Marquette Law School Poll Finds Strong Support For Roe v. Wade, Reasons For Concern About Chipping Away At Women’s Choice

We can be pleased when a well-respected polling operation in Wisconsin makes national headlines. When its director sits for interviews it is clear why credibility is attached to the poll findings.

Many headlines and news articles are being written today concerning the new poll from Marquette Law School which finds that abortion rights have strong public support. That is not surprising if one has discussions with neighbors and friends or listens to a cross-section of the national dialogue.

To put numbers to that foundation of feeling the poll finds American adults opposed by a more than 2-to-1 margin striking down the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

Charles Franklin, a face that everyone knows by sight when he appears on news programs, will be asked to weigh the results of the polling which showed, in addition, to support for the 1973 court ruling, also some drift towards limiting abortion after a certain time period. That last matter is concerning as the encroachment on the health decisions a woman makes must not be furthered.

The poll found that “more respondents oppose overturning Roe than would like to see the ruling struck down. But, at the same time, more are in favor of a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of a pregnancy than are opposed.”

The Marquette Poll was not the only one this week showing the direction of support for Roe v. Wade. The Washington Post-ABC News poll found much the same.

The polling data is most worthy of our consideration as states continually try to find extra-constitutional avenues to limit the rights of women with this health care decision. We know that states have forced counseling and waiting periods before the procedure. We are aware that health insurance coverage is too often denied for abortion, and we know who that impacts the most. Women of lower economic standing.

While we must be diligent about making sure the soft erosion of abortion rights is limited, we can at the same time be most heartened that these polls find the extreme positions of some conservatives are not shared by a majority of Americans. 

And so it goes.

Texas Abortion Editorial Cartoons

The absurdity from Texas has been demonstrated on the editorial pages of newspapers around the nation.

Abortion In America To Face Supreme Court Test In Midterm Election Year

The high-wire political act being demanded of each political party in the 2022 midterms will be filled with enough bombast without adding more to the red meat container. As if the tribal politics of the country were not already strained comes a very important abortion case before the Supreme Court.

At issue is what is termed viability, whether states can ban abortions before a fetus can survive outside the womb. In shorthand that means a potentially and dramatically altered landscape for abortion, the likes we have not seen for nearly 50 years.

Mississippi, which is asking to be allowed to enforce an abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy, is not asking the court to overrule the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision confirming a woman’s right to an abortion, or a decision 19 years later that reaffirmed it. But what it is seeking is a stark attack on abortion rights since there is no way the Court can agree to the law from the Deep South and at the same time not severely harm the principal protections of Roe v. Wade.

What is feared, of course, is even with a ruling, narrow as it might be handed down, is anything that creates an opening for more men in legislative bodies around the country to keep adding cumbersome restrictions on the right of women to make their own healthy choices.

While I have a personal disdain for abortion, I find it necessary to advocate for the 1973 law that allows women to make their own choices. As such, I find the idea of viability, a tactic used by conservatives to force an economic decision on women who should not have to abide by the moral test of others to be very unjust. From the data that I have read the vast majority of abortions in our nation occur in the early stages of pregnancy. So to add viability to the equation is nothing more than a slick move by some overly zealous men without enough meaningful ways to use their law degrees.

I fully understand the power and punch of religious conservatives and the use of this block by the Republican Party for their partisan ends. Prohibiting abortion is a topic that has been used from the pulpits of churches, and the fundraising arm of the GOP. In, and of itself, those tactics are certainly to be allowed. What we can not, and must not allow, however, is for a religious test to be applied to each woman in this land who might consider an abortion. Because that is, and make no mistake about it, precisely what is being asked of the justices to allow in this case.

Meanwhile, the nation continues to speak in a centrist fashion about the 1973 law.

The nation has a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 61% of Americans say abortion should be legal in most or all circumstances in the first trimester of a pregnancy. However, 65% said abortion should usually be illegal in the second trimester, and 80% said that about the third trimester.

Still, the poll finds many Americans believe that the procedure should be allowable under at least some circumstances even during the second or third trimesters. For abortions during the second trimester, 34% say they should usually or always be legal, and another 30% say they should be illegal in most but not all cases. In the third trimester, 19% think most or all abortions should be legal, and another 26% say they should be illegal only in most cases.

The issue is going to create a gigantic rhetorical explosion in the nation as the midterms come closer. I suspect there are many, such as myself, who while having problems with abortion itself, are standing with women as we know it is a health choice. It is a choice not for me to make. As an American, I know that is the way it should be.

And must continue to be.

