Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Supreme Court Rejects Bid to Reopen Roe V. Wade

A few months ago I mentioned that Norma McCorvey ("Jane Roe") had asked the Supreme Court to overturn its decision legalizing abortion. Ms. McCorvey contended [scroll down] that the case should be heard again in light of evidence that the procedure may harm women.

After looking at her "new evidence", I didn't think the request had any merit. Good to know the Supreme Court agrees:

The Texas woman once known as "Jane Roe," whose case led to the ruling that women have a constitutional right to an abortion, lost a U.S. Supreme Court appeal on Tuesday seeking to overturn its historic 1973 decision.

In asking the Supreme Court to reopen the case, attorneys for Norma McCorvey said, "Since the original judgment in Roe v. Wade, factual conditions surrounding abortion have changed significantly demonstrating that abortion hurts women."

McCorvey has become an outspoken opponent of abortion. The Supreme Court rejected her appeal without comment or recorded dissent.

A U.S. appeals court last year dismissed McCorvey's motion and ruled her case was moot. It said the Texas law declared unconstitutional in the 1973 ruling, a law that made abortion a crime, has long been repealed.

In 2003, a federal judge rejected her request to reconsider the 1973 ruling because she failed to file it on a timely basis. "It is simply too late now, 30 years after the fact, for McCorvey to revisit that judgment," the judge said.

In appealing to the Supreme Court, McCorvey's lawyers argued that the original Roe v. Wade ruling should be set aside because the decision was "no longer just." They said the case involved "questions of exceptional national importance."

They said the high court at a minimum should require a hearing to decide whether "Roe v. Wade" should be re-examined.

The other party to the 1973 ruling was Henry Wade, the Dallas County District Attorney. The latest case named Bill Hill, the current district attorney. He waived his right to even file a brief in the Supreme Court responding to McCorvey, typically done when lawyers think there is little chance the Supreme Court will grant the appeal.

In 1992, the Supreme Court last addressed its 1973 ruling and reaffirmed the central holding that women have a fundamental constitutional right to choose an abortion.

On the current Supreme Court, only three members - Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas - have voted to overturn the 1973 ruling.


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