Kent Bush: Supreme Court ruling sets pro-life movement back a generation
I hate pro-life legislation.
Simple logic leads me to be pro life. If nothing happens to that fertilized egg cell, it becomes a child.
So I believe that child’s life begins at conception and it shouldn’t be stopped. I just happen to belong to the “offer women help and support adoption” camp and not the “stand in a picket line and call women baby murderers” camp.
The reason I hate pro-life legislation is not that I want more women to have abortions. I hate this new breed of pro-life legislation because it nibbles at the edges of the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling and is substantially ineffective in accomplishing a pro-life goal. Instead, these bills in traditionally conservative states come just in time for elections to establish for conservative voters that, even though the budget is failing, conservative legislators are doing what they can to make the world a better place on a social policy front.
Of course, the bills then end up being the focus of months or years of costly court battles before being overturned by an appellate court or the Supreme Court because of the same obviously unconstitutional provisions that forced legislators interested in something other than an election year postcard to vote against them in the first place.
In Oklahoma this year, Gov. Mary Fallin — whose career is marked by a strong pro-life voting record — had to veto a bill that would have removed licenses from doctors who performed abortions. Gov. Fallin vetoed the bill because it was obviously going to fail in court. How can doctors lose their licenses for performing a procedure that is still legal? Oklahoma legislators had no trouble getting that bill passed. Had Fallin not intervened, it would have failed in court.
Everyone wants there to be fewer abortions. There are far better ways to accomplish that than supporting cynical partisan bills whose intent was more to help win elections then save unborn children.
On Monday, the short-handed United States Supreme Court set the pro-life movement back a generation thanks to a Texas bill that was the center of a legislative fight three years ago.
Abortion is a horrible thing and I can’t bring myself to believe that any woman would undergo that procedure lightly. Wendy Davis was a Texas State Senator who famously filibustered this bill wearing pink tennis shoes. She rode that momentum to a run for governor. She lost to incumbent Rick Perry. She has spoken openly about having multiple abortions for medical reasons.
She said those procedures are why she fought so hard to keep the option open for women in her situation.
But Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that the bill she fought against three years ago was, in fact, unconstitutional. Instead of a 4-4 draw, Justice Anthony Kennedy — a Ronald Reagan appointment — joined the four more liberal voices on the bench in the decision. Kennedy has supported some anti-abortion laws in the past. But this was the latest of many that are simply passed to test of how far the court is willing to go.
The Texas case will now serve as a precedent for lower courts and make abortion laws even more difficult to pass within constitutional boundaries.
Hopefully, this decision will push the pro-life community further into the mode of supporting women who become unexpectedly pregnant. Legal challenges to Roe V. Wade and the court’s newest opinion are very expensive and ineffective.
It is time to minister to people who are hurting instead wasting time and money while trying to legislate a set of morals.
We can do better.
— Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.