      If you believe that the answer is two, then the State has an interest. The State’s interest is based on the presumption (which we pretty much all accept) that the State has a role in protecting those who cannot protect themselves. We don’t have police to protect the body-builders, we have police to protect the weaklings they pick on. IF the fetus is a person, then the State’s role in protecting the fetus is the inevitable extension of that principle.

      So to answer your question, it simply can’t be answered the way you phrased it. There is a “why” but it depends on moral judgement – and religious teachings are one of our sources of morals.

      1. “So to answer your question, it simply can’t be answered the way you phrased it. There is a “why” but it depends on moral judgement – and religious teachings are one of our sources of morals.”

        Which is my problem. The concern, with those who oppose abortion, seems rooted in the concept of a human “soul” (or “spirit,” or whatever) which inhabits the fetus, thus giving it special properties which other things, such as animals, don’t have.

        The existence of such “soul,” cannot be proven to exist.

        Therefore, it seem to me to be a rather weak excuse on which to deny the rights of women the control over their own bodies.

        1. Try burning a puppy with chemicals, cutting off its legs, and then opening up its skull to remove its brains. See if you get in trouble.

          “Oh Noes, Religion” has become the idiot’s offramp to debating seriously

          1. So, one’s belief in a deity, be it Yahweh, Krishna, or The Flying Spaghetti Monster, somehow justifies making a woman’s right to have control over their body subservient to the wishes of a bunch of government bureaucrats pretending to be acting as the enforcer of the commands of said deity?

            1. No, you blithering moron, plenty of atheists are pro- life. Absolutely no one is arguing religion except morons like yourself.
              The abolitio n movement and the civil rights movement both began and were at home in the church. Do you therefore have problems with them? Can they be dismissed out of hand? Were only churchgoers antislavery and anti- Jim Crow? Exactly how limited and beholden to ad hominem fallacy are you?

              1. I will ignore the “moron” parts.

                “…plenty of atheists are pro- life…” I don’t have the stats, but I don’t doubt that many are.

                “The abolitio n movement and the civil rights movement both began and were at home in the church. Do you therefore have problems with them?” No.

                “Were only churchgoers antislavery and anti- Jim Crow?” Of course not.

                But all these movements you mention increase individual rights, rather than limit them. And, it is also true that many deeply spiritual people, whatever their belief system, while they might never condone abortion, don’t seem to have the desire to criminalize it.

                Over eighty percent of Americans claim a recognized religious belief, yet sixty percent of Americans support reproductive rights. Are they all “misguided?”

                1. Jeezus you are dense. Anti abortion laws certainly infringe on a woman’s eights the same way anti-slavery laws infringe on slaveholders rights. Or gurantee the rights of the enslaved or the unborn. Pick your poison.

    2. Cause at some point we consider a developing human life as *their own* property, with a right to societal protection, and not the property of the mother.

      I’m pro abortion but am generally more annoyed by pro abortion arguments because they’re just not honest. They’re intellectually brain dead. There’s always this blanking out of the question of when and on what grounds are we going to grant the developing human life societal protection.

      At *some point* we do.

      And note the outrage over a woman’s bodily autonomy while pregnant, but the *lack* of outrage for male indentured servitude for *18 years*.

      It’s strange how few people seem in any way capable of an honest argument about anything. The emotion whips up, and it’s all rationalization from then on.

  10. Roe holds that a fetus isn’t a person so the answer to your question is one.

    1. Seriously quoting the Supreme Court? Known for bad decisions and usurping power Never given to that branch in the Constitution. States have the final say in Federal Law NOT the SC…

    2. Hmmm, are blacks 3/5 of a person?

  11. As a long time libertarian, it is unfortunate so many “libertarians” miss the boat with abortion and immigrations. From a natural rights perspective, everyone has a right to life and liberty and property. Natural law is such that conception is life. the non aggression principal is pretty solid on this as well. sucking your body into parts is surely violence of the worst sort. Legally the Federal Govt has NO input on this issue. It isn’t mentioned in the Constitution and hence was never given by the States to the Federal Govt for a “decision.” This subject resides in the states bar a constitutional amendment one way or another.

    The “cosmo” woke libertarians get all uppity about abortion but the Federal Reserve is destroying lives, killing millions overseas, and putting massive burdens on our children but hey “as long as Ms. Woke and Mr. Woke can bang all they want with no responsibility and then kill the’s all good dog…

    Again Reason needs a solid cleaning of real libertarians and not “if it feels good do it..”

    1. Left vs right libertarian. Reason is solidly on the left side. Freedom is naturally balanced by responsibility. Asserting freedom in the absence of responsibility is a step in the direction of positive rights that this site keeps toying with.

    2. “Natural law is such that conception is life”


      My sperm is alive. My stem cells are alive. My blood cells are alive. Even a few of my hair cells are alive. All human. All alive. Human life.

      But we don’t treat them as persons whose rights we’re going to protect against *my* own desires.

      People think they win arguments by throwing labels at things. It’s just dumb.

      At every step of the way, a developing human life is what it is regardless of the labels we fight over applying to it.

  12. “Did Louisiana Enact a Bogus Health Law as a Pretext for Banning Abortion?”

    Let’s hope so …

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  15. “Abortion regulations—even though they also purportedly involve health and safety—are reviewed under a less forgiving legal standard. Here the Supreme Court employs something known as the undue burden test.”

    The government can fuck with your right to try to heal yourself, or save your own life, as much as it wants under a “rational basis test”, *except* with abortion.

    When will “libertarian” Reason stand up for the right to heal yourself with at least as much fervor it stands up for the right to terminate a pregnancy, or take heroin?

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