There are still some people in the United States of America who believe that public school segregation between the white and colored races should be legally permitted in this country as it was after the Civil War right up until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled segregation unconstitutional in the famous 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education.
Segregation, they explained in that landmark case amounts to a denial of equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Brown settled the constitutionality question of public school segregation once and for all. So any racial bigots today who might attempt to chip away at that decision by introducing new laws permitting public school segregation in one form or another will be thwarted by the overriding mandate of Brown.
Racial segregation in American public schools is unconstitutional – period.
The impact of Brown means that every single aspect of public education must be equally available to all without exception. So a law recognizing equality in the classroom may not provide for segregated bathrooms, or football teams, or senior proms.
Such laws would be unconstitutional – period.
Likewise, there are still some people in the United States of America who believe that women should have no right to decide whether to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, even though the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark 1973 case of Roe v Wade held that laws which deny women that right prior to the viability of the fetus are unconstitutional.
Anti-abortion laws, the court explained, amount to a denial of a woman’s right to privacy under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.
Did Roe v Wade settle the constitutionality question of anti-abortion laws once and for all?
Are anti-abortion laws unconstitutional – period?
An awful lot of anti-abortion zealots don’t think so. They keep chipping away and chipping away at the decision, hoping that one day an anti-abortion majority on the Supreme Court will turn back the clock on women’s rights.
If they can do that with Roe v Wade, others can do it with Brown. Statists can do it with every one of the constitutional rights we freedom lovers hold dear.
Late last year, Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., an ardent anti-abortion rights politician, introduced the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act which would ban abortions done on the basis of gender or race. "It would simply say that you cannot discriminate against the unborn by subjecting them to an abortion based on their race or sex," says Franks.
Looks like he’s trying to wed Roe v. Wade to Brown – Clever!
He claims "...the abortion rate for black women is almost five times that for white women," and believes that sex-selection abortions are on the rise in the U.S., which according to a Zogby poll, found 86 percent of those surveyed believed gender-based abortion choices should be illegal.
But wait a minute! If black women are seeking abortions, it’s certainly not because the fetus is black. So race has nothing to do with it. Sex has nothing to do with it. And even if it did; so what? No woman can be forced to give a reason why she’s decided to terminate her pregnancy.
Doctors who perform abortions done solely for sex- or race-selection purposes would face fines and up to five years in prison if this politician has his way, but the woman seeking the gender or race based abortion would go Scott free. That’s because women who find themselves with an unintended pregnancy are "victims" who need help in the midst of a crisis, not punishment, he says.
Yes, the woman needs help alright. She needs to terminate her unwanted pregnancy. She needs her doctor to help her, and it’s really none of the congressman’s business.
Mississippi lawmakers, not satisfied with the rejection of their recent “personhood” anti-abortion law which crashed and burned with voters, passed a new bill recently that would require any physician performing abortions in the state to be a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist and to have admitting privileges at an area hospital..
The law "should effectively close the only abortion clinic in Mississippi," crowed Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves. "This is a strong bill that will effectively end abortion in Mississippi." If the state's only abortion facility, Jackson Women's Health Organization, closes, Mississippi women seeking abortions would have to leave the state.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant wants Mississippi to become "abortion-free." "This legislation is an important step in strengthening abortion regulations and protecting the health and safety of women," he said.
But how does making the state of Mississippi "abortion-free" protect the health and safety of women? There is simply no medical reason to require that physicians performing abortions be board-certified OB/GYNs or that they have hospital admitting privileges.
The aim of this law is clearly to impose restrictions on abortion providers that are not imposed on other medical providers offering similar care."It's not about medicine," says Jordon Goldberg, state advocacy counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, “It's just about politics."
Meanwhile, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer last Thursday signed legislation making Arizona the latest state that generally bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy regardless of whether the fetus is viable. This law effectively strips women and their doctors of the ability to decide how to handle situations of fetal abnormalities that are often discovered later in pregnancy.
Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, said her vote for the bill came down to one question: "Is the baby inside a woman's body a human?" "My answer, I believe, is yes. It is unacceptable to end the life of a human."
In other words: To Hell with Roe v. Wade! -- To Hell with any woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.
Current Arizona law, in recognition of Roe v Wade, allows abortions up until the point of viability, when a fetus could reasonably survive on its own outside the womb. That's considered by many medical experts and abortion clinics to be from 22 to 24 weeks. The law allows abortions beyond that to protect the "life or health of the woman" but doesn't define health.
So if a woman and her doctor discover a devastating fetal abnormality which will render the offspring a vegetable if allowed to develop further, that’s just tough rocks according to Gov. Jan Brewer and her gang of Arizona anti-abortion hacks.
They just keep chipping – chipping away.