Friday, September 23, 2022

The Argument that a Federal Abortion Ban May Violate Fifth Amendment Due Process

Aaron Tang, After Dobbs: History, Tradition, and the Uncertain Future of a Nationwide Abortion Ban, Stanford L. Rev. (forthcoming)

For many Americans, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization signaled the end of things once thought secure: the constitutional right to reproductive autonomy, a vision of women as equal citizens, and the belief that the Supreme Court can rise above politics to protect cherished liberties.

To many anti-abortion groups, however, Dobbs was just the beginning. Merely permitting states to prohibit abortion was never the endgame; their goal has always been a nationwide ban. One path for accomplishing it runs through Congress in the form of a federal statutory ban. A second runs back through the Court in the form of constitutional fetal personhood, or the argument that an unborn fetus is a “person” whose life states would be compelled to protect under the Fourteenth Amendment.

In this Article, I examine the legal future of both pathways in light of the Dobbs majority’s own historical analysis. With respect to a federal abortion ban, many have focused on Congress’s Article I authority. Yet if Congress has the power to codify a statutory right to abortion, it also has the power to ban it. I thus consider a different possibility: even if there were no deeply rooted liberty interest in abortion when the Fourteenth Amendment was enacted against the states, as Dobbs posits, such a history arguably did exist when the Fifth Amendment was enacted against the federal government. For as Dobbs admits, every single state at the founding permitted abortion before quickening, at roughly 16-18 weeks of pregnancy. Dobbs’s own history and tradition test thus plausibly suggests a surprising result: a federal abortion ban may violate the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause.

With respect to fetal personhood, Dobbs concedes that even as of the Fourteenth Amendment’s enactment in 1868, some states continued to permit abortion early in pregnancy. In truth, Dobbs severely undercounts that number: as many as 21 states, not the 9 Dobbs suggests, permitted pre-quickening abortion. This casts doubt on the fetal personhood argument because it shows that when the Amendment was ratified, most states did not understand unborn fetuses to be “persons” with respect to the precise question at hand. To recognize fetal personhood would require one to conclude that a majority of states were violating the very amendment they’d just ratified.

September 23, 2022 in Abortion, Constitutional, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Ohio Court Grants TRO Blocking Six Week Abortion Ban on Grounds of State's Health Care Freedom Amendment

I've been writing an essay for the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics on how state so-called Health Care Freedom Acts and Amendments enacted as symbolic protests to the individual insurance mandate of the federal Affordable Care Act provide an arguable basis for a recognized state right to abortion.  The essay was a lot harder to write before last week, when the Ohio court rule on these grounds.

Judge to Extend Pause of Ohio's "Heartbeat" Abortion Law for Another Two Weeks

 A Hamilton County judge overseeing a lawsuit challenging Ohio’s “heartbeat” abortion ban plans to issue a second order temporarily blocking the law, according to a lawyer involved in the case.

Judge Christian A. Jenkins, a Democrat, last week issued what’s called a temporary restraining order, pausing the law from being enforced for 14 days while he deals with arguments in the case.***

Once the second order comes, Ohio abortion clinics will be able to provide abortions up until 22 weeks from a woman’s last menstrual period at least through Oct. 12. That would extend the pause until after an Oct. 7 hearing Jenkins has scheduled for a more permanent order blocking the law while both sides argue their case.***

Jenkins has indicated he plans to rule in favor of abortion advocates, agreeing with their arguments that equal-protection guarantees contained in Ohio’s constitution covers the right to obtain an abortion. He noted a 1993 decision from a state appellate court that found the Ohio Constitution confers greater abortion rights than the U.S. Constitution, including a broad scope of the meaning of “liberty.”

The full opinion is here: Preterm Cleveland v. Yost (Ohio C.C.P. Sept. 14, 2022) (TRO Decision)

No great stretch is required to find that Ohio law recognizes a fundamental right to privacy, procreation, bodily integrity and freedom of choice in health care decision making. In 2011, the Ohio Constitution was amended by popular referendum to adopt the Health Care Freedom Amendment (Article I, Section 21) (“HCFA”). The plain language of subsections B and C of the HCFA is simple and clear:  (B) No federal, state, or local law or rule shall prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health  insurance.  (C) No federal, state, or local law or rule shall impose a penalty or fine for the sale or purchase of health care or  health insurance.

The State Defendants argue that the HCFA was intended by its drafters to provide a legal basis for Ohio and Ohioans to undermine or avoid the federal Affordable Care Act, not to outlaw health care regulation in Ohio. They point to the language in subsection (D) providing in pertinent part that “[t]his section does not . . . affect any laws calculated to deter fraud or punish wrongdoing in the health care industry” to suggest that the Amendment does not render health care regulations unconstitutional. But this misses the point – as a result of the HCFA, the Ohio Constitution contains a direct recognition of the fundamental nature of the right to freedom in health care decisions.

The fact that no one has yet challenged any existing health care regulations under the HCFA does not negate the import of its plain language.10 The HCFA does not define “health care,” but the use of the disjunctive “or” renders the term separate and distinct from the purported target of the amendment – health insurance. Abortion, whether procedural or medication, clearly constitutes health care within the ordinary meaning of that term. Moreover, the drafters could have excluded existing and future regulation of the health care profession, or even abortion specifically, but they did not.

Rather, the exception in subsection D is limited to fraud and the nebulous term, “wrongdoing,” without providing any definitional or interpretive guidance. Wrongdoing is defined as “illegal or improper conduct.” Black’s Law Dictionary 1932 (11th Ed.2019). At the time of the HCFA’s adoption in 2011, abortion had been constitutionally protected as the law of the land for nearly 40 years, and could hardly be considered “wrongdoing.” Finally, S.B. 23 was adopted years after the HCFA such that the General Assembly was presumably aware of its provisions recognizing a fundamental constitutional right to choice in healthcare decisions.

This Court cannot simply ignore part of Ohio’s Constitution because the Ohio Attorney General asserts it is not germane to this case. Nor must the Court defer to the General Assembly on questions of law such as those presented in this case, for “’[i]t is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.’ Our function here is to determine whether the act transcends the limits of legislative power.” Adams v. DeWine, __ Ohio St. 3d __, 2022-Ohio-89, ¶ 28 (rejecting Congressional district plan adopted by General Assembly in contravention of Ohio Constitutional amendment enacted by popular referendum); citing Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 177, 2 L. Ed. 60 (1803).

The HCFA represents an express constitutional acknowledgement of the fundamental nature of the right to freedom and privacy in health care decision making. Read together with other applicable sections of the Ohio Constitution, a clear and consistent recognition the fundamental nature of this right under Ohio law emerges. See e.g. Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region v. Ohio Dept. of Health, Hamilton C.P. No. A 2100870, p. 6 (Jan. 31, 2022) (“Deprivation of reproductive autonomy falls squarely within the meaning of an injury done to one’s person under the Ohio Constitution”), citing Stone v. City of Stow, 64 Ohio St. 3d 156, 160-163, 593 N.E.2d 294 (1992). Accordingly, this Court recognizes a fundamental right to abortion under Ohio’s Constitution.

