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Download Reproductive Freedom Chapter

Download Reproductive Freedom Chapter

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120018
th
Street,N.W.,Suite1002,Washington,D.C.20036www.theusconstitution.org
WilltheSupremeCourtContinuetoChip AwayAt,orOverrule,theConstitution’sProtectionofReproductiveChoice?
TheConstitutionataCrossroads
Introduction
“Wedon’thavetoseea
Roev.Wade
overturnedintheSupremeCourttoendit....Wewantto.Butifwechipawayandchipaway,we’llfindoutthat
Roe
reallyhasnoimpact.Andthat’swhatwearedoing.”PatMahoney,ChristianDefenseCoalition
NoissuehasdividedtheSupremeCourtmoresharply,alongideologicallines,thanthequestionwhethertheConstitutionprotectsafundamentalrighttoreproductivechoice.InthenearlyfortyyearssincetheCourtdecided
Roev.Wade
,
1
theJusticeshavevehementlydisagreedaboutwhethertheConstitutionprotectsfundamentalrightsnotexplicitlyenumeratedinthetextoftheConstitution,aboutwhetherawoman’srighttoreproductivechoiceisoneofthefundamentalrightsthatstatesmustrespect,andabouthowcourtsshouldreviewstatelawsrestrictingthatright.In1992,afterbeingrepeatedlyurgedyearafteryearbytheJusticeDepartmentunderPresidentsRonaldReaganandGeorgeH.W.Bushtooverrule
Roe
,theSupremeCourt,inits5-4rulingin
PlannedParenthoodv.Casey 
,
2
substantiallyreaffirmedtheruling,relyinginlargemeasureonthedoctrineof
staredecisis
.Surprisingvirtuallyeveryone,JusticeKennedy,whohadjoinedtheanti-
Roe
blocindecisionsupholdingrestrictivelawsin1989,1990,and1991,
3
becamethefifthvotetoreaffirm
Roe
’sprotectionofarighttoreproductivefreedom.Since
Casey 
,JusticeKennedyhasdriftedbacktotherightonthisissue,joiningtheCourt’sconservativeJusticesinapairofdecisionsconcerningtheconstitutionalityoffederalandstatelawsbanningso-called“partialbirth”abortions.
4
Inthesecases,JusticeKennedy–aloneamong
Roe
’ssupporters–gaveanarrowconstructiontoconstitutionalprotectionforreproductivefreedomandabroadonetotheauthorityofstatestoenactlawsthatpromotethepotentiallifeofthefetus.Today,almosttwodecadesafter
Casey 
,
Roe
stillhangsonbyathread,withsupportersofawoman’srighttoreproductivefreedomdependentonthevoteofJusticeKennedy,whohasonlyonce–
1
410U.S.113(1973).
2
505U.S.833(1992).
3

SeeWebsterv.Reprod.HealthServs.
,492U.S.490(1989);
Ohiov.AkronCtr.ForReproductiveHealth
,497U.S.502(1990);
Hodgsonv.Minnesota
,497U.S.417(1990);
Rustv.Sullivan
,500U.S.173(1991).
4

Gonzalesv.Carhart 
,550U.S.124(2007)(opinionoftheCourtauthoredbyKennedy,J.);
Stenbergv.Carhart 
,530U.S.914,956-79(2000)(Kennedy,J.,dissenting).
 
