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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Uninformed but loud -- as usual

There was a lot of fuss about Hoag’s decision to stop conducting abortions, but some of it was misinformed. Hoag has not decided to “deny the Constitutional Rights of Woman” as some assert.* Let’s review.

The Roe decision was the beginning

The Supreme Court issued its decision about abortion on January 22, 1973, with a 7-to-2 majority vote.

The Court found that abortion fell under the Fourteenth Amendment as a privacy issue. It acknowledged that abortion might also fall under the Ninth Amendment (powers not otherwise assigned belong to the people). 

The ruling subjected all laws against abortion to strict scrutiny. It did not establish a new “right to abortion; it established that abortion fell under the privacy protections.

Not a general womens' rights issue

The Court added that the primary right being preserved was that of the physician's to practice medicine freely. A specific note excluded the intent to address women's rights in general. 

The so-called “Constitutional right to abortion” actually meant that states and municipalities couldn't broadly legislate against abortion within the protections of privacy afforded by the Constitution.

Back to Hoag and agitation

That the “Rabble Babble Abatement Squad” from Hoag misspoke initially is clear. (Misspoke is a euphemism for “appeared to lie through their teeth.”) And, Hoag’s CEO could now be just an employee of a religious group that generates a lot of income by operating hospitals. Those points, embarrassing as they may be, are irrelevant.

As a business, Hoag had -- and has -- no obligation to sponsor or support any particular medical procedure. If their decisions are colored by, or demanded by, their associates and partners, that’s not much different from Ford’s management decision to discontinue the Edsel. We didn't hear any outcries that Ford was denying a “Constitutional Right” to people who like funny noses on their cars.

Just because you have the right  . . .

Those demonstrators and agitators were exerting their Constitutional rights to free speech and assembly. They, like Hoag, were free to make misguided statements ad lib, under their inalienable right to speak before they understood the question. Or, under their undeniable right to lie to the press in the hope that no one would notice.

Have you noticed that logical argument and noise level are usually inversely proportional?

*One commenter, for example, wrote: “Abortion is a constitutional right of women. The decision by Hoag, one of Orange County's largest community hospitals, to curtail this medical service for religious and or political reasons is an injustice and for all practical purposes a limitation of women's constitutional rights.”

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