Supreme Court Refuses to Reconsider Doe v. Bolton Abortion Case

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 10, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Supreme Court Refuses to Reconsider Doe v. Bolton Abortion Case Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 10
, 2006

Washington, DC ( — As expected, the Supreme Court refused to re-open the 1973 Doe v. Bolton case that allowed abortions for virtually any "health" reason. Sandra Cano, the Jane Doe of the case, had wanted the court to reconsider its decision because she never wanted an abortion and pro-abortion attorneys used her situation to overturn a Georgia abortion law.

The Doe case 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.

But the high court denied Cano’s appeal without comment, and with no indication of any dissent. The expectation was so strong that the court would not hear the case that Georgia officials declined to respond to Cano’s petition to re-open it and the high court did not ask them for legal papers on it.

As a result, pro-life advocates will need to prepare a new legal challenge to Roe and Doe, such as the state ban on abortions that South Dakota voters are considering. If they uphold the ban at the polls next month, Planned Parenthood, which operates the state’s only abortion facility, will take the ban to court and it will eventually reach the Supreme Court.

Other pro-life advocates have said such a lawsuit should be postponed until a fifth pro-life justice is added to the Supreme Court. As it currently stands, the high court backs legal abortion by, at minimum, a 5-4 margin.

The Supreme Court will next consider the issue of abortion on November 8 when it holds hearings on a pro-abortion attempt to overturn the Congressional-approved ban on partial-birth abortions.

Cano had asked the Court to reopen her case under federal court Rule 60 (b) in the same manner that Norma McCorvey asked the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade. The high court denied McCorvey’s petition 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.

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 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.

"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 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.

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

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