Crossroads:ReproductiveFreedomPage|2
in
Casey
itself–votedtostrikedownarestrictivestatelaw.
5
Duringthelastseveralyears,theJusticeshavebeensilentontheseissues,butinthewakeofthe2010elections,stateafterstatehaspassednewrestrictions,requiringawomantoviewasonogramofthefetus,receivepotentiallymisleadingmedicalinformationabouttherisksofabortion,and,inonestate,evensubmittoaninterviewandcounselingbymembersofananti-abortioncrisispregnancycenter.
6
Otherstateshavegoneeverfurther,banningallabortionsaftertwentyweeksofpregnancy.
7
Overthenextdecade,SupremeCourtdecisionsthataddresstheconstitutionalityofthesemeasureswillgivetheCourt’sconservativesfurtheropportunitiestochipawayatawoman’srighttoreproductivechoice,possiblyevensettingthestageforafutureshowdownover
Roe
itself.
TheGreatDebateovertheConstitution’sProtectionofSubstantiveLiberty
Thereislittledoubt,inthewordsofChiefJusticeRobertsduringhisconfirmationhearingsthat,undertheConstitution,libertyis“protectednotsimplyprocedurally,butasasubstantivematteraswell.”
8
IndraftingtheFourteenthAmendment,theframersexplainedthattheAmendmentwould“foreverdisableeveryoneofthe[][States]frompassinglawstrenchingupon...fundamentalrightsandprivileges.”
9
ThelistofsubstantivefundamentalrightstheFourteenthAmendmentwasdesignedtoprotectbeganwiththeBillofRights,butitdidnotendthere.Theframersregularlyaffirmedalonglistoffundamentalrights–suchastherighttofreedomofmovement,therighttobodilyintegrity,andtherighttohaveafamilyanddirecttheupbringingofone’schildren–thathavenoobvioustextualbasisintheBillofRights.
10
Thesewerecorerightsofpersonallibertyandpersonalsecurity;itdidnotmatterthattheywerenotenumeratedelsewhereintheConstitution.WhiletheframersoftheFourteenthAmendmentdesignedthePrivilegesorImmunitiesClausetobethe“naturaltextualhomefor...unenumeratedrights,”
11
theSupremeCourtguttedthatClauseinits1873decisioninthe
Slaughter-HouseCases
12
and,eversince,theCourthasturnedtotheAmendment’sDueProcessClausetoprotectsubstantivefundamentalrights.
13

5

Casey 
,505U.S.at887-898(strikingdownhusband-notificationprovision).
6
Foradescriptionofthenewlaws,seeDahliaLithwick,
TheDeathofRoev.Wade,
S
LATE
,April19,2011.
7

See
ErikEckholm,
SeveralStatesForbidAbortionAfter20Weeks
,N.Y
T
IMES
,June26,2011.
8

ConfirmationHearingontheNominationofJohnG.Roberts,Jr.tobeChiefJusticeoftheUnitedStates
,109
th
Cong.,1
st
Sess.,Sen.Hrg.109-158,at147(2005).
9
Cong.Globe,39
th
Cong.,1
st
Sess.2766(1866).
10
SeeD
AVID
H.
G
ANS
&
D
OUGLAS
T.
K
ENDALL
,
T
HE
G
EMOFTHE
C
ONSTITUTION
:
T
HE
T
EXTAND
H
ISTORYOFTHE
P
RIVILEGESOR
I
MMUNITIES
C
LAUSEOFTHE
F
OURTEENTH
A
MENDMENT
7-8(2008).
11
MichaelJ.Gerhardt,
TheRippleEffectsofSlaughter-House:ACritiqueoftheNegativeRightsViewoftheConstitution
,43V
AND
.
L.
R
EV
.409(1990).FordiscussionofthetextandhistoryofthePrivilegesorImmunitiesClause,seeG
ANS
&
K
ENDALL
,
T
HE
G
EMOFTHE
C
ONSTITUTION
,
supra
.
12
83U.S.(16Wall.)36(1873).
13

See,e.g.
,
Meyerv.Nebraska
,262U.S.390(1923);
Piercev.SocietyofSisters
,268U.S.510(1926);
Griswoldv.Connecticut 
,381U.S.465(1965);
Lovingv.Virginia
,388U.S.1(1967).
 
