Each time there is an open place on the U.S. Supreme Court, the issue that towers above others is abortion — whether the new justice will rule in favor of overturning the decades-old landmark decision that said that a woman has a right to an abortion under her constitutionally protected right to privacy.

With the death of Justice Ginsburg, discussion is again centered on abortion. With the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the court will have a 6-3 conservative majority — sufficient to decide what cases will be heard and how they will be decided. Roe v Wade is clearly in jeopardy. In addition to abortion, among the first cases the new Court is expected to hear is yet another challenge to the Affordable Care Act. Abortion is a strange issue in that no one is really for abortion. Some just believe women cannot completely have reproductive freedom without a right to abortion. 

But discussion on abortion normally is from an all or none standpoint. It is my guess that the Court will take a different approach — rather than flat out ruling all abortion illegal, my guess is that the Court will gradually chip away at the foundation of the law. You can regulate anything to death. It should be pointed out that the Court responds to public opinion just like other branches of government. Anything could change, like to require any woman under age 18 to have permission of a parent or guardian before terminating a pregnancy, or require clinics to have certain equipment, even require a licensed physician to be present at all procedures. Rather than mandate such things, the high Court probably would allow the states to do the regulation. Many believe that is the proper place for regulation anyway.  The one thing I am relatively certain of is that the Roe v Wade that we have known forever of the past 20 years is gone. 

Like everyone else, I am unsure about the about the final outcome.

 

Retired Auburn Attorney Don Eddins is publisher of The Auburn Villager newspaper and the online publication, auburnvillager.com. Before going into law, he was State Capitol reporter for The Huntsville Times and state editor for The Columbus Ledger. In college, he was sports editor of The Auburn Plainsman. Email him your comments about the newspaper to doneddins@auburnlaw.us.

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