September 22, 2022 in Abortion, Constitutional, Healthcare, Legislation, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 19, 2022

Balkin on "Abortion and Partisan Entrenchment"

Jack Balkin has posted Abortion and Partisan Entrenchment on SSRN in draft format. The abstract states:  

In overturning Roe v. Wade, The Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization achieved a long-sought victory of the Republican Party. Dobbs is part of a larger conservative constitutional revolution. This revolution has been achieved through a strategy of partisan entrenchment, in which political parties, led by Presidents, stock the courts with jurists allied with the party's commitments of ideology and interest.

Over time, partisan entrenchment by both parties can keep the Supreme Court's ideological center roughly aligned with the center of national public opinion. But this alignment need not occur, and the Court's current constitutional revolution reflects this fact. Moreover, if the country is highly polarized, as it is now, there is even less reason to think that the ideological center of the Supreme Court will have much relationship to the center of public opinion. It is far more likely to reflect the center of elite opinion in whichever major party currently controls the Court.

Although Republicans dominated Supreme Court appointments between 1969 to 2020, Roe v. Wade survived for half a century. This was partly due to luck. But another important reason is that members of the conservative legal movement did not constitute a majority of the Court until 2018. Once that happened, Roe's demise became almost certain. Entrenchment of movement-identified legal conservatives, and not simply Republicans, was the key to overturning Roe.

Once the conservative legal movement has achieved most of its central goals, however, it may lose cohesion, as the country faces new issues and the Republican Party continues to evolve into a Trumpist party. Different parts of the conservative legal movement may find themselves increasingly at odds. New issues will emerge for which the conservative legal movement was not organized. These new issues may create fractures among Court’s conservative majority.

Moreover, Roe's demise has created new problems for the Republican Party. Party coalitions affect the exercise of judicial review--that is the point of partisan entrenchment--but the exercise of judicial review also affects party coalitions. Judicial review can make it easier for a political party to maintain its base of voters; or, conversely, judicial review can create openings for a party’s opponents to pick off its voters and split its coalition.

Roe v. Wade made the modern Republican Party possible. Staunchly pro-life voters could join with voters who supported some abortion rights but voted Republican for other reasons. The latter could vote Republican because no matter how much Republican politicians catered to pro-life voters, Roe kept them from banning abortion completely. Dobbs made abortion prohibition possible and highly salient, and placed different parts of the Republican coalition in tension with each other. To keep their coalition together, Republican politicians may now try to change the subject. But the party's most avidly pro-life voters, who dominate primary contests, may not let them. Although the long-term electoral result is not foreordained, Dobbs has created opportunities for opposition politicians to shrink and fracture the Republican coalition.

Politicians always act in the shadow of other institutional features of the American constitutional system, including judicial review. The Court’s decisions affect political coalitions, but that is because of decisions made by political actors over whom they have no control. Supreme Court decisions may make or break political coalitions, but not as the Justices either understand or intend.

September 19, 2022 in Abortion, Constitutional, Courts, Judges, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Black Women and Voter Suppression

Carla Laroche, Black Women & Voter Suppression, 103 Boston U.L. Rev.   

Black women vote at consistently high rates during elections in the United States. States, however, have excluded Black women from voting by regulating when a person convicted of a crime may be eligible to vote. These efforts are known as felony disenfranchisement but amount to voter suppression. With the alarming rate of conviction and incarceration of Black women, criminal law intersects with civil rights to bar their involvement in the electoral process.

By reconceptualizing conviction-based voter suppression through the experiences of Black women’s access to their voting rights, this Article adds a new perspective to the rich scholarship analyzing voting rights. This Article examines the history of Black women’s exclusion from the ballot box in the United States, including how the racist legacy of Jim Crow continues through mass incarceration and voter suppression schemes. Using Florida’s disenfranchisement maze as a case study, this Article shows that while Black women and other advocates have led attempts to abolish voter suppression schemes, permanently, they have yet to succeed through the judicial, executive, and legislative branches.

The ostensible reasons for these voter suppression schemes vary, but the outcome has been the devaluing of the interests of Black women and their communities while preserving the voting priorities of white communities. This Article concludes by demanding the dismantling of these voter suppression schemes. Until then, society will continue to bar Black women from the ballot box disproportionally

September 15, 2022 in Constitutional, Legal History, Legislation, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Arguing for a New Tradition Based Substantive Due Process Doctrine to Better Protect Privacy Rights

Darren Lenard Hutchinson, Thinly Rooted, 65 Arizona L. Rev. (2023) 

 In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. These two cases held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment encompassed a right of women to terminate a pregnancy. Roe reflected over 60 years of substantive due process precedent finding and reaffirming a constitutional right of privacy containing several strands, including bodily integrity, equality, and dignity. The Court’s substantive due process doctrine had established that the analysis in such cases would involve multiple points of engagement, such as tradition, contemporary practices, and whether newly asserted interests fit logically within a continuum of previously recognized fundamental rights. Dobbs does not follow this precedent but instead applies a narrow and exclusively backward-looking tradition analysis that, if consistently utilized, would imperil many other important rights, including same-sex marriage, sexual intimacy, and contraception. After analyzing these concerns, this Article considers how the interaction of law and politics determines the content of constitutional law and how pro-choice advocates must utilize the political process to restore abortion as a fundamental right. A new tradition-based substantive due process doctrine that incorporates perspectives of historically marginalized voices must inform constitutional law theory that secures vital personal liberties and egalitarianism.

September 13, 2022 in Abortion, Constitutional | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 8, 2022

A RESOURCE LIST of the NEW LEGAL, POLITICAL, and PRACTICAL ISSUES of ABORTION POST-ROE

Updated 9/20/22

Most recent news posted at top of each category.

 

It’s an all-out effort--legally, politically, and practically--as the country grapples with the legal and social effect of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization holding there is no fundamental federal constitutional right to an abortion or reproductive choice.

This post identifies and summarizes the key areas of action now happening in the post-Roe world.

