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Stenehjem should refuse to appeal decision on state's abortion law

April 17, 2014 - Andrea Johnson
It will be a real pity if State Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem decides to throw more money down the rat-hole to defend North Dakota's unconstitutional abortion law.

The misguided law passed by the state legislature in 2013 would have banned most abortions in the state after six weeks, after which a fetal heartbeat can be detected. It was one of several anti-abortion laws passed by the legislature, most of which are probably also unconstitutional and most of which are costing the state a lot of money to defend.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland struck down the latest law this week. "The controversy over a woman's right to choose to have an abortion will never end. The issue is undoubtedly one of the most divisive of social issues. The United States Supreme Court will eventually weigh in on this emotionally-fraught issue but, until that occurs, this Court is obligated to uphold existing Supreme Court precedent," wrote Hovland. Stenehjem's office is apparently still deciding whether to appeal, even though he acknowledged that Hovland's ruling was hardly unexpected.

Mind you, it's not that I approve of abortion or that it would break my heart if more restrictions were placed upon the practice, though you will never find me outside an abortion clinic protesting.

I think banning abortion outright would be a mistake. There are circumstances under which abortion is necessary though regrettable, such as when the procedure saves the life or mental or physical health of the mother. It's neither fair nor moral to expect a woman to sacrifice her life or her sanity by carrying a dangerous pregnancy to term. Our country's laws allow for killing in self defense; that is why I find abortion for those reasons morally justifiable. Banning abortion after the sixth week would essentially ban all abortions in the state, including those that need to be done to preserve the life or health of the mother.

From a practical standpoint, this sort of ban before the point of viability is flatly unconstitutional. Everyone probably knows it, too, from Stenehjem to Governor Dalrymple to the state senators and representatives who voted for the legislation. Still, the Legislature insists on wasting money on a hopeless cause. They would do more good by investing those dollars into programs that would help women and children with housing and child care and by investing in social service programs that can help families in crisis. Many abortions could probably be prevented if more women could afford to raise their children or if they had more places to turn when their families are in trouble. I want our leaders to spend our money more productively.

Stenehjem should refuse to appeal this decision.

 
 

Article Comments

(56)

EarlyBird

Apr-18-14 11:57 AM

Let's open Adoption Clinics and send medical procedures to the Hospitals. You would think an abortion with all the risks would rate a little higher than an ingrown toenail.

AndreaJohnson

Apr-18-14 11:51 AM

== Continued == I think you can agree that a fetus is a potential life or a life without automatically agreeing that abortion must be banned in all cases. It's a balancing act between the life of the mother and of the child. A woman whose life or health is at risk ought to have the right to preserve her life even if it means choosing herself over the unborn child.

I remember the ads that a maternity home in the eastern part of the state ran a few months back, saying "There may be unwanted pregnancies but there are no unwanted children." It struck me as effective because it spoke to both mother and father about stepping up and being responsible and raising their child. Hopefully those ads saved a few lives. They're also more effective than abortion bans because they provide practical help instead of condemnation for women in crisis.

AndreaJohnson

Apr-18-14 11:46 AM

The studies I've seen would suggest that many women seek abortions because of financial reasons or because they are in bad relationships. That's one of the reasons it would be far wiser to put money into social welfare programs that help with housing, child care assistance, education, counseling for troubled families and social workers who help keep kids in their homes and out of foster care, etc. The ages of the women vary and probably cover all women of child bearing years. Older women who get pregnant are probably more likely to have done so deliberately and want the baby, but if it happens unexpectedly it could certainly be a health risk for some women.

locomotive

Apr-18-14 11:45 AM

I agree, EarlyBird. One of the lives, even if it's "potential life," is snuffed out. One can spin all one wants. That fact remains, if one is honest.

EarlyBird

Apr-18-14 11:35 AM

Andrea I don't think it is possible to make a positive out of abortion no matter how hard we try. No matter what there is true loss for one or all of the Babies, Mothers and Fathers involved.

EarlyBird

Apr-18-14 11:30 AM

I'm guessing most abortions are given to older women who have kids already and don't want any more. And the likely occasion where the expecting Mothers are past the premium child bearing years and are worried about the unborn children's health coming from an older factory.

I think most people link abortion to the immature and promiscuous instead of the mature and promiscuous.

AndreaJohnson

Apr-18-14 10:51 AM

There are occasions when freedom of choice involves a choice between two unpalatable options -- perhaps aborting the baby and giving his cancer-stricken mother a better chance at survival or requiring the cancer-stricken mother to carry the baby to term and hastening her death and leaving the baby motherless. Or it could mean requiring a woman who is emotionally distraught at being pregnant to carry the child to term and then having that woman become suicidal. North Dakota forbade abortion after a heartbeat could be detected. What happens to the woman who discovers cancer at 12 or 15 or 18 weeks? Banning abortion is also more likely to drive it underground. Women who have back alley abortions at the hands of inexperienced practitioners are at greater risk of losing their lives or fertility.

