Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Abortion
Supreme Court Justice (nominated by Pres. Clinton 1993)
OnTheIssues explanation: The court did not rule against "parental notification" in general; in other words, states can decide if and when a minor girl's parents must be notified. But the court imposed restrictions: if the minor girl's life is in danger, her right to an abortion overrules the state's requirement for parental notification. Justices in the majority agree that the right to an abortion for maternal health is the higher priority (a pro-choice stance); justices in the minority say that parental notification has the higher priority (a pro-life stance).
Opinions: O`Connor wrote majority opinion; all 8 other justices concurred.
“The conflict is not simply one between a fetus’ interest and a woman’s interest.. Also in the balance is a woman’s autonomous charge of her full life’s course, her ability to stand in relation to men, society and to stay as an independent, self-sustaining equal citizen. As long as the government paid for childbirth, the argument proceeded, public funding could not be denied for abortion, often a safer and always a far-less expensive course short and long term. By paying for childbirth but not abortion, the government increased spending and intruded upon or steered a choice Roe had ranked as a woman’s fundamental right.“
GRAHAM: That writing suggests that not only is Roe an important constitutional right to the author, but that government ought to pay for abortions in certain circumstances.
Ginsburg: I will rest my answer on the Casey decision, which says in the end it’s her body, her life, and men - to that extent - are not similarly situated. They don’t bear the child.
Brown: [Asked to explain further about whether] the rights of men and women are not equal in this case.
Ginsburg: I said on the equality side of it, that it is essential to a woman’s equality with man that she be the decision-maker, that her choice be controlling. If you impose restraints, you are disadvantaging her because of her sex.. The state controlling a woman would mean denying her full autonomy and full equality.
If only the court had acted more slowly, RBG said, and cut down one state law at a time, the justices could have been persuaded to build an architecture of women's equality that could house reproductive freedom. She said the very boldness of Roe, striking down all abortion bans until viability, had "halted a political process that was moving in a reform direction and thereby, I believe, prolonged divisiveness and deferred stable settlement of the issue."
This analysis remains controversial among historians, who say the political process of abortion access had stalled before Roe.
|Other Justices on Abortion:||Ruth Bader Ginsburg on other issues:|
Samuel Alito(since 2006)
Stephen Breyer(since 1994)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg(since 1993)
Elena Kagan(since 2010)
Anthony Kennedy(since 1988)
John Roberts(since 2005)
Sonia Sotomayor(since 2009)
Clarence Thomas(since 1991)
Merrick Garland(nominated 2016)
John Paul Stevens(1975-2010)
Sandra Day O'Connor(1981-2006)
Natural Law Platform