Many of these options present a ping-ponging potential—substantive changes back and forth as legislatures and executives change red and blue with each election

Legally

            New State Laws:

WV Lawmakers Pass Bill That Restricts Abortion With Narrow Exceptions (9/13/22)  

The First Abortion Ban Passed After Roe Takes Effect This Thursday in Indiana (9/20/22)

Joanna Grossman, The Trigger Has Been Pulled. Texas Law Takes Effect (8/25/22)

1 in 3 American Women Have Already Lost Abortion Access. More Restrictive Laws are Coming (8/23/22)

IN Becomes First State to Pass an Abortion Ban (8/10/22)

                        NYT, Tracking the States Where Abortion is Now Banned (9 states as of 6/27/22)

           Mary Ziegler, Why Exceptions for the Life of the Mother have Disappeared (8/2/22)    

           Guttmacher Inst., An Overview of Abortion Laws

Texas District & County Attorneys: TX Statutory Laws on Abortion After Dobbs

OH Statutory Framework of Abortion Laws After Dobbs

                        ABCNews, Abortions Now Banned in Ohio After "Fetal Heartbeat" is Detected

            Challenges to State Abortion Bans:

IN Judge Blocks Enforcement of Abortion Ban (9/23/22)

OH Judge Blocks Six-Week Abortion Ban for 14 Days (9/20/22)

A MI Law Criminalizing Abortion is Struck Down (9/8/22)

Judge Blocks Part of ID Abortion Law from Taking Effect (9/8/22)

Judge: Prosecutors Cannot Enforce MI's Abortion Ban (8/23/22)

ID Lawmakers Walk Back Abortion Crackdown to Assuage Judge (8/23/22)

Justice Dept Sues ID Over Abortion Ban (8/10/22)

MT Abortion Laws Remain Blocked During Legal Challenge (8/10/22)

Courts Deliver Mixed Rulings on Pro-Life Laws After Roe (8/2/22)

Sistersong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective v. Georgia (11th Cir. July 20, 2022)

State Judge Strikes Down Many of MN's Abortion Restrictions (7/11/22) 

LA Judge Allows Abortion Ban to Take Effect (7/8/22)

TX, OH Top Courts Allow Abortion Bans to Take Effect (7/6/22)

FLA Judge will Temporarily Block 15 Week Abortion Ban (7/3/22)

TX SCt Lifts Freeze on Abortion Ban (7/2/22)

OH SCt Rejects Request to Suspend State's 6 Week Abortion Ban (7/1/22)

Judge Grants Restraining Order to Restore Abortion Access in Kentucky (6/30/22)

Ohio Lawsuit Filed to Enjoin 6 Week Ban on State Constitutional Grounds of Due Process, Equal Protection, & Freedom to Choose Health Care (6-29-22)

WI AG Files Lawsuit Challenging Near Complete Abortion Ban Passed in 1849 (6/29/22)

                        WP, Judge Temporarily Blocks Trigger Law on Abortion in Louisiana (6/27/22)

                        WP, Planned Parenthood Sues to Halt Utah's Trigger Law Abortion Ban (6/27/22)

Abortions Can Resume in Texas Per TRO Issued by Harris County Judge (6/28/22)

                        Equality arguments: Ms, The Importance of Talking About Women in the Fight Against Abortion Bans

                        Ninth Amendment arguments:22

                              Allison Kruschke, ConLawNOW, Finding a Home for the Abortion Right in the Ninth Amendment

                        First Amendment Religion arguments:

                                    Clergy Sue to Halt Fla Abortion Law, Cite Religious Freedom (9/7/22)

Clergy Members Contend FLA Abortion Law Violates Their Religious Freedom (8/10/22)

KY Court Holds that Abortion Ban May Violate State Establishment Clause (7/25/22)

                                    Jewish Synagogue Sues Florida Saying Abortion Restrictions Violate Religious Freedom

            Federal Legislation

A Federal Abortion Ban May Violate 5th A Due Process (9/23/22)

Graham Proposes 15 Week Abortion Ban, Seeking to Unite Republicans (9/13/22)

House Passes Bill to Codify Abortion Rights and Ensure Access (7/15/22)

                        Women's Health Protection Act

Pence Calls for National Abortion Ban

            Executive Action- presidents and governors

The VA Says it Will Provide Abortions in Some States Even in States Where Banned (9/7/22)

TX Fed District Court Invalidates Federal Guidance on Emergency Treatment of Abortion (8/24/22)

Biden Issues [Second] Executive Order on Abortion (8/10/22)

Biden Signs Executive Order to Support Abortion Rights (7/11/22)

Under Pressure, Biden Signs Executive Order on Abortion

NM Governor to Sign Executive Order on Abortion Access (6/30/22) 

WI Governor Vows to Grant Clemency to Drs Charged Under State Abortion Ban (6/28/22)

                        WP, The Nominal Ways Biden Could Expand Abortion Rights

                        The Possibility of Executive Orders

           Prosecutors:

Warren: DeSantis [FLA] Sacked me for Doing my Job as a Prosecutor (8/23/22)

Local Prosecutors Who Refuse to Prosecute Ohio's Abortion May be in the Clear (7/11/22)

Cuyahoga Cty Prosecutor Says He Won't Enforce 6 Week Abortion Ban (6/30/22) 

Liability for Pregnant Women:

NB Teen and Mother Facing Charges in Abortion Related Case (8/10/22)

Abortion Abolitionists Want to Punish Women (7/1/22)

FDA Preemption of Abortion Pills:

                        Time, Merrick Garland's Mention of FDA Hints at Possible Way to Fight Restrictions on Abortion Pills

                        Supremacy Clause May Preempt State Restrictions on Abortion Pills

Drug & Device Law, Federal Preemption of State Attempts to Ban FDA Approved Abortion Drugs After Dobbs

            First Amendment Rights of Speech and Advising

First Amendment Confrontation May Loom in Post-Roe Rights (6/30/22)

            Out of State Travel: 

Dobbs and the Civil Dimension of Extraterritorial Abortion Regulation (9/23/22)

The Risk of Mandatory Reporting Laws to Out-of-State Abortion (8/2/22)

The Right to Travel in a Post-Roe World (7/15/22)

MT Clinics Preemptively Restrict Out of State Patients Access to Abortion Pills (7/11/22)

WP, Anti-Abortion Lawmakers Want to Block Patients From Crossing State Lines (6/30/22)

                        Anthony Michael Kreis, Prison Gates at the State Line, Harvard L.R. Online

                        Caroline Kitchener, WP, Roe's Gone. Now Antiabortion Lawmakers Want More

            Federal Enclaves/Tribal Jurisdiction:

Tribal Nations and Abortion Access: A Path Forward (8/23/22)

The Indian Country Abortion Safe Haven Fallacy

            Municipal Regulation    

Abortion Localism and Preemption in a Post-Roe Era (9/23/22)

            Other Constitutional Liberties: contraception, marriage, LGBTQ

Marc Spindelman, Dobbs' Other Dangers: Dobbs & Women's Constitutional Sex Equality Rights (8/2/22)

Thirteenth Amendment:

The Amendment Ending Slavery Could be the Key to Securing Abortion Rights (7/7/22)

State Legislation:

Most Voters Want a Chance to Support Abortion on a Ballot (8/10/22)

Where Abortion is on the Ballot (8/2/22)

Voters in as Many as Eight States Will Vote on Abortion This Year (7/7/22)

What Prohibition History Tells Us About Returning Abortion to the States (it won't stay there)

            State Constitutional Amendments: pro-choice and anti-abortion

Michiganders Will Vote on Abortion Rights in November (9/13/22)

Reproductive Freedom for All v. Board of Canvassers (Mich. Ballot Case) 

Richardson, The Originalist Case for Why the FLA Constitution's Right to Privacy Protects the Right to Abortion 

Kansans Resoundingly Reject Amendment Aimed at Restricting Abortion Rights (8/10/22)

Want to Protect Abortion? Look to KS (8/2/22)

NY Moves to Enshrine Abortion Rights in State Constitution (7/6/22)

                        NYT, California Seeks to Enshrine Abortion Rights in State Constitution

CAL puts Constitutional Amendment Protecting Abortion Rights on Fall Ballot (6/28/22)

                        Iowa Rules no State Constitutional Right to Abortion

See Paul Lipford, Abortion Under States Constitutions (3d ed. 2020) (Carolina Press)

Cities

How One Progressive City is Fighting to Decriminalize Abortion (8/23/22)

  See generally Legal Scholarship:

New Legal Frontiers on the Constitutional Right to Abortion (8/25/22) (Cohen, Murray, Gostin)

Strict Scrutiny Podcast, Roe is Dead; Now What?

