Senate Cmte Hearing on Abortion Previews Supreme Court Battle

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 24, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Cmte Hearing on Abortion Previews Supreme Court Battle Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 24, 2005

Washington, DC ( — In light of a potential battle over a possible nominee to the Supreme Court, a Senate panel held hearings Thursday on the effect of one of the high court’s most contentious decisions — Roe v. Wade. The former Roe in the case testified on abortion’s effect.

Norma McCorvey, the former Jane Roe of the infamous case that legalized abortion, became pro-life years ago. She shared that story and the tale of pro-abortion attorneys who used her plight to overturn pro-life laws.

McCorvey was a single mother with drug and alcohol abuse problems who found herself pregnant again. She wanted a divorce, not an abortion, but Texas attorney Sarah Weddington chose to use her case to junk a state law prohibiting most abortions.

"Instead of getting me financial or vocational help, instead of helping me to get off drugs and alcohol, instead of working for open adoption or giving me other help, my lawyers wanted to eliminate the right of society to protect women and children from abortionists," McCorvey said.

Now a pro-life advocate who has tried to have the courts overturn the original case, McCorvey told her story to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would be the first battleground in any fight over a Supreme Court pick.

That battle could begin as early as next week, when Washington insiders say Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who was one of two judges dissenting in the Roe case, plans to retire.

Sen. Sam Brownback, a pro-life Kansas Republican who chairs the constitution subcommittee, chaired the hearing. He’s mentioned as a possible 2008 presidential candidate and wanted to focus the committees attention on the consequences of abortion before they vote on a nominee.

Roe was a mistake — a very, very costly one," Brownback said at the hearing, according to a Reuters report. "Forty million abortions is way too many."

Brownback also asked for a panel of legal experts to discuss the fact that scholars are beginning to take a more consensus view that Roe is bad constitutional law.

Edward Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, agreed, saying that Roe "is the Dred Scott of our age."

"Like few other Supreme Court cases in our nation’s history, Roe is not merely patently wrong but also fundamentally hostile to core precepts of American government," he said, Reuters reported.

Whelan called the case "a lawless power grab by the Supreme Court, an unconstitutional act of aggression."

However, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold said the high court should not "turn back the clock" on abortion and claimed thousands of women died from illegal abortions before Roe.

Sandra Cano, the "Mary Doe" of the Doe v. Bolton decision that entrenched Roe by declaring that abortions could be allowed for to protect a woman’s health and that health could be any reason at all, also testified.

"I did not seek an abortion nor do I believe in abortion," Cano said. "Yet my name and life are now forever linked with the slaughter of 40 to 50 million babies."