Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Legislating Reproductive Rights: The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 :: Politics Political Research Papers

Legislating Reproductive Rights: The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 Abstract While no federal legislation currently exists limiting access to abortions in general, in 2003, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act became the first piece of federal legislation to regulate a particular abortion method. This specific procedure, known in the medical community as intact dilation and extraction, is a procedure used to terminate late-term pregnancies and is sometimes the safest method of doing so. Since the ban’s enactment, it has been challenged and defeated in federal court three times due to its vague language which can be construed to encroach upon the fundamental right to abortion. Furthermore, the ban has been found to be an unconstitutional violation of established case law pertaining to specific abortion procedures due to its vague language and lack of a health exception to protect the woman’s well-being. This paper also presents research suggesting that the real intent of the ban is to erode the basic constitutional right to choose and that judg ments against the ban should be upheld. Introduction The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 claims to limit a specific abortion procedure known as intact dilation and extraction (D&X), which is sometimes the safest method for aborting late-term pregnancies. Many factors contribute to the need for late-term abortions and the consequences of denying abortion can be detrimental to a woman’s well-being. Restricting a specific procedure would limit safe options available to women and their doctors. Although the right to obtain an early abortion has been established as a fundamental liberty, this Act uses vague language that could extend to other forms of abortion performed earlier in a pregnancy and fails to include an exception to preserve the woman’s health. This paper will integrate previous decisions regarding abortion with an accurate description of the dilation and extraction procedure in order to demonstrate how the Act’s lack of clarity may result in its application to different procedures. As a result, it is a designed attempt to erode the rights of women. Women deserve the right to choose what happens to their bodies, especially when almost half of all unplanned pregnancies, about 1.31 million per year, are terminated by abortion (â€Å"Overview†). To attempt to ban a specific procedure using vague language may incidentally extend to constitutionally protected forms of abortion, consequentially impinging on our constitutional rights, disregarding pertinent case law and jeopardizing women’s well-being.

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