David Cohen, Greer Donley, Rachel Rebouche, The New Abortion Battleground

Politically

           Voters and Elections:

The Erroneous Claim that SCOTUS has Returned the Question of Abortion Access to the People (9/8/22)

Op ed, Women are So Fired Up to Vote! I've Never Seen Anything Like It (9/7/22)

Ohio Sees Surge in Women Registering to Vote After Abortion Access Denied (9/7/22)

Rethinking Strategy Post-Roe (7/25/22)

            Referendum: 62-69% of polls pro-choice; “reasonable” right that does not overreach

Abortion Defenders in MI and OH Get It: Take it to the Voters (6/30/22)

            Fetal Personhood:

GA Abortion Restrictions Spark New Debate Over Claims to Fetal Personhood (9/8/22)

GA Abortion Law Says a Fetus is Tax Deductible (8/10/22)

New OH Personhood Bill Would Declare All Individuals are Human from Moment of Conception (7/15/22)

We are Not Going Back to the Time Before Roe. We are Going Somewhere Worse.

            Protests and Activism:

The Green Wave in Latin America

How Green Bandanas Became the International Color of Abortion Rights

The 1960s Provide a Path for Securing Legal Abortion in 2022

Akron Abortion Rights Activists Makes Plans to Help Women After Roe

            Pack and Unpack the Court: expand number of Justices (13 for 13 circuits per 1869), impeach, term limits

            Foreign Effect:

WP, US Decision Horrific and Appalling, World Leaders Say       

French Lawmakers Want Abortion Rights in Constitution

Practically

            Focus on Abortion Medications: self-managed, FDA preemption, legal delivery

Abortion Pill Providers Experiment with Ways to Broaden Access (9/7/22)

                        NYT, Abortion Pills Take the Spotlight as States Impose Bans

                        Bloomberg, Supreme Court's Roe Ruling Tees Up Fight Over Abortion Pills

            Contraception: double layer contraception, increase in vasectomies

Is Male Birth Control Finally Here?

Missouri AG Says State Abortion Ban Does not Prohibit Plan B or Contraception (6/30/22)

KC Area Health System Stops Providing Plan B in Missouri Because of Abortion Ban (6/29/22)

Stock up on Plan B emergency contraception 

           Minors

FLA Court Rules 16-Year-Old not Sufficiently Mature for Abortion (8/23/22)

Digital Privacy & Period Tracking Apps:

Facebook Gave NB Cops a Teen's DMs. They Used Them to Prosecute an Abortion. (8/10.22)

SC Bill Would Ban Internet Information on Abortion; Tech Companies May Face Competing Laws (8/2/22)

HHS Issued Guidance to Protect Private Medical Info (inc Period Tracking Apps) (7/6/22)

Scholars Explain How Femtech Products Poised to Fill Gap as States Try & Limit Birth Control and Abortion 

Google Will Delete User Location History for Abortion Clinic Visits (7/6/22)

Period Tracker App Flo Develops Anonymous Mode (6/30/22)

Why Deleting Your Period Tracking App Won't Protect You (6/30/22) 

Newsweek, Why Delete Period Tracking Apps Roe v. Wade Ruling Sparks Panic Over Data

New Federal Bill Proposed to Curb Mass Collection of Privacy Data from Period Tracking Apps

Danielle Citron, The End of Roe Means we need a New Right to Privacy

Doctors and Women's Medical Care:

What Will Happen if Doctors Defy the Law to Provide Medical Care? (9/12/22) 

Dr Proposes Floating Abortion Clinic in Gulf of Mexico to Avoid Bans (7/15/22)

Can Pharmacists Refuse to Fill Prescriptions for Drugs Used in Abortion? (7/15/22)

Physicians Face Confusion and Fear in Post-Roe World

After Dobbs, What Happens to IVF and other ART Technology?

            Disparate Effect Race and Poor Women:

Overturning Roe will Exacerbate the Black Maternal Mortality Crisis (8/25/22)

                        Michele Goodwin, No, Justice Alito, Reproductive Justice is in the Constitution

            Companies and cities paying travel expenses:

St Louis Will Help Women Get Out of State Abortions; Cleveland, Cincinnati Also Take Measures (7/25/22)

How St Louis Tapped Federal Funds to Help People Travel Who Need Abortion (7/25/22)

TX Lawmakers Target Law Firms Aiding Abortion Access (7/11/22)

                        NYT, Here Are the Companies Who Will Pay Travel Expenses for Employee Abortions

ABJ, Akron Employers Provide Employee Abortion Related Travel Costs

            Information & Assistance:  

Abortion Finder Org Site ("The pink book" of where to access providers)

ABJ, Experts Say Helping OH Patients Get Abortions Isn't Illegal (6/30/22)

            Rebecca Traister, The Necessity of Hope: "It means doing the thing that people have always done on the arduous                             path to greater justice: Find the way to hope, not as feel-good anesthetic but as tactical necessity."

September 8, 2022 in Abortion, Constitutional, Courts, Healthcare, Legislation, LGBT, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights, SCOTUS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Justice Ginsburg's Cautious Legacy for the Equal Rights Amendment

Julie Suk, Justice Ginsburg's Cautious Legacy for the Equal Rights Amendment, 110 Georgetown L.J. 1391 (2022)

History will remember the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) as the “founding mother” of constitutional gender equality in the United States. This Article unpacks her legacy for inclusive constitutional change, unearthing her lifelong commitment to the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which was adopted fifty years ago by Congress in 1972. It took nearly half a century for the Amendment to be ratified by the thirty-eight states required by Article V, with Virginia becoming the last state to ratify it in 2020—the year of Justice Ginsburg’s death. Because the last three ratifications occurred decades after congressionally imposed time limits, RBG publicly expressed doubts about the viability of the ERA, as it was being disputed in Congress and in the courts. This Article unpacks RBG’s ambivalent stance toward the ERA, tracing it to her understanding of the process of constitutional change toward greater inclusion, located in her legal scholarship of the 1970s. As a scholar, RBG focused not only on sex discrimination but also on legal procedure. She was keenly aware that the procedural paths taken toward important socio-legal changes, including women’s equal citizenship, would shape their potential to endure as law.

