1. Roe was too focused on doctors and didn’t talk enough about women.
“It’s about the doctor’s freedom to practice his profession as he thinks best. If you read the Roe opinion, you will never see the woman standing alone. It’s always the woman in consultation with her physician.”
Ginsburg believes that the Roe ruling would have been stronger if it hadn’t involved the distinction that abortion is a decision left up to the woman and her doctor. (The opinion itself states that ”the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman’s attending physician.”) She elaborates:
“It’s about a doctor’s freedom to practice his profession as he thinks best. It wasn’t woman-centered. It was physician-centered.”
2. The ruling should have left room for individual states to make their own decisions.
“It’s not that the judgment was wrong, but it moved too far too fast,” Ginsburg said at the Columbia Journalism School last year:
“The court made a decision that made every abortion law in the country invalid, even the most liberal. We’ll never know whether I’m right or wrong … things might have turned out differently if the court had been more restrained.”
Ginsburg believes that the Justices should have passed a ruling that would have just struck down the Texas-specific ruling. As her moderator at the University of Chicago talk Geoffrey Stone explains, “By instead reaching out to decide the much more broader question – whetherany prohibition of abortion is constitutionally permissible in the first twenty-four weeks – the Court, in her view, short-circuited the democratic process and failed to allow the states to work out for themselves how best to regulate abortion.”
3. “A woman’s right to choose” should have been protected with a different court case.
According to Ginsburg, there was a case that was a better fit for setting a standard for reproductive freedoms than Roe. 1971′s Struck v. Secretary of Defense involved a female U.S. Air Force Captain who was in Vietnam when she became pregnant, something that, according to Air Force Regulation, made her ineligible for military work. At the time, Ginsburg was not yet a member of the Supreme Court and was representing Struck. Though the case was never heard – and the Air Force rules were changed – she wrote an interesting merits brief about the case:
“The central question raised in this case is whether the Air Force, consistent with the equal protection principle inherent in the due process clause of the fifth amendment, may call for immediate discharge of pregnant women officers…It is petitioner’s position that this distinction reflects arbitrary notions of woman’s place wholly at odds with contemporary legislative and judicial recognition that individual potential must not be restrained, nor equal opportunity limited, by law-sanctioned stereotypical prejudgments. Captain Struck seeks no favors or special protection. She simply asks to be judged on the basis of her individual capacities and qualifications, and not on the basis of characteristics assumed to typify pregnant women.”
Since then, Ginsburg has explained her thoughts more succintly (and with less legalese):
“The idea was: ‘Government, stay out of this.’ I wish that would have been the first case. The court would have better understood this is a question of a woman’s choice.”
4. It wasn’t the right time.
“The court can put its stamp of approval on the side of change and let that change develop in the political process,” Ginsburg says now of Roe v. Wade – leading some to speculate that it’s possible she’s going to be hesitant to pass anything broad-sweeping when it comes to marriage equality rulings.
5. It gave the pro-life movement something to attack.
“The sweep and detail of the opinion stimulated the mobilization of a right-to-life movement and an attendant reaction reaction in Congress and state legislatures. In place of the trend ‘toward liberalization of abortion statutes’ noted in Roe, legislatures adopted measures aimed at minimizing the impact of the 1973 rulings, including notification and consent requirements, prescriptions for the protection of fetal life, and bans on public expenditures for poor women’s abortions.”
“What a great organizing tool it is: You have a name, a symbol—Roe v. Wade.You could aim at [the fact] that this decision was made not in the ordinary democratic process.”
Ruth on Roe = the end = maybe no one will ever talk about abortion again?
One of the more popular provisions of the federal health law requires that women be given much freer access to prescription methods of birth control. That includes not only the pill, but implants and IUDs as well.
But what happens if there are not enough doctors to prescribe those contraceptives?
The proposed new rules, they say, drop existing requirements that family medicine residents be required to undergo training in contraception and counseling women with unintended pregnancies. Several groups are now running letter-writing campaigns to make sure the rules remain.
Podcast: Charon Asetoyer
In this podcast I spend time with Charon Asetoyer. Charon is the CEO and Founder of the Native American Community Board.
The Native American Community board released THIS report about Plan B Emergency Contraception.
Members and supporters of the local American Association of University Women met with Congressman Sean Duffy’s staff to ask for his leadership to pass the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The group expressed its concern about delays in reauthorization.
AAUW supporters asked congressional staffers to request that Representative Duffy add his name to a February 11th letter authored by John Runyon (R-NJ) and co-signed by seventeen Republican House members to Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor urging them to reauthorize VAWA. The leader of the local delegation, Marian Seagren Hall, said that Representative Duffy should “add his name to the list of courageous and principled House members who signed this letter.”