Crossroads:ReproductiveFreedomPage|3
In
Roe
,
Casey 
,andmanyothercases,theSupremeCourthasreaffirmedthattheDueProcessClauseoftheFourteenthAmendment–nowsometimescalled“theLibertyClause”
14
–securestoallpersons“arealmofpersonallibertythatthegovernmentmaynotenter.”
15
In
Casey 
,inajointopinionauthoredbyJusticesAnthonyKennedy,SandraDayO’Connor,andDavidSouter,a5-4majorityoftheCourtreasonedthattheConstitution’sprotectionofsubstantivelibertysafeguardstherightofself-determinationandautonomyconcerning“personaldecisionsrelatingtomarriage,procreation,contraception,familyrelationships,andeducation....Thesematters,involvingthemostintimateandpersonalchoicesapersonmaymakeinalifetime,choicescentraltopersonaldignityandautonomy,arecentraltothelibertyprotectedbytheFourteenthAmendment.”
16

Casey 
recognizedthatwomen’sreproductivefreedomwascriticaltotheirequalcitizenship.Ifwomenweretobeself-governingcitizens,theStatecouldnot“insistuponitsownvisionofthewoman’srole,howeverdominantthatvisionhasbeeninthecourseofourhistoryandourculture.Thedestinyofthewomanmustbeshaped...onherownconceptionofherspiritualimperativesandherplaceinsociety.”
17
Thus,asJusticeRuthBaderGinsburgputitmorerecently,“legalchallengestounduerestrictionsonabortionproceduresdonotseektovindicatesomegeneralizednotionofprivacy;rather,theycenteronawoman’sautonomytodetermineherlifecourse,andthustoenjoyequalcitizenshipstature.”
18
Thedissentersin
Roe
,
Casey 
,andotherreproductivefreedomcasesfirmlyrejectedthenotionthattheDueProcessClauseshouldbereadtoprotecttherighttoreproductivefreedom.
Roe
,
Casey
andothersrulingsinthisarea,theycharged,were“anewmodeofconstitutionaladjudicationthatreliesnotontextandtraditionalpracticestodeterminethelawbutuponwhattheCourtcalls‘reasoned judgment,’whichturnsouttobenothingbutphilosophicalpredilectionandmoralintuition.”
19
Therewasnobasis,theyargued,forextendingconstitutionalprotectiontoarightthathasnogroundinginthetraditionsoftheAmericanpeople,andwasproscribedbythestatesformanyyears.AsChiefJusticeRehnquistexplainedinhis
Casey 
dissent,“[a]tthetimeoftheadoptionoftheFourteenthAmendment,statutoryprohibitionsorrestrictionsonabortionwerecommonplace;in1868,atleast28ofthethen-37statesand8Territorieshadstatutesbanningorlimitingabortion.BytheturnofthecenturyvirtuallyeveryStatehadalawprohibitingorrestrictingabortiononitsbooks...21oftherestrictivelawsineffectin1868werestillineffectin1973when
Roe
wasdecided....Onthisrecord,itcanscarcelybesaidthatanydeeplyrootedtradition...supportedclassificationoftherighttoabortionas‘fundamental’undertheDueProcessClause....”
20

14

SeeMcDonaldv.CityofChicago
,130S.Ct.3020,3091-92(2010)(Stevens,J.,dissenting);
ConfirmationHearingontheNominationofElenaKagantobeAssociateJusticeoftheSupremeCourt
(June29,2010)(availableathttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/documents/KAGANHEARINGSDAY2.pdf 
 
).
15

Casey 
,505U.S.at847.
16

Id.
at851.
17

Id.
at852.
18

Gonzales
,550U.S.at172(Ginsburg,J.,dissenting).
19

Casey 
,505U.S.at1000(Scalia,J.,concurringinpartanddissentinginpart).
20

Id.
at952(Rehnquist,C.J.,concurringinpartindissentinginpart);
id.
at980(Scalia,J.,concurringinpartanddissentinginpart)(arguingthat“thelongstandingtraditionsofAmericansocietypermit[abortion]tobelegallyproscribed”).

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