On April 19th, the U.S. Supreme Court reached a landmark decision. In a 5-4 decision, the Court upheld the 2003 Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act as constitutional. There is much to rejoice about, yet much remains to be done.
The Court has struck a balance between a woman’s right to choose to terminate her pregnancy and the “legitimate and substantial” federal interest to preserve fetal life. This balance was at the heart of the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision of 1992.
Last week’s decision is narrowly crafted to line up with Casey, and in no way signals an overturning of Roe v. Wade (1973). On the other hand, it signals a willingness on the part of the Court to consider federal restrictions on abortion for purely moral reasons. The fact that one option for terminating a pregnancy is no longer available does not significantly interfere with women’s rights.
Both sides of the issue agree that this recent ruling will encourage states to craft more restrictions on abortion.
For more analysis, read the commentary by Wesley J. Smith.