Thursday, January 20, 2005

Not a Parody

Sam Heldman, a lawyer, comments on a judge's decision in Alabama about a minor's request to bypass the state's parental-notification law in order to have an abortion:

So what did the judge do? He denied the petition. In large part he made up reasons that (as the appellate opinions explain) were entirely unsupported by the evidence, or ignored the relevant law. But he went beyond that. He said that the minor was not mature, in that it is (he said) "not an act of maturity on her part to put the burden of the death of this child upon the conscience of the Court." The trial judge went on, dripping in sarcasm and moral condemnation:

The legislature, in its infinite wisdom, has determined that an unborn child who never has had even the ability to do any wrong, could be put to death so that his mother can play [sports]. ...
"Ah, but this young woman has more ambition than to play [sports]. Her possible ... scholarship is but the means to the end of her becoming a [health--care provider]. But what is the duty of a [health--care provider]? To save lives. Should her child die so that, possibly, she might later save other lives?
"There may be physical complications to an abortion. There may be psychological complications or consequences. She said that she does not believe that abortion is wrong, so, apparently, in spite of her church attendance, there won't be spiritual consequences, at least for the present."
He went on to say, "This is a capital case. It involves the question whether [the minor's] unborn child should live or die."

That just wasn't "law" in any sense. The judge's personal beliefs were driving the decision.

I was going to end my post here--the judge's insolent attempt to question the religious beliefs of a perfect stranger, and his condescending treatment of a young person are appallingly evident. However, his abject ignorance of medical facts might not be. In the context of "Should her child die so that, possibly, she might later save other lives?", the "There may be physical complications to an abortion." is just too much. There is no child*. There is a first trimester conceptus/embryo [possibly a fetus, if the pregnancy was past the 7th week]. Moreover, having a first trimester abortion significantly decreases a woman's risk of death** from 1 in 10,000 [from continuing the pregnancy] to 1 in 263,000.

Once again, I am stunned by the caliber of the men who have the power of life and death over the lives of tens of millions of women.

*Williams 21ed p 86

** -"- p 1518

(via Instapundit)


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