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The Millbrook Independent

May 29th
Wasting taxpayer money going to court
Written by News Desk   
Saturday, 15 March 2014 10:26

artparkerBy: Art Parker, Editor

In 1973 I graduated from high school during a time in America that was far from her best. We were still lingering with the foul smells of Vietnam and our President, Richard Nixon, was in a world of trouble known as Watergate.

What would eventually become a controversy lasting much longer than Watergate erupted with a judicial decision like none other: Roe versus Wade (commonly known as "Roe"), the decision that legalized a woman's right to an abortion. Today, as my working days should be coming to a close (notice I said "should be"), Roe is still the center of controversy that causes endless debate, causes new legal cases and divides the citizens of America and, causes even a greater divide between the major political parties. Roe has been hanging around my entire adult life.

I view abortion as a disgusting and revolting act. For years I've had mixed emotions about the abortion issue and Roe as well as another high court decision in 1992 known as Planned Parenthood versus Casey, which centered around the constitutionality of a 1982 Pennsylvania law (It is commonly known as "Casey").

In its decisions the high court didn't just blurt out "abortion is legal." What the court did was to allow for a woman to have an abortion at her discretion (choice) without fear of interference from government, based upon viability of the fetus. Viability, as the court explains, is "the point at which the state's interest in the life of the fetus outweighs the rights of the woman and abortion may be banned entirely except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother."

Justice Harry Blackmun authored the Roe decision. Blackmun portrayed the interests of the state to be either or both of the following: protecting prenatal life or protecting the health of the mother. In Casey the court basically affirmed Roe but allowed some other points of the Pennsylvania law to stand. It is also important to note in, Casey, that eight of the nine justices were appointed by Republican presidents, and that Sandra Day O'Connor, appointed by Ronald Reagan, provided the primary ink and pen to reaffirm Roe.

Now 41 years later state governments are tinkering with Roe and Alabama is one of those. Last week the Alabama House of Representatives passed four abortion related bills. One of those bills comes from Mike Jones of Andalusia. Jones' bill deals with the issue of juvenile pregnancy and makes waivers issued to juveniles allowing them to have an abortion tougher to obtain. I believe this bill makes sense and is needed. Furthermore, I think Jones' bill may very well be acceptable under Casey.

While I have a problem with the act of abortion I also have a big problem with the Legislature throwing away our tax money. The other bills seem to be more of the same stuff as in the past and will go nowhere legally. Federal courts have already struck down very similar laws passed in other states. I get doubly disturbed when our legislators state that going to court is the actual purpose of passing legislation.

We have been down this road before. We've spent tons of money on immigration legislation and abortion laws. Now we are going to spend more money on federal questions or questioning federal authority. I don't care what the issue is, I'm against wasting our money. Spending taxpayer money so a legislator can make a name for himself/herself is wrong, and believe me, that's what is happening.

Speaking of spending taxpayer money in court regarding women, we ought to save some of this money spent on abortion legislation because our legal costs over Tutwiler prison will be astronomical. How much has the legislature done in 2014 to correct our prison problems? I think the best answer is little or nothing, but we act like spending taxpayer money to challenge federal laws in court is a must-do course of action.

From what I have read even Justice Antonin Scalia believes that Roe is settled law, and I promise, Scalia is far to the right of first base. If Scalia has little or no interest that means Justice Clarence Thomas doesn't, and without those two the chances of hearing a challenge to Roe is highly improbable.

I don't know who wrote the following and I wish I did so I could give proper credit. I believe this person's thoughts are right on target as it applies to our lawmakers: "It seems to me that if people who object to abortion would focus their time, energies, and money on creating a society where women don't have unwanted pregnancies, they could go a long way to eliminating all abortions save for those very few which are actually medically necessary."

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