Monday, June 15, 2015

207.4 - Not Good News: Appeals Court upholds extreme Texas anti-choice law

Not Good News: Appeals Court upholds extreme Texas anti-choice law

Now we go to some Not Good News, which I'm going to introduce by quoting the opening paragraph of a news article on the matter:
Advocates on both sides of the abortion debate said Tuesday that they are stunned police arrested a Georgia woman on murder charges after a hospital social worker told officers she terminated her pregnancy by taking abortion pills.
The woman is 23-year old Kenlissia Jones and this is what happened:

On June 6, a county social services worker called police to a hospital in Albany, Georgia, where a hospital social worker said that Jones said she had taken four pills she purchased over the Internet "to induce labor" because she and her boyfriend had broken up. Jones did go into labor and delivered the fetus in a car on the way to the hospital. The fetus did not survive.

Police then arrested Jones on charges of malice murder and possession of a dangerous drug.

Now, the thing is, this all seems to be in conflict with Georgia case law. State law explicitly prohibits prosecuting women for feticide involving their own pregnancies. And a Georgia appeals court ruled in 1998 that a teenager whose fetus was stillborn after she shot herself in the abdomen could not be prosecuted for performing an illegal abortion.

Even one anti-choice group in the state, Georgia Right to Life, expressed "surprise" over the arrest and said it was the fist such case they knew of.

District Attorney Greg Edwards said there "issues" he is "trying to unravel" before deciding whether to pursue the case.

It seems to me what you have here is a case of a couple of cops having no idea what the law is plus a local DA trying to figure out the least embarrassing way out of this with the smallest possible admission of a screw-up.

The salient point is that it also seems to me that the cops were just prepared to assume that anything associated with abortion MUST be a crime of some sort and besides any woman who has an abortion is a murderer, right? So arrest her! Charge her! Punish her! That's where the malice was: with the cops, not with her.

On the other hand, that was likely a visceral reaction on the part of the cops. You want to see real, considered, malice, we have to go to what too often seems to be its home base: Texas.

On June 9, a panel of the reliably right-wing Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the main provisions of Texas' extremist anti-choice law, one designed to close down clinics where abortions are performed by creating costs and regulatory demands that they can't meet.

The bill requires abortion clinics to meet standards for what are called "ambulatory surgical centers" including minimum sizes for rooms, hallways and doorways, ventilation systems and other structural and aesthetic elements as well as having facilities for certain surgeries. And the doctors have to have admitting privileges at a hospital no more than 30 miles away.

The required modifications are cost-prohibitive for many clinics and, even if they could be made, the result would likely to be make the procedures cost-prohibitive for most clients. What's more, many hospitals will not grant admitting privileges for abortion clinics either because they are Catholic hospitals or are afraid of a backlash or because many of the doctors at abortion clinics are visiting doctors and hospitals usually won't give admitting privileges to doctors who don't have a local practice.

And here's the kicker: All of this stuff is justified, if that's even an appropriate word, justified in the law as for the protection of women's health. But that's a lie because it is all, in actual fact, medically unnecessary.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which represents 90 percent of US board-certified ob-gyns, declared the provision requiring clinics to meet ambulatory surgical center standards was
plainly intended to restrict the reproductive rights of women in Texas through a series of requirements that improperly regulate medical practice and interfere with the patient-physician relationship.
Irrelevant. Pointless. Who cares what the most knowledgeable people on a topic think about it when we have GOD ON OUR SIDE! The three-judge panel of the Appeals Court didn't invoke any deity, but it did wholly embrace the state's contention that this was all about women's health, yessiree, the poor dears just need our protection just so badly, we just want to make sure they're safe and the best way to make abortions safe is to make it all but impossible to get one.

I have said a number of times here that I am old enough to remember the symbolism of a wire coat hanger and I have no desire to return to that time. Yet it seems that is exactly what we are doing - as the back-alley butchers sharpen their instruments and lick their lips.

Sources cited in links:

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