Abcarian: The anti-abortion gang that couldn’t shoot straight has lost again.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a second major challenge to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that legalized abortion as a constitutional right for pregnant women. It was a long and circuitous route to the point of nowhere: Four justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Sonia Sotomayor — wrote a dissenting opinion that said the court had “strayed into a radical new direction” while the chief justice, John Roberts, authored the majority opinion.
The court’s first major abortion rights decision, Griswold v. Connecticut, was decided by a 6-3 majority a year later. That case established the right to contraception and, in the decades since, has become a bedrock of abortion jurisprudence.
In Griswold, the justices held that a Connecticut statute criminalizing the use of contraceptives — including abortion-inducing pills — was unconstitutional. Roberts, writing for the majority, wrote that the state’s “compelling interest… to protect the well-being and life of the mother” could be found in the state’s interest “in the protection of potential human life.” He added that the right to abortion was a “fundamental” right — without, however, spelling out what “fundamental” meant.
That case came along after the court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which is now the law of the land. That case established the right to abortion and invalidated most state restrictions on the procedure in the 20th Century.
Abortion foes, however, have been waging a long, hard-fought battle to overturn Roe. They have prevailed in the lower court, but on appeal to the Supreme Court, they fell short. In 2012, justices allowed the state of Kentucky to legalize abortions, but only after they required three of four physicians involved in the early abortions to have admitting privileges in hospitals. Justice Neil Gorsuch said the measure wasn’t so far-reaching that abortion clinic staff should be forced to turn away patients. He was joined in that part of his opinion by Clarence Thomas, who also penned a dissenting opinion.
Since that ruling, abortion clinics across the country have been at risk