Unfortunately, the Louisiana abortion ban met a fairly severe setback today and it’s unclear what the future holds for it. However, the Iowa State Assembly passed a bill today to ban abortion at 18 weeks post-fertilization and up–that’s two weeks earlier than the ground-breaking 20-week bans that Nebraska and other states have recently enacted.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Democrat, called the debate-free vote “disgusting.”
I wonder what word McCarthy would use to describe an abortion performed on an 18-week-old unborn child? Apparently he didn’t get the NARAL memo that open debate won’t help them much on this subject–they have to defend twisting the limbs off of this:
Of course, 18-week and 20-week bans may seem a little tame at this point when we are still looking at effectively total bans passing in Alabama and Mississippi later this year. It’s important to remember that these laws are tools, not ends in themselves. Pro-Life presidential candidate Rick Santorum said it best today when he called the Iowa bill “a good place to test the court.”
Paul Pauker noted in his excellent piece on Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey on this blog that under current abortion jurisprudence, the State does not have a “compelling interest” in restricting the putative “right” to abortion until after viability. That is the central barrier that Roe/Casey create against protecting unborn children from death by abortion. If the Court could be persuaded to throw that standard out, Roe would be obsolete and that barrier would no longer exist. Any law that conflicts with that viability standard will suffice as a vehicle to erase it–whether the legislation in question bans abortion at 20 weeks, 18 weeks, 6 weeks, or from conception. What’s more important is that whoever defends such a law before the Supreme Court be able to convincingly show the State’s compelling interest in it–and clear, easy-to-grasp examples of fetal pain, heartbeats, and the like are a powerful way to do so.