Pro-Life Wisconsin Proves Selfishness More Important Than Life

When reading the Wednesday Wisconsin State Journal I yelled out to James to find out if he was sitting down. The ironic news being reported about the latest attack on Governor Tony Evers’ order to limit customers in bars and restaurants so to stem the spread of COVID was truly beyond belief. I told my husband a ‘pro-life’ organization is legally challenging an avenue to save lives during a pandemic!

Pro-Life Wisconsin has teamed up with a bar owner from Amery in an effort to have a state appeals court overturn a judge’s decision to reinstate the Governor’s order which placed limits on public capacity in places where people drink and eat.

This is happening in the same week Wisconsin reported a record 4,591 COVID cases. The same week that the 7-day average of cases is a record 3,287. Putting the pandemic data into a larger framework shows that our state had 25 days exceeding 2,000 new confirmed cases, 8 days which were over 3,000. Also keep in mind the state only first exceeded 2,000 single-day cases on Sept. 17.  Less than one month ago.

The ‘pro-life’ organization is suing because the order limits the number of people they may invite to fundraisers, according to the lawyers who work for them. That statement surely was not vetted through any PR specialist as it speaks to the unethical profiteering at the heart of their case. We know the socially harmful behavior that will result statewide to public health should the case succeed.

It comes as no surprise this organization would not have any desire to protect living citizens as a pandemic rages. Caring only for fetuses at the expense of elderly people, doctors and nurses, teachers and school children underscores what we have always known about Pro-Life Wisconsin. They are narrow-minded and self-interested.

Their desire in making money at a fundraiser is not as important as the health and well-being of Wisconsin citizens!

Anti-Abortion Zealouness Should Cost States Money

I contend there should be a monetary fine associated with those states where the un-constitutionality of a law is not in question at the time of passage, and therefore the time and cost needed to be borne by the over-worked federal bench should be compensated.  It would put a handle on over-zealous state legislators who have proven, as in a recent case from Georgia, not to care about the spending of tax dollars on needless litigation.

Georgia passed a law that banned most abortions after six weeks.  Many newsrooms referred to the idea of making abortions illegal after a doctor detected fetal cardiac activity as the “heartbeat” law.  On Monday a federal judge ruled the law is in clear violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The problem with states like Georgia who wish to be in the vanguard of pushing the over-the-top efforts on issues such as abortion, always with an eye to the partisan gains to be reaped, is the cost to the taxpayers at needing to litigate a losing proposition.  In the Georgia case, given its flagrant over-reach, one would only need to have talked with a first-year law student to know what was passed violated the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade and the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

But that knowledge did not stop the efforts of the Republicans who are not swayed by logic or reason but are determined to rush pell-mell into any storm, and never consider the legal costs for their clueless actions.  There had to have been at least one legal scholar who advised the GOP caucus in Georgia of what District Judge Steve C. Jones ruled this week.

“In sum, the undisputed material facts in this case lead to one, indisputable conclusion: that Section 4 of H.B. 481, by prohibiting a woman from terminating her pregnancy upon the detection of a fetal heartbeat, constitutes a pre-viability abortion ban. As this ban directly conflicts with binding Supreme Court precedent (i.e., the core holdings in Roe, Casey, and their progeny) and thereby infringes upon a woman’s constitutional right to obtain an abortion prior to viability, the Court is left with no other choice but to declare it unconstitutional.”

Politicians can hold on to every outrageous idea they desire. That is how our system was designed.  They can rant while energizing their constituents as they wish.  But a line needs to be drawn when there is indisputable evidence that passage of clearly and well-demonstrated unconstitutional bills will be utterly rejected by the courts. While Republicans carp on saving money at every turn in government, it then needs to be taken to heart when huge legal bills are amassed to defend a law that could never muster a constitutional call.

And so it goes.

Chief Justice John Roberts Stands With Precedence On Abortion Case, Working On His Legacy

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Once again this month Supreme Court watchers are left with a story to follow they did not see coming.  Many feared that this court would rule for the Louisana restrictive abortion law that has raised so much controversy.  That sentiment resulted from the fact so much common-sense has been tossed aside over recent years that we are left to conclude sanity and reason are not to be found anytime soon.

But shortly after 9 A.M. on Monday, the nation learned that some new alliances might be forming among the justices.  Reason and enlightened thought might not be as lost in this nation as we feared.

Consider what has happened in just the span of two weeks.  Chief Justice Roberts has placed his name with the court’s liberal wing in three major, vital, and heavily controversial cases.  As noted on my blog–and with great pride and applause–the cases of job discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers, along with the moral and humane cases of protecting young immigrants known as Dreamers favored the long arc towards social justice.   We were heartened that new alliances might be forming on the Court.

