Abortion Apocalypse Staved Off, No Thanks To Cory Gardner

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

The New York Times reports on the high-drama ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday temporarily blocking a highly restrictive anti-abortion law in Louisiana from going into effect, and revealing in this 5-4 decision the grave danger abortion rights are presently in–despite a persistent unwillingness by reporters locally and nationally to acknowledge this reality:

The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a Louisiana law that its opponents say could have left the state with only one doctor in a single clinic authorized to provide abortions.

The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the court’s four-member liberal wing to form a majority. That coalition underscored the pivotal position the chief justice has assumed after the departure last year of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who used to hold the crucial vote in many closely divided cases, including ones concerning abortion…


Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh said they would have denied the stay. Only Justice Kavanaugh published a dissent, taking a middle position that acknowledged the key precedent and said he would have preferred more information on the precise effect of the law.

The Louisiana law in question is what’s known in the reproductive rights community as a TRAP law–“targeted restrictions on abortion providers,” meaning regulations intended to reduce the availability of abortions with no clinically proven benefit. This particular law is a requirement that physicians who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a local hospital, which is medically unnecessary and would only serve to severely reduce the number of eligible abortion providers.

The narrow and temporary blocking of this bill from taking effect is thanks to a swing vote from Chief Justice John Roberts, who once again took surprising action to avert what could have kicked off the long-awaited final assault on the Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing abortion rights throughout the United States. This apparently represents a swing from Roberts’ vote on a previous similar case, underscoring his self-appointed role as a moderator on a sharply divided court. With that said, the Court is still expected to hear this case in the fall, and numerous other state-level bills intended specifically to challenge Roe are in the judicial pipeline.

Despite this temporary win for pro-choice advocates, it’s clear that abortion rights are today in greater actual peril than at any point since the Roe decision in 1973. Especially if conservatives get another Justice before President Donald Trump leaves office but even with the Court as it sits today, the likelihood of Roe being thrown out is very high. Trump’s two appointed Justices, both of whom were confirmed with Sen. Cory Gardner’s support and one of which was stolen from Democrats in an unprecedented act of Senate treachery, showed in this trial balloon vote that they are ready to do it. Remember that next time anyone tells you that Gardner “would pose no threat to abortion rights.”

The moral of the story? Even here in Colorado where the voters have demonstrated their support for reproductive choice over and over at the polls, we’re only one election away from passing the same legislation that was blocked yesterday–legislation we see introduced in the Colorado legislature year after year. For reasons we’ve never really understood, local political reporters have been openly contemptuous about covering Republican anti-abortion bills in the Colorado General Assembly in recent years.

That complacency really, really needs to stop. “Token” GOP abortion bills in Colorado are not theater.

They are a warning.

8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. RepealAndReplace says:

    Thank you, Susan Collins…

    As for Gardner, everyone other than the moron who wrote the endorsement at the Denver Post knew Cory was anti-choice.
    Collins is the idiot who professes to be pro choice but bought that crock of shit from Kavanaugh about respecting precedent.

    Everyone respects precedent until it is time to overrule it.

  2. JohnInDenver says:

    Clear demonstration of what "respect for precedent" means to the various members of the Court. Roberts moves away from his 2016 vote, honoring the decision of the Supreme Court on a virtually identical statute. The four judges in the minority on this decision find ways to ignore the precedent.

  3. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Time to get down and into the trenches. Ask every anti-abortion zealot to share their position on contraception. Do they support Griswold v. Connecticut as established precedent? Do they support the right to privacy that is implied in the 3rd, 4th, and 14th Amendments?

  4. Benita Phillips says:

    The truth of the situation is Roe V Wade is NOT a good foundation to balance and continue to base women's health.  The Feds absolutely need to pass a constitutionally based law that reaffirms a woman's right to declare her body as her own. This is even more imperative when you see what this administration is doing even with birth control. 

    • mamajama55 says:

      I agree, Benita; is anyone in Congress working on such a law? I'm sure that it could be "bipartisan" if it affirmed the right of every noncriminal adult to control the boundaries of his/her own body.

      The individual right to privacy and sovereignty over one's own body would have to be placed on a higher legal footing than any presumed social good.

      This would apply to :

      No mandatory vaccinations

      No forced sterilizations, including vasectomies, including of prisoners and cognitively impaired people

      No prostate exams or any invasive procedure without consent

      No selling of people's DNA or genetic data without explicit consent to do so.

      No cloning.

      There is already law out there that addresses consent – "Living Will" directives, for example.

      I'm just trying to sort through the implications of such a law.

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