Abortion law upheld

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld an unpopular but worthy Mississippi law placing tough restrictions on minors attempting to get abortions.

Critics were hoping the court would wield its authority on state restrictions for abortions although the court upheld restrictions in Pennsylvania a little more than a year ago.

The Mississippi law says girls seeking an abortion under the age of 18 need consent from both parents. Written consent is needed unless the girl can obtain a special court order by arguing she is mature enough to make the decision herself or that an abortion is in her best interest.

A girl can get by with the consent of one parent under three circumstances: children of divorced parents need only consent of the parent they live with, one parent is unavailable for a reasonable time or in cases of incest.

Regardless of your position on abortion, it is a surgical procedure with possible complications. It is also a decision that stays with a woman for the rest of her life, and a child who is not capable of making that decision should not necessarily have a constitutional right to do so.

There is a constitutional right to bear arms, but we do not sell automatic weapons to children. The court’s decision affirmed two valuable principles: the state’s right to restrict abortions and parent’s right to have some control over a major decision in his or her child’s life.

The Mississippi law did not exactly defy all logic, nor did it defy the Constitution or even Roe v. Wade. Illinois does not have a parental consent, nor even parental notice law, but that decision will be left to its state legislature.

Positions on abortion itself range from one extreme to another, even on this board. But the question of whether the state has a right to place restrictions on abortions is more focused. There was no dissent in the decision and reports say the court gave no reasons for its actions. Parental notice and 24-hour waiting periods were approved restrictions in last year’s Pennsylvania decision. The court has shown that states can turn it up a notch.

Many hoped the court would specify the severity of restrictions. But it is clear to both sides of the abortion debate that things are still up in the air, so to speak.

It’s clear that the court has given some leeway to the states, much more leeway than many abortion proponents hoped they would.