Latest Gallup poll on abortion

Here is a link to a story about the latest Gallup poll on abortion. The results are largely unchanged from prior years. While Americans are becoming more liberal on other social issues, this poll indicates that the pro-life movement has been successful in its educational efforts. A majority of Americans support restricting abortion in all or most circumstances.

AMA votes to continue its evaluation of assisted suicide

The AMA, which has long opposed physician-assisted suicide, is in the midst of a reevaluation of this position. A change would have enormous consequences because the views of medical organizations are often relied upon when legislatures and courts consider the issue in various contexts.

As noted on this blog recently, the AMA’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs issued a strong report recommending that the AMA retain its opposition to physician-assisted suicide. Earlier this week, however, the AMA House of Delegates voted not to accept that report and decided to further revaluate the issue. The issue may come up for a vote at the AMA meeting in June 2019.  Here is a story on the House of Delegates decision.

“The Trump Administration Must Keep Abortion out of Humanitarian Law and Policy”

Here is a good essay in Public Discourse by Stefano Gennarini. He describes continuing efforts to promote a right to abortion in international law and suggests how the Trump Administration ought to respond.

Here is his conclusion:

“The stakes are higher than ever for the pro-life cause internationally. The Trump administration must continue to push the United Nations to respect U.S. sovereign prerogatives not to support abortion in humanitarian responses. It must not give abortion groups a pass to continue to implement their covert strategy to establish an international right to abortion. Some UN bureaucrats still think the US State Department’s pro-life position is merely a political stunt to appease pro-life US voters, and that in the end the administration will turn a blind eye to the bureaucratic stratagems of the abortion industry. They must be proved wrong.

If the Trump administration accepts an agreement that mentions sexual and reproductive health in the humanitarian context, without the caveats it has fought for in other contexts, it will all but waive the possibility of opposing abortion in the future with any credibility. It will also mean that the United States’ positions at the UN are being dictated by EU and Canadian bureaucrats rather than the American people who elected President Trump.”

US Supreme Court vacates decision involving undocumented teen’s abortion

Here is a link to the Court’s decision in Azar v. Garza. In this case, the DC Circuit had allowed an undocumented teen who was in custody to obtain an abortion over the government’s objection. Because the teen obtained an abortion, the Supreme Court considered the case moot and, pursuant to its standard practice, vacated the DC Circuit’s decision and remanded the case to the lower court.

The Administration had asked the Court to sanction the teen’s lawyers for “what appear to be material misrepresentations and omissions” that were “designed to thwart” Supreme Court review.  Without delving into the factual disputes about the teen’s lawyers’ conduct, the Court did not sanction the teen’s lawyers.

The Court’s decision did not resolve the broader issue of whether undocumented teens in governmental custody have a right to an abortion.

Good article by Professor Tom Molony

Here is a link to a good article by Professor Tom Molony (Elon Law). The article is forthcoming in the Florida Law Review.

Here is the abstract—

“The United States Supreme Court dealt a significant blow to abortion opponents in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, but the 2016 ruling did not dampen their resolve. Just days after Texas lost the Hellerstedt battle, the Texas Department of State Health Services (“DSHS”) returned to the fight and proposed regulations requiring healthcare facilities to inter or cremate the remains of aborted and miscarried fetuses. And undeterred by a preliminary injunction entered against those regulations once they became final, the Texas legislature enacted a law with similar effect in June 2017.

The Texas law, however, proved to be good ground for yet another victory for those who advocate choice. Having already found the DSHS regulations wanting, the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas enjoined the new statute, concluding that it was unlikely to survive the undue burden test that the Supreme Court set out in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit now has followed suit with respect to an Indiana law regulating the disposition of fetal remains. But rather than applying Casey’s undue burden test, the appeals court determined that the Indiana statute could not survive even the very deferential rational basis standard of review. Importantly, the decisions of both the Texas district court and the Seventh Circuit conflict with a 1990 decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to uphold a Minnesota fetal remains disposition law—in a case tried before Roe v. Wade’s demanding trimester framework gave way to Casey’s more lenient undue burden standard. Thus, three federal courts are now in conflict, and the Supreme Court may need to step in yet again to decide who is right.

Unfortunately, Hellerstedt provides no easy answer to the question of whether fetal remains disposition requirements like those enacted in Texas and Indiana can survive constitutional challenge. The Texas legislation at issue in Hellerstedt purportedly advanced the State’s interest in safeguarding maternal health, and thus one questions how the Hellerstedt Court’s interpretation of Casey’s undue burden standard will apply to abortion regulations that are founded on the State’s interest in protecting potential life. What is certain, though, is that the Hellerstedt Court did not overrule its decision either in Casey or in Gonzales v. Carhart, both of which upheld measures aimed at encouraging a woman to choose childbirth over abortion. This Article thus contends that, when viewed in light of Casey and Gonzales, Hellerstedt’s interpretation of the undue burden test leaves States with a great deal of latitude to regulate abortion in a manner aimed at protecting potential life. As a result, efforts to regulate the method of disposing of fetal remains should pass constitutional muster.”

US Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Challenge to Arkansas Pro-Life Law

Here is a link to a LifeNews story on the US Supreme Court’s refusal to hear a Planned Parenthood challenge to an Arkansas pro-life law. The case is called Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma v. Jegley and the Court denied review on May 29, 2018. The law restricts medication-induced abortions and requires clinics performing medication abortions to have a contract with an ob/gyn who has admitting privileges at a local hospital. A federal district judge struck down the Arkansas law but the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed that ruling.   The Court refused to hear a challenge to the Eighth Circuit’s decision. Pro-choice groups had viewed the case as an important indicator of the Court’s commitment to the its 2016 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. The Arkansas case will now return to the lower courts.