This Article puts the spotlight on RBG’s often-neglected writings as a scholar before her judicial career. RBG’s transformative vision of constitutional gender equality had an institutional and procedural dimension that accompanied its ambitious substantive ideals. A modern constitutional democracy would fully include women in the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and power, by eliminating gender stereotypes from the law and by implementing public policies to enable the participation of people of all genders. Legislatures, rather than courts, are best equipped to complete this project. To legitimize such large-scale constitutional change, RBG viewed Congress as the appropriate institutional driver of the constitutional amendment process. Accordingly, Congress had plenary power over the procedural incidents of constitutional amendments such as the ERA, including ratification time limits and rescissions. RBG’s legislative constitutionalism on both the substance and procedure of the ERA point to cautiously viable paths forward for both the resurgent ERA and future amendments aiming to secure the inclusion of previously disempowered people in our democracy.

September 8, 2022 in Constitutional, Judges, Legal History, Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Erroneous Claim that SCOTUS in Dobbs Has Returned the Question of Abortion Access to the People

David Landau & Rosalind Dixon, Dobbs, Democracy, and Dysfunction  

Few recent decisions of the Supreme Court have received as much popular attention as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. Yet the scholarly evaluation of the decision is just beginning. In this essay, we focus on one important aspect of the Dobbs decision: its emphatic claim to be returning questions of abortion access to “the people,” or to democracy. Dobb’s invocation of democracy has obvious intuitive appeal, but it is a deeply problematic claim. It ignores systemic distortions in state legislatures caused by gerrymandering and other factors. And more specifically in the abortion context, it overlooks the very old laws that pre-date Roe and Roe/Casey-era “messaging” bills never thought likely to go into effect, both of which Dobbs has revived across the country. These laws, which often instantiate draconian bans on abortion access, are dubious measures of contemporary public opinion, but they may end up remaining in effect for a long time because of what we call burdens of inertia and blind spots in state legislative processes. Given these intertwined dysfunctions, Dobbs is far from a pro-democratic decision. Such a claim would be more plausible if (a) issued in a context where the Court was also taking the sources of democratic dysfunction, such as partisan gerrymandering, seriously, and (b) issued in a way that showed sensitivity to the distortions in the democratic process surrounding abortion, many of which were caused by the Court’s own interventions. As well, since the dysfunctions identified on the abortion issue are difficult to eliminate, a decision that took democracy seriously may have required the Court to continue to oversee abortion regulation nationwide with a regime similar to its current approach in Casey. The hollowness of the celebratory reference to democracy in Dobbs raises the question of whether it was sincere, or instead a cynical fig leaf that threatens to further erode the significance of U.S.

September 8, 2022 in Abortion, Constitutional, Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Transgender Constitutional Law

Katie Eyer, Transgender Constitutional Law

Litigation addressing the constitutional rights of the transgender community has exploded in the last decade. This litigation revolution has fundamentally reshaped the constitutional landscape with respect to the equality and liberty rights of transgender litigants, recognizing the transgender community as constitutionally protected subjects entitled to meaningful rights. And yet—because this litigation revolution has occurred in the lower and state courts—it has remained comparatively invisible from the perspective of the legal literature.

This Article provides the first systematic account of this constitutional law revolution in transgender rights. Based on an analysis of the last five years (2017-2021) of transgender constitutional rights litigation, it offers a comprehensive descriptive account of contemporary constitutional transgender rights litigation in the Equal Protection and Due Process contexts. As that analysis reveals, recent transgender rights litigation has resulted in important and consistent victories for transgender constitutionalism in the lower and state courts. Indeed, recent constitutional decisions are close to unanimous in their treatment of the transgender community as warranting meaningful constitutional protections.

This revolution in transgender constitutional rights is important in its own right—indeed it is likely to be critical at a time when a wave of anti-transgender legislation is currently sweeping the country. But it is also important for the ways it calls into question the conventional wisdom of constitutional law as a field. As this Article elaborates, contemporary transgender constitutionalism challenges many of the assumptions of constitutional law scholars, including assumptions regarding the death of suspect class analysis under Equal Protection doctrine, the impossibility of new fundamental rights under the Due Process clause, and the weakness and futility of rational basis review. It thus highlights the importance of attending to the constitutional law of the lower federal and state courts—not only that of the United States Supreme Court.

August 2, 2022 in Constitutional, Courts, LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 25, 2022

The Precarity of SCOTUS's LGBTQ Jurisprudence

Kyle Velte, The Precarity of Justice Kennedy's Queer Canon, 13 ConLawNOW 75 (2022)

This essay gives a brief overview of the legal and normative of impact of Justice Kennedy’s Queer Canon, a series of four LGBTQ cases written by Justice Kennedy over nearly two decades. The pro-LGBTQ outcomes in the Queer Canon cases made Justice Kennedy a hero to many LGBTQ people. It then explores Justice Kennedy’s fifth, and final, LGBTQ opinion, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. That case, which held that a traditional Christian baker would prevail on his First Amendment Free Exercise challenge to a state public accommodations law, was not the finale hoped for by the LGBTQ community. The essay next asks and answers the question: What will a post-Justice Kennedy Court mean for LGBTQ people and the 25 years of constitutional progress reflected in his Queer Canon? Through a comparative analysis of the Court’s two post-Justice Kennedy decisions, Bostock v. Clayton County and Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, Justice Kennedy’s Queer Canon, and his opinion in Masterpiece Cakeshop, this essay contends that the progress made during the Justice Kennedy era is a fragile progress, one that is under threat by the current Court.

July 25, 2022 in Constitutional, Family, Judges, LGBT, SCOTUS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 22, 2022

11th Circuit Upholds Georgia's Abortion Ban and Fetal Personhood Law

Sistersong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective v. Georgia (11th Cir. July 20, 2022)

WILLIAM PRYOR, Chief Judge:

This appeal concerns whether Georgia can prohibit some abortions and whether its redefinition of “natural person” to include unborn children is unconstitutionally vague on its face. The district court entered a summary judgment for the abortionists challenging the Georgia law and permanently enjoined state officials from enforcing it. But intervening Supreme Court precedent, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org., 142 S. Ct. 2228 (2022), makes clear that no right to abortion exists under the Constitution, so Georgia may prohibit them. And the expanded definition of natural person is not vague on its face. We vacate the injunction, reverse the judgment in favor of the abortionists [!!], and remand with instructions to enter judgment in favor of the state officials.***

Georgia enacted the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act in 2019. 2019 Ga. Laws Act 234 (H.B. 481). Section 3 of the Act amends the definition of “[n]atural person” in the Georgia Code to mean “any human being including an unborn child.” Id. § 3(b) (internal quotation marks omitted). And it defines “[u]nborn child” as “a member of the species of Homo sapiens at any stage of development who is carried in the womb.” Id. § 3(e)(2) (internal quotation marks omitted). Section 4 prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected with enumerated exceptions. Id. § 4(b). The Act also clarifies that removal of an “ectopic pregnancy” or “a dead unborn child caused by spontaneous abortion” is not an “abortion.” Id. § 4(a)(1) (internal quotation marks omitted). Sections 5 through 12 amend other provisions of the Georgia Code involving child support, tort recovery for fetal homicide, informed consent for women seeking abortions, tax benefits, and related issues. Id. §§ 5–12.

