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The Court ruled that a State must recognize a woman's right to have an abortion in the...

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kristenmarieb... | Student, Grade 10 | Valedictorian

Posted May 20, 2013 at 3:01 AM via web

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The Court ruled that a State must recognize a woman's right to have an abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy.  It then went on to rule that a State can prohibit abortions in public hospitals or clinics if the mother's life or health is not at risk.  Explain whether these rulings are consistent.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 20, 2013 at 3:30 AM (Answer #1)

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Of course, the consistency or lack thereof in these two rulings is largely in the eye of the beholder.  People will not necessarily agree on this subject.  My own view is that the two can be reconciled with one another.

The reason that I see these as consistent is that there is a difference between the general right to an abortion and the right to an abortion in a particular place or kind of place.  The Court ruled that states may not ban abortions in the first trimester of pregnancy.  However, it did not rule that states must approve of abortion or that they must do anything to help make abortion more available to women.  This is where the states’ right to ban abortions in public hospitals comes in.  If the state bans abortion in public hospitals, it is not preventing women from getting abortions.  Instead, it is preventing them from getting abortions in hospitals it funds.  It is declining to help them get abortions, but it is not preventing them from doing so.

Thus, these two rulings seem to me to be consistent, even if the second allows states to infringe to some degree on rights guaranteed by the first.

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