Monday, June 27, 2011
Post-20-Week Abortion Bans So Far Unchallenged in Court
New York Times: Several States Forbid Abortion After 20 Weeks, by Erik Eckholm:
Dozens of new restrictions passed by states this year have chipped away at the right to abortion by requiring women to view ultrasounds, imposing waiting periods or cutting funds for clinics. But a new kind of law has gone beyond such restrictions, striking at the foundation of the abortion rules set out by the Supreme Court over the last four decades.
These laws, passed in six states in little more than a year, ban abortions at the 20th week after conception, based on the theory that the fetus can feel pain at that point — a notion disputed by mainstream medical organizations in the United States and Britain. . . .
Caitlin Borgmann, a law professor at City University of New York School of Law and an advocate for abortion rights, said that it was frustrating to see “clearly unconstitutional” laws on the books in several states, so far without challenge.
But she defended the decision of legal groups to proceed cautiously, saying that “it’s better to wait for a good opportunity than to act too quickly,” with a chance of a disastrous loss.
“It has to be a very careful balancing,” she said.