Abortion that is “safe and legal” is a fallacy, though it is the perversion of truth that moral relativists rely on in pushing their escapist, liberal agenda of inconsequentialism. As murder, abortion is never safe and defies the natural parameters of law. A further couching of the contradiction is that the killing of an unborn baby is labeled a matter of “women’s health.” In all cases where the principles of relativism are upheld, however, it is not long before the illogical will arise. The question is, whether it will be acknowledged or ignored—which is a big question nowadays. On Wednesday, March 2, arguments were heard at the Supreme Court of the United States in the most significant case concerning abortion in more than two decades, and one where the contradictions of the culture of death are glaring and the stakes for the future are high.
In 2010, the world was shown the reality of abortion without its sterile mask. As the final move in an investigation into illegal drug prescriptions, the FBI and state police raided the Women’s Medical Society in Philadelphia. What they encountered was beyond belief: the stench of urine; flea-infested cats; filthy, outdated equipment; blood pooled on the floor; half-conscious women moaning under blood-stained sheets, waiting for an abortion; fetal-suction-tubing doing double-time as oral airway assistance; butchered babies stuffed in plastic bags, milk jugs, juice cartons, and cat food containers. After 17 years of butchery, Dr. Kermit Gosnell was arrested, admitting that many of the abortions he performed there were on children older than twenty-four weeks. His “house of horrors,” as the District Attorney called it, was closed due to unsafe and illegal conditions in the world of “safe and legal” abortion. Dr. Gosnell was charged with eight counts of murder—he killed seven babies born alive by severing their spines with a pair of scissors, and was also responsible for the death of a woman he drugged to death.
After Gosnell’s conviction for murder and multiple malpractice crimes in 2013, a law was passed in Texas to prevent such extreme cases from ever occurring in that state. The law requires that abortion clinics follow the same standards of health and safety as mandated at hospital facilities, and that all doctors who perform abortions hold admitting privileges at local hospitals. If the law remains in place, it will close all but about ten abortion clinics in the state of Texas—seemingly because they do not provide the health and safety standards for a surgical procedure. And, make no mistake, abortion in many cases when it comes to clinics is a surgical procedure which, according to Planned Parenthood’s own research institute, leaves thousands of women hospitalized every year due to complications.
Pro-abortion groups have paradoxically fought this Texas law for health in the name of “women’s health” all the way to the Supreme Court. In the full regalia of mismatched positions, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt examines whether abortion clinics should be forced to meet the legal standards of health and safety as found in outpatient clinics in providing “safe and legal” abortions for “women’s health.” The Court here takes another look at what constitutes a state-imposed abortion restriction that places an “undue burden” on women who wish to unburden themselves from their unborn children, as initially introduced in 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Pro-choice advocates who view the Texas law as potentially the strictest in the country are hoping to see the Court strike it down on the grounds of “undue burden” and that Justice Anthony Kennedy will carry the Casey ruling to a new interpretation.
With the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s empty seat on the Supreme Court, the justices are faced with the possibility of a 4-4 vote, in which case the law would be upheld in Texas but not establish any national precedent. All eyes are on Justice Kennedy whose swing vote in the 2007 abortion case Gonzales v. Carhart joined him to the conservative side of the Supreme Court justices in ruling that the laws against partial birth abortion were not an undue burden. But Justice Kennedy is an unpredictable conservative on the Court, having voted against Obamacare and for same-sex “marriage.” If Justice Kennedy votes with the liberal justices, as he did to place this same law on hold in Texas while the Supreme Court deliberated whether to take it up or not, then the absence of Justice Scalia will not have the impact that it could in the event of a split vote.
Time will certainly tell how Justice Kennedy will vote. The lawyers arguing the case seemed to be targeting him for the swing. The one side claimed that the law renders the standard of undue burden nothing but an empty promise of protection for pregnant women from abortion restrictions. The other side claimed the law is in keeping with the principle ruled in Casey while seeking to provide women who want an abortion with the highest possible level of medical care. After hearing arguments, reports are that the Court was clearly divided, with Justice Kennedy asking hard questions with no indication of his inclination. He did, however, mention that it may be advisable to send the case to the lower courts again to determine the full effect of clinic closures and other such implications. Such a decision could delay a final ruling for years.
In the end, what is at stake with this ruling is significant. The Texas law could be viewed as an attempt to truly, and perhaps even finally, protect women’s health by putting heavy restrictions on abortion mills, which could effectively end their ability to operate on the scale that they currently do. Even now, similar laws are working their way through lower courts, following in Texas’ bold footsteps. By making abortion clinics harder to access, this law and others like it, could save the lives of children in the very name of the principle that pro-abortion activists tout as their own: women’s health. The law viewed in this way says in effect, “This clinic is not safe enough for a woman to kill her child in. Close it.”
The modern desire, or determination, to break free from moral consequences presents a culturally slippery slope. “Safe and legal” abortions can, in fact, lead to Gosnell’s house of horrors. It is no secret that the abortion trade is not known to attract the squeakiest-cleanest, wonderfully-highly-skilled physicians; or to operate under much regulatory oversight; or to take place under optimal conditions. No matter what the party lines, political lies, and euphemisms are, abortion is never safe, and it can also be harmful to women. If the Supreme Court of the United States upholds the Texas law, it might very well help to uphold the right to life across the nation. This could serve as a springboard to prevent the murder of innocent children and protect women’s health from people posturing as ministers of women’s health.
We should all pray—even if we are not holding our breath.
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