July 22, 2022 in Abortion, Constitutional, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bills to Protect Rights to Contraception and Marriage Equality Pass US House

Bills to Defend Marriage Equality and Contraception Pass US House, Head to Senate

The U.S. House of Representatives this week passed two landmark pieces of legislation: the Respect for Marriage Act, which would grant federal recognition of both same-sex and interracial marriages, and the Right To Contraception Act, which would establish a right in federal law to obtain and use contraceptives.

Democratic leaders say both bills are a direct response to Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson which called on the Court to “reconsider” past rulings codifying rights to contraception access, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage.

The bills now both head to the Senate, where Democrats need 10 Republican senators to consider and ultimately pass either bill.

July 22, 2022 in Constitutional, Family, Legislation, LGBT, Reproductive Rights, Same-sex marriage | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 18, 2022

The Pre-Civil War History of Fugitive Slave Laws and its Parallel to the Battle Over State Abortion Rights

Kate Masur, What Pre-Civil War History Tells Us About the Coming Abortion Battles, Wash. Post

The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Womens Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade and eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion, is prompting allusions to slavery and the antebellum United States. There’s talk of a new “Underground Railroad” that conjures clandestine networks helping people to flee their home states in search of the freedom to end a pregnancy. And some predict Dobbs will result in conflicts among the states of a magnitude not seen since before the Civil War.

 

Any historical comparison requires considerable care, with attention to differences as well as similarities.***

 
The Dobbs decision, which gives states complete control over abortion laws, has unleashed conflicts that resemble the battles that arose when enslaved people fled slave states for free states, and enslavers, in turn, mobilized state and federal power to get them back.
 

This history doesn’t provide a blueprint for action in our own time, but it does remind us of the corrosive impact of interstate conflict and of the importance of federal protections for freedom and individual rights.***

 

The history of the 19th century reminds us that arguments for states’ rights, or for federal power, have no intrinsic political or moral valence. Northerners adopted personal liberty laws to mitigate oppressive aspects of the Constitution and federal law, while enslavers insisted on extending their jurisdiction beyond state lines and put unprecedented federal power in the service of human bondage.

 

But that doesn’t mean the best option for the country is to leave questions of fundamental rights in the hands of the states. To the contrary, history also shows that the United States has been at its best when, as in the Reconstruction amendments and federal civil rights laws, it offered federal guarantees of freedom, dignity and equality to all people. Federal guarantees not only strengthen democracy, they also tamp down conflicts among the states. Now the Supreme Court has withdrawn the 14th Amendment’s protection of reproductive freedom. No wonder we find ourselves looking for parallels to a period before the amendment existed.

July 18, 2022 in Abortion, Constitutional, Legal History, Pregnancy, Race, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 11, 2022

Reading the Nineteenth Amendment Differently than the Fifteenth

Paula Monopoli, Gender, Voting Rights, and the Nineteenth Amendment, 20 Georgetown J. Law & Public Policy (2022)

One hundred years after the woman suffrage amendment became part of the United States Constitution, a federal court has held—for the first time—that a plaintiff must establish intentional discrimination to prevail on a direct constitutional claim under the Nineteenth Amendment. In adopting that threshold standard, the court simply reasoned by strict textual analogy to the Fifteenth Amendment and asserted that 'there is no reason to read the Nineteenth Amendment differently from the Fifteenth Amendment'. This paper’s thesis is that, to the contrary, the Nineteenth Amendment is deserving of judicial analysis independent of the Fifteenth Amendment because it has a distinct constitutional history and meaning. The unique historical context preceding and following the Nineteenth’s ratification militates for courts to adopt a holistic interpretative approach when considering a Nineteenth Amendment claim. Such an approach has both expressive and doctrinal implications, providing support for courts to adopt disparate impact, rather than intentional discrimination or discriminatory purpose, as a threshold standard for such claims. Reasoning beyond the text—from legislative intent, purposes, structure, and institutional relationships—could restore the lost constitutional history around the Nineteenth Amendment, making it a more potent tool to address gendered voter suppression today, especially for women of color. This paper provides a framework for judges willing to move away from rigid textual analogy toward a more holistic constitutional interpretation when evaluating a constitutional claim under the amendment.

July 11, 2022 in Constitutional, Gender, Legal History | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Ohio Lawsuit Filed to Enjoin 6 Week Abortion Ban on State Constitutional Grounds of Due Process, Equal Protection, and Freedom to Choose Health Care

Lawsuit Filed Against Ohio Abortion Ban After Roe v. Wade Ruling

Just days after the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a historic decision, multiple groups have come together to file a lawsuit in the Ohio Supreme Court “seeking to block the state’s six-week ban on abortion and to restore and further protect Ohioans’ reproductive rights secured by the Ohio Constitution.”

Their lawsuit comes after a federal judge in Ohio granted the state’s request to allow the previously blocked six-week abortion ban – also known as the “heartbeat bill” – to take effect. The suit argues the bill “radically restricts access to abortion in Ohio by lowering the gestational age limit from 22 weeks to approximately six weeks, with very limited exceptions.”

The Complaint is here: Download Complaint, Preterm Cleveland v. Yost (Ohio S.Ct. 6-29-2022)

See also: Download Memo in Support of Writ, Preterm Cleveland v. Yost (Ohio S.Ct. 6-29-2022)

To add some additional information:

1.  There is original jurisdiction in the Ohio Supreme Court for "extraordinary writs" like mandamus when there is no adequate remedy at law.  It is an unusual option, but that is the argument the provider plaintiffs are making here. saying there is a need for a definitive, state-wide ruling on this emergency motion.

2.  Ohio may be different in interpretation of its state due process ("due course of law") clause because it also now has a "Freedom to Choose Health Care" constitutional provision.  Ohio Const. Art. I.21.  This freedom of health care provision was passed by initiative in 2011 in response to the federal Affordable Healthcare Act as an "anti-Obamacare" action.

 

 

June 29, 2022 in Abortion, Constitutional, Courts, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Theory of Constitutional Memory and its Silencing of Women's Voices and Citizenship

Reva Siegel, The Politics of Constitutional Memory, 20 Georgetown J. Law & Public Policy 19 (2022)

Those who sought votes for women made claims for liberty and equality in the family on which constitutional law might now draw—but there is no trace of their voices or claims in constitutional law. The Supreme Court scarcely mentions the Nineteenth Amendment when interpreting the Constitution. Nor do Supreme Court opinions mention those who led women’s quest for political voice or the constitutional arguments they made in support of women voting, even though these arguments spanned two centuries. There is no method of interpretation that the Justices employ with sufficient consistency to account for this silence in our law.

