The Free Press
Only a slight majority of area respondents believe the Supreme Court shouldn’t hear upcoming cases that would challenge abortion access in the U.S., according to a Free Press online question.
Out of 237 total respondents, 122 voters did not think the Supreme Court should hear abortion access challenges over the next few months. Another 115 voters disagreed.
The court in early October indicated it would hear an abortion case in its current term, marking the first time it’s done so since President Donald Trump’s two appointments took the bench in 2017 and 2018. The announcement happened to coincide with the annual 40 Days for Life campaign, where demonstrators across the country pray in shifts for an end to abortions.
Maintaining abortion access heavily factored into opposition to Trump’s two Supreme Court appointees. Senators confirmed Justice Neil Gorsuch by a 54-45 margin in 2017, but Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation ratcheted up the contentiousness to new levels.
Senators confirmed him 50-48 after public testimony accusing him of sexual assault. Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who has publicly stated her support for abortion rights, was among the critical votes who abortion rights activists unsuccessfully lobbied to vote him down. Kavanaugh’s confirmation ultimately paved the way for the much anticipated decision on an abortion case from Louisiana.
The case is a near mirror image of a previously struck down Texas law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The court just three years ago decided the law was a substantial burden on women’s abortion rights, but the swing justice on the case at the time has since been replaced by Kavanaugh.
As the court deliberates, local anti-abortion advocates are watching with hope as the court could strip abortion access rights across the country.
The courts battle is being waged closer to home as well as at the country’s highest court. Abortion rights groups attempting to strike down a host of Minnesota laws had their first day in front of a Ramsey County District Court judge a few weeks ago.
The groups who brought the Doe v. Minnesota case to the court argue current laws dictating how abortion providers consult with patients and what women have to do before procedures go too far. The case and its subsequent appeals could stretch over years.
The Free Press online question, sent out Friday, asked, “Should the Supreme Court hear challenges to abortion access over the next few months?”
There were two options to answer, “yes” or “no.”
Commenters largely believed the Supreme Court should hear the upcoming court cases, if nothing else than to settle ongoing questions surrounding abortion legalities.
“Since lower courts have come to conflicting judgments, some of which are radical in their implications, it is appropriate for the Supreme Court to use its judicial powers to straighten out the mess,” Paul Brandon wrote. “Some of these lower court cases, such as Louisiana, are clearly more political than judicial in their nature.”
Mel Strand wrote, “The court must determine an individual’s right to make decisions without government interference by confirming earlier Court decisions.”
“Of course they should,” David Mumme wrote. “They should hear challenges to any laws. That’s the reason they exist. Why should abortion laws be different than any other laws? Let them decide on the merits of the case. This is a silly question to ask (unless you suspect that your favorite abortion laws can’t stand legal scrutiny)!”
Barbara Keating wrote, “We have a system to ensure that states are not allowed to violate the constitutional rights of their residents. Some Supreme Court decisions such as Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) or the Sandford vs Scott (1857) do not stand the test of time and evolving understandings of human rights and constitutional rights. Others such as Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission (2010) cause more harm than good and need to be revisited through Constitutional amendments, revised legislation or future judicial processes.”