Justice Amy Coney Barrett questioned the notion that women need to abort their unborn babies to succeed Wednesday when the U.S. Supreme Court considered a major abortion case out of Mississippi.
Currently, Roe v. Wade and other Supreme Court rulings force states to legalize the killing of unborn babies for any reason up to viability, but the Mississippi case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, directly challenges that precedent.
During oral arguments Wednesday morning, Barrett asked pro-abortion lawyers about “the burdens of parenting” presented in Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey as reasons for the so-called right to abortion.
She brought up safe haven laws, which allow mothers to relinquish their newborns to authorities without fear of repercussions, as an alternative to abortion and the burdens of motherhood.
“… in all 50 states, you can terminate parental rights by relinquishing a child after birth,” Barrett told lawyers representing the Mississippi abortion facility Jackson Women’s Health. “Why don’t you address the safe haven laws and why don’t they matter?”
While Barrett acknowledge that pregnancy itself can be viewed as a burden, she added, “It seems to me that the choice for focus would be between, say, the ability to get an abortion at 23 weeks or the state requiring the woman to go 15, 16 weeks more and then terminate parental rights at the conclusion.”
Attorney Julie Rikelman with the Center for Reproductive Rights responded that safe haven laws do not address the “unique physical demands and risks” that “pregnancy itself” imposes on women.
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Later, Barrett, an appointee of President Donald Trump, asked a similar question of U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar.
Barrett’s question was designed not to advocate adoption as an abortion alternative but rather to force Prelogar to get to the heart of what principle makes the right to abortion so essential. She was asking, in other words, whether the supposed burden of parenthood is diminished by safe-haven laws. If the aim of abortion supporters is to enable women to choose not to be a parent, why are safe-haven laws not good enough? Why must the government also sanction abortion?
Prelogar’s response was, in effect, that both continuing pregnancy and giving up a child for adoption still put too much of a burden on women, and thus abortion needs to remain an option in order for women to have a real choice and real freedom.
Afterward, the Daily Beast slammed Barrett under the headline “Amy Coney Barrett Suggests Forced Pregnancy Is Fine Because of Adoption.”
However, banning abortion is not “forced pregnancy.” Banning abortion is about protecting unique, living human beings – the woman’s own child – from being killed in an elective, unnecessary abortion.
In amicus briefs to the Supreme Court, hundreds of women scholars and professionals told the justices that women do not need to abort their own unborn babies to succeed. Hundreds more told the high court how they regret aborting their unborn babies and how their abortions hurt them, too.
Pro-life advocates hope the Supreme Court will scale back or overturn Roe v. Wade in their ruling on the Mississippi case.
If they do, states would be allowed to protect unborn babies from abortion again, possibly from the moment of conception or at least after the first trimester, and groups estimate anywhere from a dozen to two dozen states would do so. As a result, thousands of babies could be spared from violent abortion deaths every year across America.
The high court is expected to publish its ruling on the case sometime next year, potentially June 2022.