The Wall Street Journal with an exclusive this morning stating that the Biden administration is preparing a legal challenge to the Texas six-week ban on abortions, a legal challenge that will undoubtedly head to the US Supreme Court:
The Justice Department could file a lawsuit as soon as Thursday, the people said, adding that the timing could be pushed back. The Biden administration has faced pressure from Democrats and abortion-rights groups to take action to stop the Texas restrictions after the Supreme Court last week allowed them to take effect.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday the Justice Department was urgently exploring all of its options, which legal experts said could include attempting to strip federal funding and trying to determine whether there are federal facilities within the state that could provide abortions. Those experts warned, however, that novel provisions in the law, which prohibits most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, could make it harder for the federal government to prevail in a lawsuit.
One minor quibble?
Some abortion opponents and Republican lawmakers have hailed the law as a model for reversing the viability standard established by Roe v. Wade and subsequent Supreme Court decisions. “The Supreme Court just let Texas’s pro-life law go into effect, saving countless innocent lives,” tweeted Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), who is seen as a potential 2024 presidential candidate. “Why stop there? The Court should let every state set its own abortion laws by overturning Roe v Wade.”
Two points that need to be made:
1. Roe v. Wade does NOT presently establish a viability standard. Or more accurately, the Blackmun provision (known as personhood) currently sets that standard at the moment of birth — a line that Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) so vividly and shockingly described as being rather grey when it comes to post-birth abortions as a matter of routine.
2. Ending Roe doesn’t end abortion. What ending Roe accomplishes is allowing each state to set its own standard — from outright abolition to heartbeat provisions (Texas), all the way to North Korean standards of care which the United States is one of precisely four nations to employ.
There’s more linking Sacramento to Pyongyang that we realize.
Obviously, if the equal protection of the laws extends to every human person under the 14th Amendment, one might be persuaded to argue that a balkanized view of human rights under any standard that devolves a human rights violation to the states is patently unconstitutional. Either there is one standard, or there is no standard.
Either way, the federal courts and the US Supreme Court owe Americans a better standard. Embryology has come a long way since Roe v. Wade. We know that human personhood begins not with a heartbeat, but at the very moment of biological beginning. What’s more, if the 14A provides a single standard of human rights, then an abuse of those rights in Sacramento, Albany or Springfield is going to be an abuse of those rights in Austin, Richmond or Pierre.
In short, there is no middle ground to establish. Only a standard.