RMC Responds: Roe v. Wade and State’s RightsPosted: March 15, 2013
This week Kevin said, “The key word here is “choice.” Abortion should be a states rights issue as it has no constitutional protection… I personally would not vote in favor of a ban on abortion… but if the majority in a state feel that strongly about the issue they should have the “choice” to not allow it.”
The 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision was a vital ruling that struck a careful balance between the rights of the individual and the states. This ruling said that an individual’s decision to have an abortion was constitutionally protected as part of the right to privacy. However, at the same time, SCOTUS established the individual’s right to seek abortion care based on a continuum that, as Kevin said above, does give states the authority to regulate the issue. According to their decision abortion is legal and lawful up until the point of fetal viability– currently considered to be 24-25 weeks. A fetus delivered before 21 weeks gestation has never survived, (and less than one percent of all abortions occur after 20 weeks.) And aside from outright banning abortions, states can regulate the provision of the procedure at their will.
In the past two years, beginning with Nebraska, Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana and most recently Arkansas have all passed abortion bans. Arkansas’ ban is currently the most extreme in the nation at 12-weeks. North Dakota, however, is competing for this title. Earlier today the North Dakota Senate approved a 6-week abortion ban—this is before many women are even aware they are pregnant.
The anti-choice activists pushing this extreme legislation are aware it is unconstitutional, and are eager to challenge Roe in the Supreme Court. But as small government, fiscally conservative Republicans, we believe our Party should spend less time trying to restrict women’s constitutional rights, and instead focus on smart investments we can make to limit the rate of unintended pregnancies and abortions. These extreme anti-choice efforts and policies are alienating voters and negatively affecting the bottom line. Turning our attention to proven-effective preventative family planning programs will save government and taxpayer dollars and decrease the rate of abortions nationwide—without expanding the size of government.