Kurt Entsminger: Governor, sign pain capable act
There are plenty of good reasons for Gov. Tomblin to sign the 20-week abortion ban that recently and easily passed both chambers of the West Virginia Legislature and is supported by many West Virginians.
This act is just and humane. It is based upon proof that aborting a baby after 20 weeks causes an usually cruel and painful death. It is based upon medical data showing that later-term abortions pose significant health risks to women.
Those who cite Constitutional concerns as a basis for defeating this bill stand on extremely shaky ground. The U.S. Constitution deserves our utmost respect. But pledging allegiance to the faulty principles of Roe v. Wade and subsequent abortion decisions is no way to pay homage to our Constitution.
The 1973 Roe decision was based upon the absurd pretext that the 14th Amendment due process clause ratified after the Civil War was intended to bestow reproductive privacy rights upon women in the 20th Century.
Justice Blackmun found that the architects of Post Civil War Reconstruction had implicitly designed an abortion regulation scheme that was tied to the three trimesters of pregnancy. Even liberal scholars acknowledge that Roe is one of the most historic examples of unbridled judicial activism in American jurisprudence.
During the 40 years since Roe, a political tug of war has taken place between those who seek to expose the fundamental flaws of Roe and those who seek to preserve and expand abortion rights in any way possible. Both sides understand that the survival of Roe depends not upon sound reasoning but upon the ability of pro-abortion forces to maintain the delicate balance of the Court. Each time the Supreme Court has been given an opportunity to overrule Roe, a sufficient number of votes has been mustered to preserve what is unquestionably bad law.
Without the ability to overturn Roe, the next best way to attack its arbitrary framework is to pass common sense laws that push and expose its inhumane limits. That is exactly what happened with the partial-birth abortion ban.
The Supreme Court initially struck down all state laws that banned this barbaric form of late-term abortion. When faced with the same issues after a federal ban was passed, the Supreme Court reversed itself and found the ban to be constitutional.
The 20-week abortion ban that has passed in 10 states poses a very basic issue of morality. Should an arbitrary ruling that abortions can be performed for any reason until a fetus can live outside the womb overcome and trump a law that says that fully formed human beings should not be tortured to death inside the womb?
Considering that the 14th Amendment was aimed at ending the inhumanities and miseries of slavery, I strongly suspect that the authors of that amendment would roll over in their graves if they knew that innocent babies were being painfully slaughtered all in the name of due process.
Gov. Tomblin, please sign this bill. It is far better to force the Supreme Court to decide these issues than to simply bow to the bankrupt principles of Roe and its progeny.
Kurt Entsminger Charleston attorney and former president of Care Net.