But abortion has always been the cultural issue that divides as deeply the nation as among the justices.  The Louisiana case carried much-justified concerns for women’s health care advocates.  But with the 5-4 vote which struck down a law that would have left Louisiana law with a single abortion clinic, not only was choice allowed a strong win, but something even more vital to the foundations of this nation was provided a victory.

With this ruling, we have more reason to feel that at least the Supreme Court can still do the national work which is required in these troubling times.  What stands to me as important as the issue at hand is the fact–and do not miss the importance of this fact–but the commitment to precedent prevailed.  Robert’s ruled in this case, based on the fact he understands the value and sanctity of precedence.

“I joined the dissent in Whole Woman’s Health,” he wrote on Monday, “and continue to believe that the case was wrongly decided. The question today, however, is not whether Whole Woman’s Health was right or wrong, but whether to adhere to it in deciding the present case.”

“The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons,” the chief justice wrote. “Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.”

There are times we can truly feel good about something which happens in the nation, and this is one of those moments.  Roberts continues to demonstrate needed respect for precedence, along with not having his court besmirched by the stain of Trump.  Recall his vote on the court concerning the Affordable Care Act, and his refusal to place a citizenship question to the census.  He does not want this court to have a partisan taint and is working already towards his legacy—as all Chief Justices do.

This blog has not agreed with all past rulings from Roberts and certainly will be disappointed in the future.  But as long as there are foundational safeguards that he employs in his work as a justice we can all agree the high court is in good hands.

That is better than we can say about the other branches of our federal government.

Biden Wiggling On Hyde Amendment Is Troubling

I feel a need to wade into the waters on the political story which seems to have taken hold of the week.  I do so because I feel my readers are owed a comment, and also due to the fact Joe Biden is the candidate I am supporting for the Democratic Party nomination.

Biden moved nearer to the rest of his party’s presidential contenders on Thursday when he dropped his support of a measure restricting use of federal funds for abortions.  Make no mistake about it, this is a very important campaign 2020 story.

I do think there is a legitimate policy argument to be made as to why the Hyde Amendment needs to be removed.  I also applaud how people can learn new information, allow life experiences to create new points of view, and then change their mind about policy.  But there also has to be a question raised–as much as I respect and support Biden–about what makes up the core values of a person–and how much wiggle room can be accepted for partisan maneuvering.

I know this is more than a ways-off segue but I wish to go back to 1861 and Senator Jefferson Davis who rose in the chamber to give a speech which was so moving that he received a standing ovation from both sides of the aisle.  President Lincoln was to serve in the White House, the South was ‘leaving the Union’.  Mississippi had made its secessionist move, and Davis had no choice but to bid his farewell to his fellow senators.

Davis was wrong with his legal arguments about a state’s right to succeed,  wrong about his moral views of slavery, and wrong about assessing the military might of the South.  But he knew himself.  And that is no small thing to consider.

He spoke of sadness and regret to his colleagues, and history records his honor on that day in the Senate chamber.  We all know what follows with the years of war and bloodshed.   But that day when he stood for his convictions remains one of the most powerful speeches from our past.  There is a lesson in that speech, if we are smart enough to ponder it.

I know we lose a lot when we make moves in life that are simply for a more conventional or convenient path. (Having taken rocky roads myself allows for a bit of leeway to write such a line.)   The issue of abortion, or in this case the Hyde Amendment, is not something that can be easily talked about from both sides of the divide.   While a solid argument can be made for removing the amendment, it is troubling to see Biden being the person to do so.

I do have to ask the question.  What other foundations of Biden’s are also movable?  That is a fair thing to ponder given the news this week.

This is not something I relish asking.  I do think long time readers, who expect candor on my blog, would be less than pleased if I pulled my punches over someone I respect.

And so it goes.

Chief Justice John Roberts Joins Liberals In Abortion Ruling

Some conservatives think they have a right to chip away and undermine women’s health.  But then comes others who stand up and say no.

This vote tonight was logical.  It was absurd to think it proper to assume that one doctor, at one clinic, could possibly meet the needs of approximately 10,000 women who seek abortion services in Louisiana each year.

The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a Louisiana law that its opponents say could have left the state with only one doctor in a single clinic authorized to provide abortions.

The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the court’s four-member liberal wing.

The law, enacted in 2014, requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. In 2017, Judge John W. deGravelles of the Federal District Court in Baton Rouge struck down the law, saying that such doctors were often unable to obtain admitting privileges for reasons unrelated to their competence and that the law created an undue burden on women’s constitutional right to abortion.

The Louisiana law, Judge deGravelles ruled, was essentially identical to one from Texas that the Supreme Court struck down in a 2016 decisionWhole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the majority in the 2016 decision, said courts must consider whether the claimed benefits of laws putting restrictions on abortion outweigh the burdens they placed on the constitutional right to the procedure.