States brace for ‘abor­tion’ fights

‘Wealth’ modest

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

BOS­TON, July 12, (AP): An­tic­i­pat­ing re­newed fights over abor­tion, some gover­nors and state law­mak­ers al­ready are look­ing for ways to en­hance or dis­man­tle the right in their own con­sti­tu­tions and laws.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s nom­i­na­tion of Judge Brett Ka­vanaugh to the US Supreme Court has raised both fears and hopes that a con­ser­va­tive court ma­jor­ity could weaken or over­turn the 1973 Roe vs Wade rul­ing that cre­ated a na­tion­wide right to abor­tion. That could fan an al­ready rag­ing bat­tle in states over what should and should not be le­gal.

Al­though a com­plete re­ver­sal of Roe re­mains a long­shot, some Demo­cratic elected of­fi­cials want to en­act new abor­tion pro­tec­tions and re­peal dor­mant laws that crim­i­nal­ize abor­tion. While those laws have been ig­nored for decades, some stretch­ing back to the 19th cen­tury, Democrats want to erase them so they can­not be re­vived in the fu­ture.

“As long as they are en­shrined in statute, they can be picked up and used by peo­ple who do not feel the same way about women and their bod­ies that I would say most peo­ple in this state feel,” said Mas­sachusetts state Se­nate Pres­i­dent Har­ri­ette Chan­dler, a Demo­crat.

Chan­dler is push­ing to re­peal an abor­tion ban from the 1800s that has re­mained un­en­forced, in part be­cause of a 1981 state court rul­ing pro­tect­ing ac­cess to abor­tion.



The Mas­sachusetts Se­nate ap­proved the bill unan­i­mously in Jan­uary. The House Speaker, also a Demo­crat, said that cham­ber will take it up be­fore the end of the for­mal leg­isla­tive ses­sion July 31.

In New York, Demo­cratic Gov An­drew Cuomo has been hold­ing ral­lies af­ter Ka­vanaugh’s nom­i­na­tion this week urg­ing the state Se­nate to re­con­vene. He wants it to strengthen the right to an abor­tion, a seem­ingly un­likely event in the Repub­li­can-led cham­ber.

Demo­cratic As­sem­bly Speaker Carl Heastie said the state law le­gal­iz­ing abor­tion, passed three years be­fore the Roe rul­ing, in­cludes a ban on third-trimester abor­tions and of­fers very lim­ited ex­cep­tions.

The As­sem­bly has passed leg­is­la­tion cod­i­fy­ing Roe six con­sec­u­tive times, but the Se­nate has re­peat­edly blocked it.

“There may have once been a time when we felt com­fort­able with the pro­tec­tions Roe vs Wade of­fered,” Heastie said. “But that time has passed, and now these fun­da­men­tal rights are threat­ened like never be­fore. We can­not af­ford to take this right for granted.”

Seven­teen states al­ready have laws that could be used to re­strict the le­gal sta­tus of abor­tions if Roe is over­turned or se­verely lim­ited. Of those, Mas­sachusetts is one of 10 states that still have pre-Roe abor­tion bans on the books, ac­cord­ing to the Guttmacher In­sti­tute, a na­tional re­search group that sup­ports abor­tion rights.

The in­sti­tute says nine other states have laws specif­i­cally pro­tect­ing abor­tion rights.

Law­mak­ers in some Repub­li­can­led states have been at­tempt­ing for decades to chip away at the Roe rul­ing by re­strict­ing when, where and how abor­tions can be pro­vided. Ka­vanaugh’s ap­point­ment could lead to a surge in such mea­sures.

“The time is right. We need to act on it,” said Mis­souri Rep Mike Moon, who is hop­ing Trump’s Supreme Court ap­point­ment breathes new life into an anti-abor­tion state con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment that stalled ear­lier this year.


The vet­ting of Supreme Court nom­i­nee Brett Ka­vanaugh is just be­gin­ning, but his pub­lic fi­nan­cial dis­clo­sures make one thing clear: He’s not as wealthy as many al­ready on the high court.

Pub­lic dis­clo­sure forms for 2017 show that the fed­eral judge would come to the na­tion’s high­est court with only two in­vest­ments, in­clud­ing a bank ac­count, to­gether worth a max­i­mum of $65,000, along with the bal­ance on a loan of $15,000 or less.

Sep­a­rate from the dis­clo­sure forms, the White House said that be­tween Ka­vanaugh’s re­tire­ment ac­count bal­ance of $400,000 to $500,000, and the eq­uity in his home in Chevy Chase, Mary­land, he has about an ad­di­tional mil­lion dol­lars in wealth.

If con­firmed, his rel­a­tively modest means would rank Ka­vanaugh in the lower tier in per­sonal fi­nances among mem­bers of court. Some of his po­ten­tial fu­ture col­leagues list mil­lions of dol­lars in in­vest­ments.

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