Tuesday, June 20, 2006

What can States Do?

. . . about abortion, that is, the Supreme Court apparently having stripped them of all power over the matter?

The state of Louisiana thinks otherwise, as NRO reports:

Led by women with the courage to share their stories of profound grief and medical trauma that they suffered after they chose the “choice,” Louisiana has passed legislation to outlaw the human-rights violation known as abortion on demand. Governor Kathleen Blanco, a woman and a Democrat, signed the bill into law on Sunday. But the legislation has confounded abortion-industry lawyers who will not be able to follow their usual pattern of challenging the law in federal court the minute the ink on the governor’s signature is dry.

That’s because the bill, La. S.B. 33 by Senator Ben Nevers, has a Post-Roe Activation clause, meaning that the law goes into effect only when “[a]ny decision of the United States Supreme Court. . .reverses, in whole or in part, Roe v. Wade,. . .thereby restoring to the state of Louisiana the authority to prohibit abortion.”


What will this accomplish? The law was the reult of full hearings in which the legislature acted as if it were making law. The justification for Roe, if we can call it that, depends in part on the lie that the nation is willing to follow the Court's lead on this -- that the Court is mercifully providing much-needed unity on an issue that Americans just can't resolve on their own. Continued public debate on the issue is interpreted in the Orwellian light of providing further evidence that such unity is needed. Rather than admitting failure, the court insists that its stubbornness will eventually make us one again. As the piece argues,

PRA [post-Roe-activation] legislation allows state legislators to act with the goal of creating an environment that reveals a growing political will to appoint and confirm that fifth Justice [who will vote against Roe]. Imagine the scenario of state after state holding committee hearings to consider what legalized abortion has done to the very women that were alleged to have been its biggest beneficiaries. Imagine the people in state after state standing up to proclaim that abortion is a crime against humanity that we will no longer endure. When a Supreme Court vacancy opens, the president and Senate would not have to read the tea leaves; rather, they could just look at the numbers of states who have enacted legislation evidencing their desire to restore the Declaration’s mandate to protect the inalienable right to life.


States have governmental authority if they are willing to yield it. They serve as one of the checks in our system of checks and balances. They can put real pressure on the Court to desist in its usurpation of state police power. Who knows, perhaps they could even swing a justice before another one drops dead or retires.

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