Supreme Court decisions cast long and unexpected shadows over the legal landscape. In its recent decision to uphold the 2003 congressional ban on so-called partial-birth abortions, the court seriously chipped away at a woman’s right to determine if, and when, to bear a child, while doing nothing to advance what they call the rights of the unborn, since even late-term abortions remain legal.

Now Congress can overrule doctors’ judgment to determine the safest abortion procedures for their patients, and the principle that abortion legislation had to make allowance for the mother’s health has been cast aside. A physician’s responsibility to provide patients with the best care is now trumped by Congress’ right to legislate its version of morality into the doctor-patient relationship and medical decision-making.

In his opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy ignored expert opinions offered as testimony. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists called the opinion “shameful” and one wonders where Congress might go next in its practice of medicine.

How can we support a woman’s right to choose without diminishing the sanctity of life? Having and honoring healthy families requires that women be allowed to determine their family size and timing, for women know best when they are ready to take on the responsibilities of parenting.

We show our greatest support for children by supporting women as they face and make this essential choice and by creating as supportive an environment as possible for raising our children after they are born.

Steve Bien, M.D., Farmington


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