Tony Mauro has an article worth reading about the aftermath of Gonzales v. Carhart, the Supreme Court case from last Term upholding the federal ban on “partial birth” abortions. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear arguments this week on Virginia’s similar ban. The court struck down the ban before Gonzales, but the Supreme Court remanded the case to the Fourth Circuit in light of its new ruling. The bad news, of course, is that the newest Supreme Court case provides greater leeway for abortion regulations of this kind; the good news, though, is that the Sixth Circuit has already read the case narrowly in striking down a Michigan ban, and the same panel (two liberals, one conservative) will hear the Fourth Circuit case as heard it previously.
But, the best news from Mauro’s piece is not legal at all:
When the Supreme Court upheld the federal ban on “partial-birth” abortions in April, critics sounded the alarm that women would be harmed, physicians would be jailed, and state legislators would be energized to pass similar laws.
Six months later, it appears that those fears have not come true, with no prosecutions on the federal or state level, little legislative action, and quiet adjustments in abortion procedures that have so far kept doctors on the safe side of the law.
- David S. Cohen