by Long Island Attorney Paul A. Lauto, Esq.
As election day draws near, there is one political hot potato that is getting limited attention. That is, what this election could mean for the fate of Roe v. Wade, which established a woman's legal right to choose back in 1973. President Obama has indicated that he supports Roe v. Wade and Governor Romney has indicated that he would essentially reverse Roe v. Wade. But if Governor Romney is elected President what is the likelihood of such reversal?
The President appoints, subject to approval, Justices to the U.S. Supreme Court as needed. The U.S. Supreme Court is comprised of nine Justices, four of which are over the age of 70. Currently the Court is split 5-4 in favor of Roe v. Wade. If one or more Justices retire or take ill, then the president would have the opportunity to appoint a replacement. If that was to happen under Romney, he would undoubtedly appoint someone that shares his pro life ideology. Therefore, depending on the ideology of the outgoing Justice, the current delicate pro choice balance within the Court could easily shift. Accordingly, the majority of attention is focused on the oldest Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg turns 80 years old in March 2013, is a two time cancer survivor and staunch pro choice and womens' rights supporter. If Justice Ginsburg was to retire for whatever reason, there is a very reasonable chance that Roe v. Wade could in fact be reversed.
Perhaps noteworthy, is that in 1994 when Romney ran against Ed Kennedy for Senator in Massachussetts, he subscribed to a much different position on this issue. In order to underscore his now extinct support of Roe v. Wade, he referenced a young woman who was a close relative, who had died years before as a relut of complications from an illegal abortion. In our pre Roe v. Wade American history, women of means would simply travel to a state where abortion was legal to contend with an unwanted pregnancy. Women who lacked resources, would either be compelled to endure an unwanted or risky pregnacy, utilize dangerous self abortion techniques or turn to illegal and potentially unsafe providers. This all resulted in an alarming compromise to womens' health, privacy and equality.
Read the complete blog at www.liattorney.com/scales-of-justice.html.