| Here are excerpts from the Supreme Court's abortion
decision of 1992 which upheld Roe v Wade. The following is from
the main opinion, written by justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony M Kennedy
and David H. Souter:
"...We are led to conclude
this: the essential holding of Roe v Wade should be retained and once again
reaffirmed. ...It must be stated at the outset and with clarity that Roe's
essential holding, the holding we reaffirm, has 3 parts:
"First is a recognition of the right of the woman
to choose to have an abortion before viability and to obtain it without
undue interference from the state...
"Second is a confirmation of the state's power
to restrict abortions after fetal viability, if the law contains exceptions
for pregnancies which endanger a woman's life or health.
"And third is the principle that the state has
legitimate interests from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting the
health of the woman and the life of the fetus that MAY BECOME a child.
"It is a promise of the
Constitution that there is a realm of personal liberty which the government
may not enter. We have indicated this principle before.
"It is settled now, as it was when the court
heard arguments in Roe v Wade, that the Constitution places limits
on a state's right to interfere with a person's most basic decisions about
family and parenthood...
"Men and women of good conscience can disagree,
and we suppose some always shall disagree, about the profound moral and
spiritual implications of terminating a pregnancy, even in its earliest
stage. Some of us as individuals find abortion offensive to our most basic
principles of morality, but that cannot control our decision. Our obligation
is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code..."
03-26 DATES, ANNIVERSARIES, and
B. 03-26-1819, Louise Otto, author and founder of the German feminist
B. 03-26-1930, Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to be appointed
an associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court was an Arizona
lawyer and judge. She served in the state Senate from 1969 until 1974,
becoming majority leader - the first woman to hold such a position.
She was elected an Arizona Superior Court judge 1974,
and appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals 1979.
President Ronald Reagan, under great pressure from
women's groups as well as his own party, appointed O'Connor and she was
sworn in 09-25-81. Expected to be a strict Republican right-winger and
seen as the deciding anti-choice vote, she amazed everyone by being the
deciding vote to uphold a woman's right to choose and confirm that an embryo
or fetus is not a child.
Event: 03-26-1943, Second Lieutenant Elsie Ott of the Army Nurse
Corps receives the first air medal for meritorious achievement ever
given to a woman.
B. 03-26-1944, Diana Ross, vocalist, actor, lead singer with
the group The Supremes during the 1960's, did solo work, and won an Academy
Award nomination for her work in The Lady Sings the Blues.
Event: 03-26-1985, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds a lower court
decision that an Oklahoma law allowing a teacher's firing for speaking
on gay rights is unconstitutional.
QUOTES DU JOUR
"I don't claim that
women are wiser or better than men, but I can tell you that having women
in positions of power does make a difference in what gets tended to and
"If you ever read Supreme Court arguments, you
will occasionally notice that Sandra Day O'Connor, no one's idea of a bomb-throwing
feminist, asks questions different from those of her male colleagues. Just
because she has a different perspective."
-- Molly Ivins in her
syndicated column 02-13-1993.