Editorial: Abortion rights triumphed from coast to coast
The decision on the legal protection of the unborn child was an important victory for America’s pro-choice community. But it’s just the beginning.
By Amanda Smith
This past week was the most crucial week in the fight for abortion rights. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on two cases, one on an individual’s right to an abortion decision and the other on the constitutional rights of a fetus that is “unborn” for 48 weeks. The Court delivered a mixed bag of rulings, but by far the most significant outcome was the landmark decision on the constitutionality of the federal ban against abortion funding for non-profit groups that claim to have religious objections to abortion.
The two cases were decided together, and by a split vote.
In a 5-3 decision, the Court accepted an appeal by the ACLU and Women’s Health Action, a pro-choice group, on the issue of women’s abortion funding. The ACLU argued that the ban is unconstitutional because it is too broad and unconstitutionally prevents groups that object to abortion from being able to express their beliefs on abortion. Women’s Health Action argued that the ban is unconstitutional because it denies women a legal right to access a legal abortion.
The Supreme Court agreed with the ACLU. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, where he found that the ban was unconstitutionally broad and unconstitutionally prevented groups from being able to express their beliefs on abortion. Kennedy’s opinion included a lengthy list of organizations and individuals who would be allowed to engage in a range of activities that would be banned under the ban, including the NAACP, the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association. The dissenting opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito, who found that the ban was not discriminatory and that the government established that it had a compelling interest in regulating abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood and other nonprofit clinics.
Two other issues decided by the Court are now on