Abortion and the Court

April 26, 2000

The Supreme Court has revisited the issue of abortion on a number of occasions, but the current case before the High Court may provide a look at the future of abortion rights in this country. The Nebraska case outlawing partial-birth abortion should be pivotal.

If the court upholds the law, it could destroy President Clinton's argument for twice vetoing congressional bills to ban the procedure. It would also settle the constitutional question that has left state laws in legal limbo.

The case for the Nebraska law is compelling. The court can rule that some abortion procedures are so ghastly and horrific that they outweigh the rights of a pregnant woman. Outlawing this type of abortion wouldn't require overturning (or even modifying) the original abortion decision of Roe v. Wade.

Opponents, however, argue that the wording of the Nebraska law is vague and could even be used to outlaw other abortion procedures. And I find it interesting that the court picked the law from Nebraska rather than the ones from Illinois or Wisconsin which already passed constitutional muster at the federal appeal level. Perhaps they chose this law because it was more ambiguous and would allow the justices to make certain distinctions.

Since 1995 bans on partial birth abortion have spread like wildfire through state legislatures. Now three out of every five state legislatures have passed a ban, and some of these bans have been passed over gubernatorial vetoes. This case will not only affect the national debate about abortion, but allow the implementation of these state bans.

Lots of emotion surrounds the issue facing the court. Recent polls show that two-thirds of Americans say partial-birth abortions should be banned. Now we will see if the court agrees.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.