Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Little burdens make undue burdens.

Alas, a blog points to a Frontline program on Abortion in Mississippi, where there is only one abortion clinic left.

A net of laws seeking to restrict abortion combine to severly restrict access to aborition for many women.

If the court was not filling up with more conservatives, I would think it is time to reconsider the conclusions of the Supreme Court in McRae and Webster holding that the Government does not have an obligation to fund abortions when it provides other medical care, and that the State may prohibit the use of State employees, land, or facilities for abortion services.

Both of those cases were based on the presumption that "a pregnant woman [would have] the same choices as if the State had chosen" not to provide any healthcare, or had chosen "not to operate any public hospitals at all." However, this has proven to not be the case. States are heavily involved in the market for low-income health services. Combined with regulations on clinics, State refusals of service do place women in a significantly worse position.

Restrictive statutes should not be challenged individually, where each alone is not an "undue burden." Notice alone may not be an undue burden, a waiting period alone may not be an undue burden, requiring the use of a hospital in some situations may not be an undue burden, disallowing public employees to give abortions alone may not be an undue burden, allowing any employee to decide not to provide abortion services alone might not be an undue burden, et cetera. But together, they clearly are an undue burden. That is the goal of the sponsors of these statutes. Clearly the health of a woman, nor concern for raising a healthy family is not their concern. The statutes have a unified purpose, and they should be analyzed in relation to each other.

Unfortunately, this Court is just as likely to say no burden is undue.

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