Is this the law that might change Roe v. Wade dramatically?

Nebraska Law Sets Limits on Abortion

Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska signed a law on Tuesday banning most abortions 20 weeks after conception or later on the theory that a fetus, by that stage in pregnancy, has the capacity to feel pain. The law, which appears nearly certain to set off legal and scientific debates, is the first in the nation to restrict abortions on the basis of fetal pain.

The question of fetal pain, experts said, is one of intense, unresolved debate among researchers and among advocates on both sides of the abortion question.

Mary Spaulding Balch, director of state legislation at National Right to Life, said that scientific evidence related to the capacity for pain had not been heard by the Supreme Court, and that it opened a new legal question.

“You need five votes,” Ms. Balch said. “I think there are five on the current Supreme Court who would give serious consideration to Nebraska’s claim.”


Filed under abortion

16 responses to “Is this the law that might change Roe v. Wade dramatically?

  1. This new Nebraska law will take effect Oct. 15 of this year. Does anyone know if there is an average time a case takes to make it to the Supreme Court?

  2. indypendent

    She’s probably right about the 5 votes on the Court.

    But, then they had the same 5 votes when GWB was president and I did not see any attempt to do this by any Republican on the federal level.

    Wonder why?

  3. indypendent

    The sad fact is – if abortion procedures returned to the hospitals where they have been performed for years under other clinical names, I’m sure all these anti-abortion people would simply go home, pat themselves on their head and tell their God that THEY did some good work today.

    Out of sight, out of mind?

  4. wicked

    Just wait until the wife or daughter of a prominent man dies from a pregnancy or birth that could have been avoided.

    • indypendent

      I am thinking we would never hear about that. That is when the privileged go to the hospital and call it by a different name.

  5. Zippy

    Once again, it all comes down to Anthony Kennedy. He was one co-author of the plurality opinion In Webster v. Reproductive Health Services.

    His colleagues were Sandra Day O’Connor and David Souter, both considerated the “moderate conservatives” at the time.

    The situation today: John Roberts is dangerous, and I fully expect he’ll produce a dangerous position and who knows what Alito will do (if I recall correctly, Scalia and Thomas have railed against Roe). Stevens, Ginsburg, and Breyer have supported it, and I don’t expect different from Sotomayor.

    So the dynamic for the Court’s swing-vote would be somewhat different. We may very see a lone concurrence to either side, with multiple qualifications (and, if it’s most narrow, it becomes precedent), but both Roberts or Ginsburg will be guaranteed to hand the majority opinion to him–if they can strike the right deal.

    Of course, a lot depends on who Obama nominates as well.

    • indypendent

      You think Alito is an unknown factor? I think he is anti-abortion all the way, even to the point of no abortions in case of rape or incest.

      But, you’re right, Obama’s nominee will be an all important decision and the Republicans know this fact very well – and will play it to their advantage.

  6. Obama’s nominee doesn’t change the dynamics of the Court — unless he miscalculates, as presidents have done in the past.

  7. How long will it take to make its way to SCOTUS? Or is there even any way to hazard a guess?

    Because I don’t think President Obama is only going to make two nominations to the highest court.

    • wicked

      How long? Maybe enough to get at least one Obama nominee in there, but that is only six months from now. When are the old dudes retiring? I don’t keep notes on this, because I’d lose them before anything happened.

      Does the Nebraska law come to a screaching halt if taken to higher courts?

      The crazies are taking the country over, little by little. I want to move to a blue state that hopefully will stay blue, at least until I’m dead and gone. Between Oklahoma’s new “militia” b.s. and Nebraska’s abortion b.s., I really don’t like being in the middle of any of it.

      • indypendent

        Stevens has said he wants to retire when the new court gets seated – that’s in October, correct?

        So, if Obama’s nominees are shot down one by one and there is no one by October – what happens then?

        Has there ever been a Supreme Court with one Justice missing?

    • indypendent

      Haven’t heard about the abortion issue but just read on HuffingtonPost the health care reform repeal bill is being put on the fast-track.

      Whatever that means.

      Hell, let them put it on fast track and have their decision come out right before presidential campaigning starts or right before election time in 2012.

      After all, Mitt Romney won the straw poll for the GOP’s nominee choice and Romney should know the health care reform bill that passed because it is alot like the one that he passed in Massachussetts.

      And with Republicans trying to use the repeal of mandated health care as their rallying cry while running Mitt Romney, the original mandated health care supporter (even Sen. Scrott Brown voted for that mandate when was in the MA legislature) – the Democrats could not buy the publicity that will come from that fact alone. Just think of all the television ads, the old videos that will be brought up and played over and over and over again.

      Republicans have this God-given talent to paint themselves into corners – don’t they?

  8. wicked

    Do they seriously think they can keep this bill/law based on the pain issue? The Supreme Court wouldn’t even touch the “first breath” question.

    While something can be proven to react to something that can cause pain, that doesn’t mean pain is felt.

    And if they argue with that, what about the pain of a phantom limb?

  9. Not to mention that the subject of pain isn’t a Constitutional one. Wonder how they’ll word their ‘expert’ opinions as scientists / doctors…? They’ll just have to make their own precedent, certainly won’t be the first time!

  10. wicked

    What about the trauma and possible pain of birth? Or giving birth, for that matter.

    Let men become pregnant and give birth after nine months, then they can consider making these decisions. Let them carry a fetus that is certain not to survive, possibly even before birth, then they can consider making these decisions.

    And for the women in on this? They should all have penile implants.

  11. tosmarttobegop

    It is something that is not libel to happen in the foreseeable future, but the question answered will put an end to most of the debate.

    When Life is life and when does a fetus become so human that an abortion is murder?

    Though I have seen the issue of feeling pain brought up before, this is the first time it has been put into law.
    That I am aware of, most states have the standard of 22 week is the cut off point for a late term abortion.
    20 weeks, does that extra two week make that much of a difference as to how much a fetus feels over 22 weeks?