Update on Challenge to California Assisted Suicide Law

Here is a link to story about a decision by an appellate court in California dismissing a suit challenging the constitutionality of California’s law allowing assisted suicide. Because it concluded that the plaintiffs lacked standing, the court did not rule on the constitutionality of the California  law. A state trial judge had held the law unconstitutional because the statute was passed at a legislative session dealing with health care funding and health care services. The trial court judge concluded that the assisted suicide law was not within the scope of the legislative session because he didn’t think that allowing access to suicide related to health care funding or to improving the health of Californians.

Judge Invalidates Mississippi Law Banning Abortions After 15 Weeks

Here is a link to a LifeNews.com story about a recent decision by a federal judge invalidating Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks. The judge noted that if it wants to overturn Roe v. Wade then the state will “have to seek that relief from a higher court.” It seems likely that the state of Mississippi will try to do just that.

Judge Carlton Reeves’s opinion is almost beyond belief. Under existing law, his ruling is not a surprise. But the opinion contains some rather stunning observations. I’ll mention just one such observation. Judge Reeves seems to accept Justice Blackmun’s view that history demonstrates that there was a historical recognition of the right to an abortion. This historical account is deeply flawed, as many scholars have made clear. Despite Justice Blackmun’s efforts to argue to the contrary, John Keown’s scholarship makes clear that “Roe’s invention of a constitutional right to abortion represented a radical rejection of America’s longstanding history and traditions.”


AMA Continues Discussion of Assisted Suicide

From the National Right to Life News, here is a report on the American Medical Association’s continued discussion of assisted suicide. This is a critical debate because the views of major medical organizations often carry considerable weight in considering whether to legalize assisted suicide.

“Trump Administration issues Final Rules Protecting Conscience Rights in Health Insurance”

Here is a link to a news release from HHS discussing the Final Rules issued by the Trump Administration dealing with conscience rights.  The Final Rules were issued on November 7, 2018. This is the latest development in a long running saga that goes back to the Obama Administration’s regulations that required health plans and insurers to cover all FDA-approved contraceptive methods (including methods that many view as abortifacients) and sterilization procedures. Those with conscientious objections to these requirements have challenged these mandates. These challenges led to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case. The controversy has continued and the Trump Administration has now issued final rules addressing the issue. One rule provides an exemption to entities that object on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs. The other rule extends the exemption to nonprofits and small businesses that have non-religious moral objections to covering certain services.  The final rules will take effect in January 2019.

Alabama to take dismemberment abortion case to US Supreme Court

Here is a link to a story in the National Right to Life News discussing the Alabama Attorney General’s decision to seek Supreme Court review of a federal court of appeals court decision striking down Alabama’s ban on dismemberment abortions. The case, Miller v. West Alabama Women’s Center, was decided by the Eleventh Circuit in August 2018. A concurring opinion by Judge Dubina noted his view that Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey have no basis in the Constitution.

As discussed in this article, a case involving Texas’s ban on dismemberment abortions was argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on November 5, 2018.


“Abortion cases are heading toward the Supreme Court”

Here is a link to a story in USA Today discussing the abortion cases that are working their way towards the United States Supreme Court. The article notes speculation that the Court might try to avoid the issue after the highly partisan confirmation battle over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.  Many think the Court may narrow Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey rather than overrule those decisions., at least in the near term.