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Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban is mainstream, most European laws more strict: report


Reported By Ryan Foley, Christian Post Reporter| Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/mississippis-abortion-ban-in-line-with-most-european-laws-report.html/

Abortion
Demonstrators hold signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court as the court is due to issue its first major abortion ruling since 2007 in Washington, U.S. June 27, 2016. | Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

A new report reveals that Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, the subject of litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court, is in line with most European laws on abortion.

The Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, published a study concluding that “Mississippi’s 15-week Gestational Limit on Abortion is Mainstream Compared to European Abortion Laws.”

Conducted by the Charlotte Lozier Institute associate scholar Angelina Nguyen, the report comes as Supreme Court justices are poised to hear a case involving the law.

After lower courts have ruled in favor of the abortion clinic seeking to invalidate the law, the state of Mississippi, which supports the bill, has asked the Supreme Court to review those decisions. The justices are expected to hear oral arguments in the case of Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in its upcoming term, scheduled to begin in October, and will make a decision next year. 

The report analyzed the abortion laws of 50 European countries, finding that “the majority of European countries that allow elective abortion limit it to 12 weeks.” Specifically, while 42 European countries permit elective abortions, 39 of those nations only allow the procedure to take place when the child is at 15 weeks gestation or less. A majority of European countries actually have stricter restrictions on abortion than Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. Croatia, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey only permit elective abortions within the first 10 weeks of a pregnancy.

Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Moldova, Northern Ireland, North Macedonia, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland and Ukraine restrict the procedure to the first 12 weeks.

Austria and Italy only permit elective abortions in the first three months of a pregnancy, while Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Romania and Spain have 14-week limits on the procedure. 

Only three European countries allow elective abortions to take place more than 15 weeks into a pregnancy: Iceland, the Netherlands and Sweden. The Netherlands has the most permissive abortion law of the three countries, allowing elective abortions to take place as late as 24 weeks into a pregnancy. Iceland and Sweden limit elective abortions at 22 weeks and 18 weeks gestation, respectively. 

In contrast to elective abortion, or “abortion without restriction as to reason,” eight European countries require women seeking an abortion to have a specific reason for doing so: Andorra, Finland, Lichtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Poland, San Marino, and Great Britain. Restrictions in these countries range from “most protective of life (to save the life of the mother or completely prohibited) to most permissive of abortion (socioeconomic grounds) with various reasons in between (e.g., physical health, mental health).” 

As noted in the report, the “United States Supreme Court precedent allows for elective abortions through all nine months of pregnancy, and only permits states to enact limitations on abortion on demand after viability, a legal definition which has not kept pace with science and is usually marked around 24 weeks.” 

In 2017, a Washington Post fact check, citing a previous study from the Charlotte Lozier Institute, confirmed that the United States was one of only seven countries in the world to allow late-term abortions. The others are Canada, China, the Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore and Vietnam.

Nguyen and Charlotte Lozier Institute President Chuck Donovan elaborated on the results of the study and abortion laws in the U.S. in a USA Today op-ed where they said: “We reached this inglorious status by judicial decree, joining only Canada in the dubious distinction of completely sidelining the consent and consensus of the governed.” 

“We reached this inglorious status by judicial decree, joining only Canada in the dubious distinction of completely sidelining the consent and consensus of the governed.” 

As Donovan and Nguyen indicated in their op-ed, the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade and subsequent Supreme Court decisions have determined that women have a right to obtain an abortion throughout the first two trimesters of pregnancy, thereby limiting the ability of states to restrict the procedure. Pro-life activists see the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization as an opportunity to reverse the longstanding abortion precedent in the U.S.

When the Supreme Court announced that it would hear the state of Mississippi’s challenge to a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision ruling the state’s 15-week abortion ban unconstitutional, Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser praised the development as “a landmark opportunity for the Supreme Court to recognize the right of states to protect unborn children from the horrors of painful late-term abortions.” 

Dannenfelser added, “It is time for the Supreme Court to catch up to scientific reality and the resulting consensus of the American people as expressed in elections and policy.”

In addition to pro-life advocates, the attorney general of Mississippi and other pro-life politicians have explicitly called for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe. In a brief submitted to the Supreme Court last week, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch argued that Roe and the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey that upheld Roe’s central finding were “egregiously wrong.” She described the case for overturning the precedent of those two decisions as “overwhelming.”

“Roe and Casey are profoundly unprincipled decisions that have damaged the democratic process, poisoned our national discourse, plagued the law, and harmed the perception of this Court. Retaining those precedents harms this Court’s legitimacy. This Court can thus offer the Nation an overwhelming case for overruling Roe and Casey,” she added.

Fitch also pointed to scientific advancements as another justification for reversing Roe and Casey, specifically highlighting that “advances in ‘neonatal and medical science’ … now show that an unborn child has ‘taken on the human form in all relevant respects’ by 12 weeks’ gestation.”