 

This Article introduces the concept of constitutional memory to explain this silence in our law. Constitutional interpreters produce constitutional memory as they make claims on the past that can guide decisions about the future. It is the role of constitutional memory to legitimate the exercise of authority; but constitutional memory plays a special role in legitimating the exercise of authority when constitutional memory systematically diverges from constitutional history. Systematic divergence between constitutional memory and constitutional history can legitimate authority by generating the appearance of consent to contested status relations and by destroying the vernacular of resistance. Though women contested their lack of political authority in the constitutional order over two centuries, there is no trace of their arguments in constitutional law.

 

To illustrate, the Article examines a long-running tradition of suffrage argument that began before the Reconstruction Amendments and continued in evolving forms after the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment: that women needed the vote to democratize the family. Two centuries of constitutional arguments are nowhere reflected in the United States Reports. As a consequence, constitutional doctrines about liberty and equality in the family appear to lack historical antecedents.

 

But argument, inside and outside of courts, can counter the politics of memory. Justices across the spectrum regularly make heterodox claims on the past. Constitutional interpreters can invoke the voices of the disfranchised and the concerns that the disfranchised brought to the democratic reconstruction of America. Imagine how we might understand our Constitution in another generation if we did.

June 29, 2022 in Constitutional, Family, Legal History, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Historians Weigh in on All That is Wrong with the Legal History of the SCT's Abortion Decision

Patricia, The Dobbs Decision Looks to History to Rescind Roe

Friday’s Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization relies on history to rescind the constitutional right to a legal abortion established by Roe v. Wade in 1973. There’s just one problem: the history it relies on is not correct.

Writing for the majority in Dobbs, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. argues that Roe disrupted “an unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion on pain of criminal punishment” that had “persisted from the earliest days of the common law until 1973.” But the real picture is far blurrier — and even once states began passing stricter abortion laws between the 1820s and 1880s, public sentiment did not follow. Few abortion providers were convicted under the new laws, indicating that most Americans didn’t see abortion as a crime.

Anglo-American common law initially guided the U.S. on abortion. Under common law, abortion was only punishable after “quickening,” defined as the moment the mother first felt fetal movement — typically between 16 to 22 weeks of gestation.

Reva Siegel, The Trump Court Limited Women’s Rights Using 19th-century Standards

But Dobbs is plainly a political project. Reversing Roe has been the animating goal of the conservative legal movement since it mobilized under the banner of originalism during the Reagan administration. Far from setting aside politics in favor of a neutral interpretation of law, Alito’s decision reveals how conservative judges encode movement goals and values under cover of highly selective historical claims.***

Justice Alito claims that tying the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment’s liberty guarantee to America’s “history and traditions” prevents the justices from imposing their own views on the case at hand. “In interpreting what is meant by the Fourteenth Amendment’s reference to 'liberty,’” he writes, “we must guard against the natural human tendency to confuse what that Amendment protects with our own ardent views about the liberty that Americans should enjoy.” Here he echoes the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote, in “Originalism: The Lesser Evil,” that looking to history “establishes a historical criterion that is conceptually quite separate from the preferences of the judge himself.”

But Dobbs shows why both of these claims are wrong. A judge’s turn to the historical record can just as easily disguise judicial discretion as constrain it.

In Dobbs, the Trump court defines the Constitution’s protections for liberty largely with reference to laws enacted in mid-19th-century America. During that period — conveniently enough — there was a campaign to ban abortion across the nation. (Alito includes an appendix enumerating many of these state statutes.) But consider what else was part of this period’s “history and traditions”: The law did not protect a wife’s right to control property, earnings, or sex in marriage; this was a period when the Supreme Court declared states could deny women the right to practice law and states could deny women the right to vote.

Why would the Supreme Court today tether the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment’s liberty guarantee to laws enacted by men with such a cramped view of women’s rights? The move is unprecedented.

Jill Hasday, On Roe, Alito Cites a Judge who Treated Women as Witches and Property

There are at least two problems with Alito’s reliance on history. First, Alito has misrepresented the actual historical record. As abundant historical research establishes, the common law that governed America in its first decades and beyond did not regulate abortion before “quickening” — the moment when a pregnant woman first detects fetal movement, which can happen as late as 25 weeks into pregnancy.

Alito reports that [Judge] Hale “described abortion of a quick child who died in the womb as a ‘great crime’ ” while glossing over the key part of that passage. Hale wrote that abortion was a crime “if a woman be quick or great with child.” Note the “if.”

Second, Alito relies on sources such as Hale without acknowledging their entanglement with legalized male supremacy. The men who cited Hale as they constructed the early American legal order refused to give women the right to vote or to otherwise enjoy full citizenship. Relying on that history of injustice as a reason to deny modern women control over their own lives is a terrible argument but apparently the best Alito can do.

Hale was a man who believed women could be witches, assumed women were liars and thought husbands owned their wives’ bodies. It is long past time to leave that misogyny behind.

June 29, 2022 in Abortion, Constitutional, Judges, Legal History, Reproductive Rights, SCOTUS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 24, 2022

The SCOTUS Joint Dissent in Abortion Case Calls Out Women's Loss of Citizenship

A joint dissent by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization is expressive in its attack on the philosophical and physical harms to women from the Court's reversal of the fifty-year right of women to choose whether or not to bear a child in choosing an abortion. 

For half a century, Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113 (1973), and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U. S. 833 (1992), have protected the liberty and equality of women. Roe held, and Casey reaffirmed, that the Constitution safeguards a woman’s right to decide for herself whether to bear a child. Roe held, and Casey reaffirmed, that in the first stages of pregnancy, the government could not make that choice for women. The government could not control a woman’s body or the course of a woman’s life: It could not determine what the woman’s future would be. See Casey, 505 U. S., at 853; Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U. S. 124, 171–172 (2007) (Ginsburg, J., dissenting). Respecting a woman as an autonomous being, and granting her full equality, meant giving her substantial choice over this most personal and most consequential of all life decisions.***

Whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens. Yesterday, the Constitution guaranteed that a woman confronted with an unplanned pregnancy could (within reason able limits) make her own decision about whether to bear a child, with all the life-transforming consequences that act involves. And in thus safeguarding each woman’s reproductive freedom, the Constitution also protected “[t]he ability of women to participate equally in [this Nation’s] economic and social life.” Casey, 505 U. S., at 856. But no longer. As of today, this Court holds, a State can always force a woman to give birth, prohibiting even the earliest abortions. A State can thus transform what, when freely undertaken, is a wonder into what, when forced, may be a nightmare. Some women, especially women of means, will find ways around the State’s assertion of power. Others—those without money or childcare or the ability to take time off from work—will not be so fortunate. Maybe they will try an unsafe method of abortion, and come to physical harm, or even die. Maybe they will undergo pregnancy and have a child, but at significant personal or familial cost. At the least, they will incur the cost of losing control of their lives. The Constitution will, today’s majority holds, provide no shield, despite its guarantees of liberty and equality for all.***

We believe in a Constitution that puts some issues off limits to majority rule. Even in the face of public opposition, we uphold the right of individuals—yes, including women—to make their own choices and chart their own futures. Or at least, we did once.

