In Gonzales v. Carhart, (click here for full-text of the opinion) the Supreme Court yesterday upheld a nationwide ban on certain types of abortions.
This kind of throws a wrench into the semester of jurisprudence my Con Law prof. has been laboring to construct since Christmas.
The law at issue passed both the Senate and the House in 2003 by a fairly large margin. It bans a specific (and fairly gruesome) abortion procedure. Today's decision is not a surprise, especially given the fact that the court's makeup has shifted a bit to the right since the last time an abortion ban was considered. The controversial aspect of the decision, though, is that it contains no exception to preserve the health of a mother. I does contain a life exception, but no health exception.
Is this decision significant? Not really. As a symbol, perhaps, but not in any real practical way. The radical right will trumpet it from the rooftops as a victory over godless secularism. The radical left will call it the downfall of civilization as we know it. In reality, over 90% of all abortions performed don't even come close to using this procedure. In those cases that do use it, other abortion procedures are readily available that are not outlawed. But regardless, get ready for the demagoguery from both ends of the spectrum. It's only going to get louder.