Barbara Munson, a member of the Oneida Tribe, discussed the objections by House Republicans to prosecution and trial of non-native people accused of sexual assault and domestic violence in tribal courts. She emphasized that there are not adequate protections for Native American women against violence and assault now, and that is the reason that VAWA should be passed immediately. It was passed by a 78-22 margin in the U.S. Senate. “It is past time to act,” she said. “Congressman Duffy, as a prosecutor and as a representative of Wisconsin’s native people, is able to lead and to help get this done.”
Lon Newman, an AAUW member and president of the Women’s Health Network of Wisconsin, asked Congressman Duffy to support a compromise being proposed by Darrell Issa (R-CA) if the Senate version does not pass. The Issa compromise would permit non-native people charged with sexual assault to have their trials transferred to federal courts if they believe their constitutional rights are in jeopardy in the tribal court system. “People in the 7th District are frustrated with Congressional inaction,” Newman said. “It’s time to get this done.” This compromise holds great promise for the resolution of issues that seemed a barrier to passage of VAWA and AAUW members asked Representative Duffy to support the Issa compromise if the Senate version, with Duffy’s help, fails to pass the House.
The delegation and the congressional staffers agreed that all women and men deserve to be protected from violence and assault. The AAUW members emphasized that Representative Duffy understands the needs of the people of the 11 tribes in Wisconsin, understands the difficulties of prosecuting these crimes, and therefore they encourage him to take the lead in showing respect and fairness to everyone in all communities. They asked him to support and pass the Senate version of VAWA promptly.
The most heated part of the fight between the Obama administration and religious groups over new rules that require most health plans to cover contraception actually has nothing to do with birth control. It has to do with abortion.
Specifically, do emergency contraceptives interfere with a fertilized egg and cause what some consider to be abortion?
“The Health and Human Services preventive services mandate forces businesses to provide the morning-after and the week-after pills in our health insurance plans,” said David Green, founder and CEO of the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby, one of the firms suing over the requirements. “These abortion-causing drugs go against our faiths.”
MADISON – Today, following news that state budget cuts have forced the closure of four Wisconsin Planned Parenthood clinics, Jenni Dye, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin said that anti-choice legislative attacks are undermining access to healthcare.
Planned Parenthood’s closure of the Johnson Creek, Shawano, Chippewa Falls, and Beaver Dam clinics means that women in these areas will be without reproductive healthcare in their communities. Women will be forced to drive farther or go without basic care, such as wellness exams and birth control.
“Limiting access to basic preventative care, like birth control, is the natural end result of anti-choice attacks on women’s reproductive rights and health clinics such as Planned Parenthood, such as the elimination of state funding we saw last session, ” said Dye. “This is a huge loss not only for the people in the communities directly affected by clinic closures but for all of Wisconsin. We must work together to ensure that all Wisconsinites have access to basic healthcare.”
The clinic closures come just one week after Governor Walker’s announcement that he is turning down resources to expand Medicaid. “Politicians at the Capitol are playing politics with our health, and their game has very real consequences for Wisconsinites. It is time for our elected officials to put politics aside and ensure that all Wisconsinites have access in their communities to healthcare that they choose,” said Dye.
Podcast: Health Exchanges in Minnesota
In this podcast I speak to Linnea House, the Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota. Linnea and I talk about the political shift in Minnesota that brought about a pro choice Governor, and a friendly legislature. Minnesota is putting together their own Health Exchange under the ACA, and we talk about that.
For more information find Naral Pro Choice Minnesota…
On the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we reaffirm its historic commitment to protect the health and reproductive freedom of women across this country and stand by its guiding principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters, and women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care. Today and every day, my Administration continues our efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and minimize the need for abortion. On this anniversary, we recommit ourselves to supporting women and families in the choices they make and redouble our efforts to promote safe and healthy communities.
Jan. 22, 2013, marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
But the conventional wisdom that the court’s 7-2 decision marked the beginning of a contentious battle that still rages today is not the case, according to those on both sides of the dispute.
Michael Taylor, executive director of the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment, has been involved in the anti-abortion effort since the late 1960s. He says the present fight dates back to the 1950s, when some groups “began urging the overturn or modification of existing laws” banning abortion.
Linda Greenhouse agrees. “It’s important to understand how we got to where we are, and not to misunderstand the various lessons of Roe,” says Greenhouse, who spent 30 years covering the Supreme Court for the New York Times and now lectures at Yale Law School.