***

We referred there to the “people” who ratified the Fourteenth Amendment: What rights did those “people” have in their heads at the time? But, of course, “people” did not ratify the Fourteenth Amendment. Men did. So it is perhaps not so surprising that the ratifiers were not perfectly attuned to the importance of reproductive rights for women’s liberty, or for their capacity to participate as equal members of our Nation. Indeed, the ratifiers—both in 1868 and when the original Constitution was approved in 1788—did not understand women as full members of the community embraced by the phrase “We the People.” In 1868, the first wave of American feminists were explicitly told—of course by men—that it was not their time to seek constitutional protections. (Women would not get even the vote for another half-century.) To be sure, most women in 1868 also had a foreshortened view of their rights: If most men could not then imagine giving women control over their bodies, most women could not imagine having that kind of autonomy. But that takes away nothing from the core point. Those responsible for the original Constitution, including the Fourteenth Amendment, did not perceive women as equals, and did not recognize women’s rights. When the majority says that we must read our foundational charter as viewed at the time of ratification (except that we may also check it against the Dark Ages), it consigns women to second-class citizenship.

The dissent finds it clear that other constitutional rights of liberty interests are now threatened:

And no one should be confident that this majority is done with its work. The right Roe and Casey recognized does not stand alone. To the contrary, the Court has linked it for decades to other settled freedoms involving bodily integrity, familial relationships, and procreation. Most obviously, the right to terminate a pregnancy arose straight out of the right to purchase and use contraception. See Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U. S. 479 (1965); Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972). In turn, those rights led, more recently, to rights of same-sex intimacy and marriage. See Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U. S. 558 (2003); Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U. S. 644 (2015). They are all part of the same constitutional fabric, protecting autonomous decisionmaking over the most personal of life decisions. The majority (or to be more accurate, most of it) is eager to tell us today that nothing it does “cast[s] doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” Ante, at 66; cf. ante, at 3 (THOMAS, J., concurring) (advocating the overruling of Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell). But how could that be? The lone rationale for what the majority does today is that the right to elect an abortion is not “deeply rooted in history”: Not until Roe, the majority argues, did people think abortion fell within the Constitution’s guarantee of liberty. Ante, at 32. The same could be said, though, of most of the rights the majority claims it is not tampering with. The majority could write just as long an opinion showing, for example, that until the mid-20th century, “there was no support in American law for a constitutional right to obtain [contraceptives].” Ante, at 15. So one of two things must be true. Either the majority does not really believe in its own reasoning. Or if it does, all rights that have no history stretching back to the mid19th century are insecure. Either the mass of the majority’s opinion is hypocrisy, or additional constitutional rights are under threat. It is one or the other. ***

The Court’s precedents about bodily autonomy, sexual and familial relations, and procreation are all interwoven—all part of the fabric of our constitutional law, and because that is so, of our lives. Especially women’s lives, where they safeguard a right to self-determination.

And eliminating that right, we need to say before further describing our precedents, is not taking a “neutral” position, as JUSTICE KAVANAUGH tries to argue.

June 24, 2022 in Abortion, Constitutional, Judges, LGBT, Reproductive Rights, SCOTUS | Permalink | Comments (0)

US Supreme Court Overrules Constitutional Right to Choose an Abortion

The US Supreme Court expressly overruled the 50-year old constitutional right for women to choose an abortion. Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.

The vote is 5-4 to overturn Roe/Casey, with the majority opinion by J. Alito, joined by Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett.  Roberts concurs only in the judgment of upholding the 15-week ban, but not in overruling Roe.  The dissent is Breyer, Sotomayer, and Kagan.

In my first quick look, the majority opinion is not much different from the leaked draft opinion.

Thomas in his concurrence of one calls for revisiting Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell, meaning to challenge the constitutional rights to marital privacy, contraception, sexual intimacy and conduct, and same-sex marriage.

Kavanaugh in concurrence says the Constitution calls for neutrality, and not taking sides between the pregnant woman's interest and the fetal life, which he says Roe did.  He footnotes a Rehnquist dissent that says exceptions to protect the life of the woman are constitutionally required.  He emphasizes that the decision doesn't prohibit abortion, but allows for legislative action.  He responds to Thomas and says nothing in the opinion calls into question the constitutional rights to contraception or LGBTQ rights because abortion is different.  And, in veiled reference to harmonize the Court's recent decision in Bruen on the Second Amendment, he says in a footnote that the relevant historical evidence for the abortion decision is at the time the 14th Amendment was enacted in 1868 when two-thirds of the states criminalized abortion.

Roberts concurs only to uphold the judgment.  He overturns the viability standard from Roe, but does not overrule the right to abortion completely.

A joint dissent by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan is explicit in noting the philosophical and physical harms to women from the decision:

Whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens. Yesterday, the Constitution guaranteed that a woman confronted with an unplanned pregnancy could (within reasonable limits) make her own decision about whether to bear a child, with all the life-transforming consequences that act involves. And in thus safeguarding each woman’s reproductive freedom, the Constitution also protected “[t]he ability of women to participate equally in [this Nation’s] economic and social life.” Casey, 505 U. S., at 856. But no longer. As of today, this Court holds, a State can always force a woman to give birth, prohibiting even the earliest abortions. 

See Gender & the Law Prof Blog, The Joint Dissent in SCOTUS Abortion Case Calls Out Women's Loss of Citizenship

June 24, 2022 in Abortion, Constitutional, LGBT, Reproductive Rights, SCOTUS | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 17, 2022

Jewish Synagogue Sues Florida, Saying Abortion Restrictions Violate Religious Freedoms

Synagogue Sues Florida, Saying Abortion Restrictions Violate Religious Freedoms 

But a lawsuit filed last week by a South Florida synagogue challenges new legislation in the state banning most abortions after 15 weeks, saying it violates the State Constitution’s right to privacy and freedom of religion. In Jewish law, the suit argues, “abortion is required if necessary to protect the health, mental or physical well-being of the woman.”

 

The lawsuit, filed by Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor, a progressive synagogue in Palm Beach County not affiliated with a broader denomination, may face an uphill climb in court. But it is a reminder that abortion poses religious issues beyond those of the Christian right. And it suggests potential legal issues that could surface at a time when Roe seems likely to be overturned, and the Supreme Court has been aggressively open to a wider role for religion in public and political life.

 

Florida’s state law limiting abortions, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in April, goes into effect July 1. In banning abortions after 15 weeks, it does not make exceptions for cases of incest, rape or human trafficking. It does, however, allow for abortions if the mother’s life is endangered or if two doctors determine that the fetus has a fatal abnormality. The law was challenged earlier this month by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida on behalf of a group of abortion providers and abortion rights organizations.***

See also South Florida Synagogue Sues Over Florida's New 15-Week Abortion Ban

 

Deeply-rooted Jewish teachings indicate that abortion is permissible — and even required — if a mother’s life is in danger, said Jewish leaders from across the ideological spectrum. In Jewish thought, it is also widely accepted that as long as a fetus is in the womb, it has “potential,” but not full, personhood, said Michal Raucher, an assistant professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University.

June 17, 2022 in Abortion, Constitutional, Religion, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)