GOP Lawmakers' New Year's Resolution: Ban Abortion Today, Ban Abortion Tomorrow, Ban Abortion Forever
It's the New Year, which means for at least a week people will be talking about all the things they want to do in the New Year. Maybe they want to Marie Kondo their apartments, maybe they want to take up skydiving, maybe they want to be healthier or drink less or smoke less or do some other kind of personal self-improvement type thing.
Eighty percent of Republicans in Congress and the Senate, however, along with two asshole Democrats -- Dan Lipinski (IL) and Collin Peterson (MN) -- have resolved to take away everyone else's reproductive rights.
More than 200 of them, including 39 Senators, have signed an amicus curie (friend of the court) brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to ban abortion. Or, rather, ban safe abortions for poor people, as abortions will always happen one way or another and the rich will always be able to fly out to where abortions are legal and have one safely there. They also wish to overturn Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the case that upheld the constitutional right to abortion and found that a state cannot create an "undue burden" on a "large fraction" of those seeking an abortion.
This friend of the court brief regards the upcoming Supreme Court case June Medical Services v. Gee, in which the court will again weigh in on TRAP laws that serve no other purpose outside of making it more difficult to get an abortion. (TRAP laws are "targeted restrictions on abortion providers.")
Like Whole Woman's Health v Hellerstedt, this case revolves around physician admitting privileges and will decide whether or not allowing Louisiana to require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby state-authorized hospital is a violation of Hellerstedt. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found that because the law would only affect 30 percent of women in Louisiana, which it did not consider a large enough "fraction," and because the standards for admitting privileges were less strict in Louisiana than they were in Texas, this did not create an "undue burden" on those seeking an abortion.
This law, if enacted, would leave the entire state of Louisiana with one single abortion doctor.
These Republicans (and two asshole Democrats) are, however, hoping that the Supreme Court will take it one step further and just straight up decide that the right to privacy is not a real thing and overturn Roe and Casey entirely.
Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine did not sign the amicus curie brief, on account of how she is such a longstanding supporter of abortion rights. And yet, it doesn't really matter, does it? Because when we lose our reproductive rights, the blame for that will rest squarely on her shoulders.
The lawmakers claim that both Roe and Casey created an "unworkable standard" (of a right to abortion) and that therefore these decisions should be "reconsidered":
The Fifth Circuit labored to do the best it could with the vague and opaque "undue burden" standard on which the Court has relied since Casey. Amici respectfully suggest that the court's struggle—similar to dozens of other courts' herculean struggles in this area—illustrates the unworkability of the "right to abortion" found in Roe and the need for the Court to take up the issue of whether Roe and Casey should be reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled.
Again, for the one-millionth time, admitting privileges do not serve any purpose whatsoever. Literally none. You cannot ask an ambulance to take you to a specific hospital, they take you to the hospital they can get to the fastest and with the shortest triage line, and that hospital will admit you whether or not your doctor has "admitting privileges," as that is the case for most people going into an emergency room to begin with. You do not get to hop the triage line if your doctor has admitting privileges. Your records are not transferred to the hospital any faster than they would be otherwise, and if you can say "My doctor is so-and-so" then you can say "Something went wrong after I had an abortion." All admitting privileges do is allow your doctor to take care of you at that hospital, which is not going to happen anyway because there are already doctors there and your doctor probably has other patients. There is absolutely no point to this. The only reason they do it is because they can pressure hospitals to not give admitting privileges to doctors who perform abortions and thus make it so no one can legally perform an abortion. Duh.
It's obviously an undue burden. It's meant to be an undue burden. The entire purpose of this law is to make it more difficult to obtain an abortion and there is no other purpose it could conceivably serve. But one of the things these signatories want is to remove the undue burden standard entirely, making it legal for states to create stupid laws like this one.
The big difference between this case and Hellerstedt, however, is not the degree to which the laws create an undue burden on those seeking abortion. The big difference is that now, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh are on the bench. Kennedy, long the swing vote on abortion rights, is gone. The bench, as it stands, is primed and ready to overturn Roe — and the question here is not "if" but "when."
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse