Supreme Court to Consider Key Doe v. Bolton Abortion Decision Next Week

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 29, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Supreme Court to Consider Key Doe v. Bolton Abortion Decision Next Week Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 29
, 2006

Washington, DC ( — The Supreme Court will consider next Friday whether to hear a lawsuit seeking to overturn a landmark decision that made abortion legal throughout pregnancy. The case involves Sandra Cano’s attempt to have the high court reverse the Doe v. Bolton decision that allowed abortions for virtually any "health" reason.

Cano, the former "Mary Doe" of the case, which entrenched Roe v. Wade by declaring abortions should be allowed to protect a woman’s health and that health could be any reason at all, says the decision should be overturned.

As reported in August, her attorneys filed legal paperwork then that suggests the Supreme Court take a new look at Roe v. Wade as well and consider overturning the pro-abortion precedent.

Cano has said repeatedly that she never wanted an abortion but her divorce case was used by pro-abortion attorneys to push for its legalization. An ACLU attorney took her case, in which she wanted a split from an abusive husband.

Cano has said the court should re-examine the case in part because of the medicine advances which have led to the increased awareness of the humanity of the unborn child beginning at conception.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in January that neither it nor a U.S. District Court had the authority to reverse the Supreme Court’s decisions in Doe or Roe.

Cano most recently commented on the situation in a 2005 Senate committee hearing.

"Using my name and life, Doe v. Bolton falsely created the health exception that led to abortion on demand and partial-birth abortion," Cano told lawmakers.

"How it got there is still pretty much a mystery to me. I only sought legal assistance to get a divorce from my husband and to get my children from foster care," she explained. "I was very vulnerable, poor and pregnant with my fourth child, but abortion never crossed my mind."

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

The lawsuit is similar to one Norma McCorvey filed seeking to reverse Roe itself and it will likely face dim prospects as the high court denied McCorvey’s appeal last February.

The Justice Foundation, a Texas based pro-life law firm, represented McCorvey and represents Cano in her case.

According to lead Justice Foundation attorney Allan Parker, "significant changes in the factual conditions surrounding abortion" make it so the facts of the cases have changed and the court should re-examine its decisions.

He says new information the court didn’t have at the time shows abortion hurts women.

That’s evidenced by "the sworn testimony of women harmed by abortion; medical articles and studies since 1973 documenting abortion injuries; and, sworn evidence that abortion clinics in fact do not provide the normal doctor-patient relationship anticipated by Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton."

Over 1,000 women have provided sworn statements for the lawsuit saying they regret their abortions or were hurt physically or emotionally from it.

"Significant changes also occurred in legal conditions, including changes in the law of 46 states that have enacted ‘Baby Moses’ laws which transfer the burden of unwanted child care to society, and this Court’s Federalism jurisprudence restoring more autonomy to the states," Parker added.

Like the McCorvey case, the Cano lawsuit relies on a federal court rule as the basis for reopening the decades-old case.

The rule allows a court to re-examine its decision if new evidence has been found, or "it is no longer equitable" for the judgment to remain in force.

The Supreme Court has reversed its own precedents using Rule 60(b)(5) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, most recently in the 1997 decision of Agostini v. Felton.

In that case, the high court used a post-judgment motion by a party to reverse two of its own 12-year-old precedents. The courts have reversed precedents by as long as 41 years, according to Parker.

The case is Cano v. Baker, docket 06-162.

Related web sites:
The Justice Foundation’s Operation Outcry –