EarlyBird

Apr-18-14 10:33 AM

Even though I'm against abortion I am not against freedom of choice. Abortion is only part of a much larger problem.

AndreaJohnson

Apr-18-14 10:24 AM

north Dakota's abortion law would prevent women and doctors from making those decisions in many cases.

FreedomRings

Apr-18-14 10:12 AM

As I stumbled upon this blog this morning, it hit me as

Life is sexually transmitted.

Death is the number 1 killer in the world. I hope to somehow get through the day alive.

EarlyBird

Apr-18-14 10:01 AM

I'm driving nails deep into the coffin of abortion.

EarlyBird

Apr-18-14 9:58 AM

Andrea I did answer your concern, you are talking about medical decisions made by Dr's that are saving lives not taking lives.

You need to separate medical needs from personal choices to follow my thought train.

EarlyBird

Apr-18-14 9:54 AM

How many have seen their child take it's first breath, the first breath of millions. How many have seen their child take their last breath, the only one last breath.

AndreaJohnson

Apr-18-14 9:54 AM

You didn't answer the question. What do you do in a case where saving the life or health of the mother DOES involve stopping the beating heart of the unborn child? I can justify it as self defense, which is recognized under common law and contemporary law.

AndreaJohnson

Apr-18-14 9:53 AM

You didn't answer the question. What do you do in a case where saving the life or health of the mother DOES involve stopping the beating heart of the unborn child? I can justify it as self defense, which is recognized under common law and contemporary law.

EarlyBird

Apr-18-14 9:42 AM

My only complaint with Judges is how liberal and litigious they have become.

EarlyBird

Apr-18-14 9:31 AM

Andrea your scenarios are more medical decisions not cosmetic personal choices. Of course I value the life of the mother but I do not value personal choices that involve stopping beating hearts in human babies. Abortion is the epitome of narcissism.

At the core of extreme narcissism is egotistical preoccupation with self, personal preferences, aspirations, needs, success, and how he/she is perceived by others.

JackAaah

Apr-18-14 9:20 AM

That is the HUGE flaw in our Checks and Balance system....yet some people treat their decisions like they are gawds. Executive branch can be checked...well...Legislative branch can be checked. Seems the Courst do all the 'checking', and no one CAN 'check' them. There really is no check to the power of the courts...no balance that they are really ruling on what the Constitution demands, but no check if they rule by feelings and the times. A person really can make an analogy to the Nazi regime and the SS....I'm sure some also said "Tell that to Hitler", or "Tell that to the SS".

Some say it's becoming a sad state of affairs in America today...that we are truly in a downfall. And some say we are moving forword...

AndreaJohnson

Apr-18-14 8:43 AM

Tell it to the Supreme Court and the U.S. Constitution.

EarlyBird, there are plenty of scenarios where it wouldn't be so easy. What if the mother is a preteen and the pregnancy endangers her life? what if the mother has cancer that needs to be treated immediately with chemo that will kill or damage the fetus? What if the mother is so distressed emotionally, perhaps because she's gone off psychiatric medication during the pregnancy, that she contemplates suicide? If you value life, the life of the mother has value as well.

JackAaah

Apr-18-14 8:35 AM

Andrea...of course these totally neutral judges are smarter than the whole of the population combined.....but I am glad they do inject 'feelings'....and 'the times'... into their decisions....otherwise we would not move forword as a country...

EarlyBird

Apr-18-14 8:34 AM

The unborn undead zombie babies will live in your conscious for ever.

EarlyBird

Apr-18-14 8:32 AM

To be practical the babies should be put up for adoption not killed and thrown into the waste container. If abortion is about population control which it certainly is then that is even a greater travesty against the unborn.

EarlyBird

Apr-18-14 8:28 AM

OK Andrea but this still has to make a full circle. How are they going to stop prosecuting the people who accidentally killed an unborn baby in a car accident? If it is accidental it is illegal but if the mother says kill the baby it is legal. That just don't work for me.

AndreaJohnson

Apr-18-14 8:21 AM

EarlyBird, I agree with you about the sanctity of life. I also put value on the life of the mother. In a case where the mother could die or will be driven to suicide by an unwanted pregnancy, I think abortion might well be regrettable but necessary. To be more practical, the best way to limit abortion is by funding programs that help families in crisis and by providing girls with information about sex and easy access to birth control.

AndreaJohnson

Apr-18-14 8:15 AM

Scare quotes refers to the quotes you put around the word Christian. I don't think there's much doubt that some people disagree because they are Christians. the stance on abortion depends on the denomination.

From a personal standpoint, my beliefs are influenced by religious and other ethical beliefs about the value of life.

 
 

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