“And while the Roe Court thought there was no ‘consensus’ among those ‘trained in … medicine’ as to whether ‘life … is persistent throughout pregnancy’ … the Court has since acknowledged that ‘by common understanding and scientific terminology, a fetus is a living organism while within the womb’ before and after viability … Yet Casey and Roe still impede a state from acting on this information by prohibiting pre-viability abortions.” 

Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, filed a separate brief with the Supreme Court, maintaining that “Roe and Casey should be overruled, and the question of abortion legislation should be returned to the states.” If the Supreme Court sides with the state of Mississippi in Dobbs, abortion would not automatically become illegal in all 50 states. 

Instead, states like Mississippi would have the ability to limit abortions to the first 15-weeks, while states like New York could continue to enforce permissive abortion laws like the Reproductive Health Act, which allows women to obtain abortions up to the moment of birth. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

Democrats introduce bill to add 4 seats to the Supreme Court; Pompeo calls effort ‘political games’


Reported By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter | Thursday, April 15, 2021

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/news/democrats-introduce-bill-to-add-4-supreme-court-seats.html/

An overcast sky hangs above the U.S. Supreme Court on December 16, 2019, in Washington, D.C. | Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Democrats in U.S. Congress have announced controversial legislation that would add four seats to the U.S. Supreme Court in response to the current conservative majority. However, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has reportedly said she won’t bring such legislation to the floor for a vote. 

Introduced Thursday, the bill is known as the Judiciary Act of 2021 and would increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court for the first time since the 19th century. Sponsors include House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York, Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Hank Johnson of Georgia and Rep. Mondaire Jones of New York. In the Senate, the bill is backed by Sen. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts.

In a statement, Markey claimed that “Republicans stole the Court’s majority, with Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation completing their crime spree.”

“Senate Republicans have politicized the Supreme Court, undermined its legitimacy, and threatened the rights of millions of Americans, especially people of color, women, and our immigrant communities,” he argued.

“This legislation will restore the Court’s balance and public standing and begin to repair the damage done to our judiciary and democracy, and we should abolish the filibuster to ensure we can pass it.”

Over the past couple of years, some progressive politicians and activists have pushed to add more justices to the Supreme Court to counter what is now a 6-3 conservative majority. During his only term in office, President Donald Trump appointed three justices to the Supreme Court. Those confirmations came after Republicans in the Senate blocked President Barack Obama’s 2016 nomination of Merrick Garland following Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. 

Following Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Democrats were upset that the Republican-controlled Senate quickly confirmed Barrett to the court last October just days before the 2020 election but never held a confirmation vote for Garland even though he was nominated months before the 2016 election. 

Last week, President Joe Biden signed an executive order creating a commission comprised of 36 individuals to assess the Supreme Court’s current status and whether to reform it. House Speaker Pelosi reportedly declared Thursday that she would not bring the bill to the floor for a vote. According to CNN’s Manu Raju, Pelosi responded with a “no” when asked if she would bring a bill to expand the Supreme Court to the floor. However, she reportedly said that she backs the White House commission to study the idea.

“I think it’s an idea that should be considered,” she reportedly said. “It’s not out of the question … I have no intention to bring it to the floor.”

Former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany is not sold by Pelosi’s remarks. 

“Do not fall for the Left’s game. Dems put forward a Supreme Court packing bill. Pelosi not there yet but says she supports Biden ‘bipartisan’ commission,” McEnany tweeted. “Commission is 2-to-1 stacked w/ liberals Supporting commission = Supporting court packing.” 

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the legislation in a tweet Thursday morning. 

“Our Supreme Court Justices uphold the rule of law, not the emotion of law,” he wrote. “Packing the Supreme Court to tilt favorable outcomes brings partisan politics into the courtroom. SCOTUS is the last place we need political games.”

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called expanding the Supreme Court a “terrible idea” and vowed to vote against it. 

Critics of the plan to pack the high court include Walter Shapiro of The Brennan Center for Justice, who wrote in 2019 that the plan seems “like a banana-republic attempt to change the rules in the middle of the game.” Shapiro drew a parallel to President Franklin Roosevelt’s attempt to pack the court when its conservative majority often struck down his New Deal efforts.

He noted that, eventually, Roosevelt abandoned his effort in part because the makeup of the Supreme Court began to change more in his favor without the need to add justices.

“The principled argument against 21st-century court packing is that it is dangerous to tamper with the mechanisms of democracy to thwart a single political figure,” wrote Shapiro.

“For times change while power eventually ebbs. But restructuring the Supreme Court could have lasting repercussions long after the current crisis is as forgotten as the mid-1930s conservative decisions that jeopardized the New Deal.”

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