An Inquirer editorial, "Supreme activism," April 20, criticized the reasoning in the U.S. Supreme Court's latest abortion ruling - upholding curbs on a late-term procedure - as "an insult to women and to the medical profession." That view drew spirited responses.
Philip J. Donohue
Of course The Inquirer would decry the decision, but please, describing the court as "activist" is wrong on many levels. The Supreme Court did not ban partial birth abortion, or as you call it, "intact D&X." It will just allow legislatures to limit this procedure if people against it elect enough like-minded legislators.
If the Supreme Court had created a new law or new right, that could be considered activism. The Inquirer should not be alarmed. Many states will still allow a perfectly healthy woman to have a perfectly healthy nine-month-old fetus' skull punctured, its brain sucked out, and then the dead fetus delivered because many enlightened individuals believe this is a fundamental right.
You owe your Roman Catholic readers an apology for running Tony Auth's bigoted, crude, and vile anti-Catholic cartoon about the Supreme Court's abortion ruling.
I was anticipating your attack on the Supreme Court decision upholding the federal partial birth abortion ban. Your words didn't disappoint: "activist court"; "misleading coinage"; "conservative judges"; "bad or dangerous ruling"; "paternalism"; "insult" to women and the medical profession; and "slippery slope" were all in your editorial. So were "intact dilation and extraction"; "reproductive rights"; "choose"; "stare decisis"; and "privacy." I searched, but couldn't find, the words baby or fetus. This callousness is extraordinary.
Whatever your position on abortion, let's be glad this barbaric method of killing a baby just inches and moments from being born won't be legally protected anymore.
James F. Davis
Wasn't this an example of "activist judges"? The hypocrisy of conservative posturing regarding the courts has been revealed in this decision, a decision that was, according to Justice Anthony Kennedy, a "moral" one. Sounds to me like an activist position to further a particular morality. I'm not so sure women who need this procedure or the doctors who might become criminals if they provide it see it as a triumph of morality.
Your editorial has it backward. The Supreme Court is finally backing off its activist stand and returning to rule of law. The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision had no basis in the Constitution. The decision was based on an unwritten right of privacy that was not written into the Constitution.
That decision basically overturned the entire concept of law, dating back to the Magna Carta: namely, that the law is what is written down. The law of the land was not what a king or judge wants or thinks the law should say. That decision had no basis in law. In point of fact it was exactly that kind of unwritten law that caused the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to be written.
Anthony P. Schiavo
Tony Auth's cartoon showing the five members of the Supreme Court who upheld the ban of partial birth abortion wearing bishop's mitres would be outrageous if it wasn't foolish. There is no religious "life begins at conception" argument here. All but the most dogmatic pro-choice fanatics agree these are babies being aborted. So the only issue is whether giving birth is a serious threat to the mother's health or life.
In the partial birth abortion procedure, the baby is taken out of the birth canal except for its head, which is then punctured and collapsed, killing the baby. It is foolish to argue that after removing all but the head, removing the head is a deadly threat to the mother.
This is a serious setback for women and families. By criminalizing how a woman can have an abortion, not whether a woman can have an abortion, politicians have used ideology and not medicine to determine what women and their doctors can do. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says in her dissent, the federal ban "reflects ancient notions about women's place in the family and under the Constitution." It's time to send the message to Congress that they must stop playing politics with women's health.
Patricia J. Leaf
Edgewater Park, N.J.
The majority of the citizens of this country do not favor returning to a time when wealthy women had illegal procedures and women who were not wealthy resorted to coat hangers, resulting in infection and death. It is obscene that five men can reverse the rights of women and families on this painful personal decision.