Court Strikes Down Anti-Abortion Laws that Conservatives Call ‘Regulations’

Last updated on February 8th, 2013 at 11:41 am

The Oklahoma State Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the anti-abortionists’ ultra-sound law and ban on abortion drugs were unconstitutional. As this was an appeal from a lower court decision also rejecting the laws, it’s ironic given the charges of judicial activism the Right likes to make against liberals, but even more ironic was their response. The small government conservatives tried to justify their rationale, “The ultrasound law does not prohibit abortion. It regulates abortion.”

Tony Lauinger, described by the AP as the “chairman of the anti-abortion group Oklahomans for Life”, didn’t agree with the judges’ unanimous decision (one justice recused herself due to issuing the original injunction against the 2010 ultra-sound law). Lauinger’s justification for the anti-constitutional slant of ultra sound law that forced women to not only have an unnecessary ultra sound, but also to look at the image while the doctor gives a “verbal description” of it, is, “The ultrasound law does not prohibit abortion. It regulates abortion.”

The Oklahomans for Life are affiliated with the National Right to Life Committee, and claim, “We are dedicated to encouraging respect for, and protection of, every innocent human life.”

Ah! So some regulations are good, apparently. Regulations that distinguish care for pregnant women as different from that of other patients and interfere in the privacy of the patient doctor relationship are good for religious reasons, but regulations that would save lives of all humans – for example, by protecting our water or air quality – are bad because this specific religion is apparently not worried about the precious life of the already born. Go fug yourselves, post-borns!

The State Court is following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision from a 1992 case.

The second law rejected again was an attempt to ban abortion-inducing drugs (emergency contraception) on the grounds that it violated “the fundamental rights of women to privacy and bodily integrity.”

Music to my ears. I was beginning to wonder if we had such things anymore.

Defenders of the anti-abortionists’ drug law must not be reading literature put out by actual doctors. Oklahoma State Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who is leading the charge to appeal the court’s rejection of these laws, claimed, “There is overwhelming evidence that the off-label use of abortion-inducing drugs leads to serious infections and death for many healthy, unsuspecting women. This is not OK.”

Pruitt may think this is not okay, but it is also not accurate.

In reality, just weeks ago the American Academy of Pediatrics urged doctors to write prescriptions for abortion-inducing drugs for teenagers (it is already available over the counter to women over 17) to have on hand in advance of the need, citing issues of timeliness among others. A note: Emergency contraception does not work if you are already pregnant; rather, it inhibits ovulation and disrupts “the production of key cells needed in a woman’s body to conceive.” It works best if taken within 24 hours of having sex.

A professor of adolescent medicine and pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle explained that there are no serious side effects to emergency contraception and the AAP claims that even those with a moral objection have an obligation to their patients to provide the drug:

There are no serious side effects to emergency contraception, Beurner said. Although parents are often concerned that having a “back-up” will increase a teen’s risky behavior, studies have shown that not to be the case.
Even if a physician is morally against emergency contraception, they have an obligation to offer the option to their patients, the AAP statement says.

Since the US has one of the highest rates for teen pregnancies among developed nations, and teenage mothers are often headed to poverty, logic would dictate that we do all we can to actually prevent teenage pregnancy. But logic is not at work here.

Small government conservatives are pro-regulating women’s health as different and separate from other health issues, and are now attempting to legislate to doctors what is best for patients when these same conservatives have no knowledge of the actual medicine or seeming understanding of how it actually works. This is not a surprise, coming from the same folks whose comrades don’t understand that the female body doesn’t have a rape mechanism that stops pregnancy in cases of “real rape”, but it does lay bare the hypocrisy of the values being alleged.

If they were so concerned about life, why doesn’t that apply once one is born? Wouldn’t we then be legislating all kinds of regulations to protect the precious gift of human life? Wouldn’t we be treating life as if it were more important than profit margins — hence, protecting water and air would be more important than the profits of companies who contaminate both.

The anti-abortionists are saying their next stop is the U.S. Supreme Court. It seems that pesky constitution is really getting in the way of their attempts to kill liberty for women, but this has oddly never disturbed the very people who claim to stand for freedom. Struck down in a blaze of glory — the only come back they have is that they are now pro-regulation to protect life.

I say run with that, because once trapped in this new alleged value, the sky is the limit for what we must regulate in order to protect the precious life of our already borns. If women’s freedom is no issue, certainly corporations – presuming they are “people” – have even less freedom. After all, I’ve never heard of a corporation who could create and nurture precious life.

Image: Current

Sarah Jones

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