Casey Anthony’s lawyer: “We need to think twice about a country that kills its own citizens.”

I think that this case is a perfect example of why the death penalty does not work and why we all need to stop and look and think twice about a country that decides to kill its own citizens. Murder’s not right no matter who does it, whether its a ritual killing or someone becoming a victim in a drive-by shooting. It’s disgusting, and I think if this case gets any attention, it should focus on that issue, that we need to stop trying to kill our people. The best feeling that I have today is that I know I can go home and my daughter will ask me, “What did you do today?” and I can say, “I saved a life.”

~ Many angles to ponder in this quote by Jose Baez, Casey Anthony’s attorney, July 5, via Mediaite

[HT: Susie Allen; photo via Dr. Lillian Glass Body Language Blog]

Casey Anthony muses getting pregnant again, or adopting

I had a dream not too long ago that I was pregnant. It was like having Cays all over again. I’ve thought about adopting, which even sounds weird to me saying it, but there are so many children that deserve to be loved….

Let’s make a deal – let’s get pregnant together – if it’s really possible to plan it….

~ Casey Anthony, in jailhouse letters written to a fellow inmate, ABC News, July 6

[HT: Hot Air; photo via CBS News]

Planned Parenthood protests Anthony verdict

No one saw this verdict coming…. Don’t quote me on this, but the Casey Anthony verdict could be to abortions what the automobile was to horse and buggies.

~ Planned Parenthood attorney Abbey Krill as quoted by satire site Wine & Excrement, July 5

[Photo via Dr. Jillian Glass Body Language Blog]

George Anthony describes witnessing the birth of his granddaughter, Caylee Anthony

You know something, it’s just an experience that it’s just…it’s hard to put into words. It’s just how elated you are, how happy you are to see your own child give birth to another child.

It’s just amazing.

~George Anthony, grandfather of murder victim Caylee Anthony during the first day of the murder trial of his daughter, Casey Anthony, via Sierra1947 Youtube channel, May 24

Pro-life tv ads target Casey

UPDATE, 3:45p: The Susan B. Anthony List has just hand-delivered a personal letter to Sen. Bob Casey’s office from president Marjorie Dannenfelser.
casey and casey, abortion in healthcare.pngDannenfelser’s letter is quite strong, worth the read. In it she invokes the memory of Casey’s father and his pro-life convictions. Pro-aborts would likely say the letter hits below the belt – if they dared to mention it, which I think they won’t. Dannenfelser closes by pledging to pull the ad when Casey commits, like Sen. Ben Nelson, to oppose public funding of abortion whatsoever in any healthcare bill. Excerpts…

[Read the rest of this entry…]

Pro-lifers hopeful Supreme Court will now revisit “undue burden” test

judge-myron-thompson who ruled against Alabama's admitting privileges law, stating it created an "undue burden" to abortionTo no one’s surprise, U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson, pictured right, ruled on August 4 that Alabama’s law forcing abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals was unconstitutional.

This is the same judge, after all, who forced the removal of the Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama capitol building. He’s a devout liberal, handpicked by the abortion industry to rule on this case. Noted Dr. Michael New at First Things:

However, this development is not unexpected. Planned Parenthood Southeast shopped for a sympathetic judge and found one in Thompson – an appointee of Jimmy Carter who frequently rules against pro-life legislation.

The abortion industry claims such a law would force three of the state’s five remaining abortion clinics to close.

Ironically, two of them are presently closed anyway, by no one’s doing but their own.

Planned Parenthood Birmingham’s clinic shut down in December 2013 after one of its nurses was caught selling RU-486 in the parking lot and the entire staff was fired. (Read more juicy details on this in Thompson’s decision, beginning at page 152.)

Alabama Women’s Center in Huntsville closed in June because it couldn’t meet new regulations requiring the state’s abortion clinics to follow the same building requirements as ambulatory surgical centers. The clinic is trying to move to a new location.

Yet, even abortion proponents are not jumping for joy by this favorable decision. Noted Think Progress:

It is an open question, however, whether Thompson’s decision will survive further review. Thompson’s opinion will appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, a court which includes some very conservative judges. Moreover, even if it upholds Thompson’s decision, the conservative Fifth Circuit recently upheld a similar Texas law. When federal appeals courts divide in similar cases, the Supreme Court often steps in to resolve the dispute.

If the justices do step in, that is probably bad news for Team Choice. Justice Anthony Kennedy, the ostensible swing vote in abortion cases, has not cast a pro-choice vote in the last 22 years.

It does appear likely that the ultimate decision about laws requiring abortionists to have hospital privileges will be made by the Supreme Court, since lower courts have split on allowing them to go forward. The Guardian explains:

Similar laws have been blocked by federal courts in Kansas and Wisconsin [and Mississippi], while they have taken effect in Missouri, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

Anthony Kennedy who ruled on "undue burden" to abortion in the Casey decisionThere’s more to know about  Supreme Court swing voter Anthony Kennedy, pictured right. Thompson ruled that a law forcing abortionists to play by the same rules as legitimate doctors would create an “undue burden” to abortion access:

Indeed, the court is convinced that, if this requirement would not, in the face of all the evidence in the record, constitute an impermissible undue burden, then almost no regulation, short of those imposing an outright prohibition on abortion, would.

The “undue burden” threshold has been used to both uphold and strike down admitting privilege laws.

From where did the concept of an “undue burden” t0 abortion arise? It came from the Supreme Court’s 1992 Planned Parenthood v Casey decision. Who wrote that decision? Anthony Kennedy. An August 6 memo from the Southeast Law Institute, which I recommend reading, notes:

Depending on what the Eleventh Circuit does, these cases will provide an excellent opportunity for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit the abortion issue, which it has not done in a long time. With the present makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court, whatever opinion will be written will be a five-four decision, with Justice Kennedy being the swing vote. Kennedy wrote the Casey decision and we would be hopeful he would take offense at using his “undue burden” reasoning to diminish women’s healthcare.

[HT for Southeast Law Institute memo: Fr. Terry Gensemer of CEC for Life]

TX/MS: Same court renders opposite rulings on same law in two states

Mississippi abortion clinic remains open

This past March a three-judge, all female panel from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a Texas statute requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of an abortion clinic.

The court rejected the abortion industry’s claim that such a law would create an “undue burden” for abortion-minded mothers if it had the effect of closing down clinics. Justice Edith Jones wrote in the majority opinion:

[A]n increase of travel of less than 150 miles for some women is not an undue burden under Casey.  Indeed, the district court in Casey made a finding that, under the Pennsylvania law, women in 62 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties were required to “travel for at least one hour, and sometimes longer than three hours, to obtain an abortion from the nearest provider.”…

[T]he Supreme Court recognized that the 24-hour waiting period would require some women to make two trips over these distances…[but] did not impose an undue burden. We therefore conclude that Casey counsels against striking down a statute solely because women may have to travel long distances to obtain abortions.

But yesterday, a three judge, all male panel from the same 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 against a Mississippi law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of an abortion clinic. The opinion stated such a law would place an “undue burden on a woman’s right to choose an abortion in Mississippi” – “in Mississippi” being the operative words.

Even though the latter three justices understood they were countermanding the “virtually identical law” their court had just upheld in Texas, the difference, they said, was that under discussion was the lone abortion clinic remaining in Mississippi.

The majority therefore concluded it would place an “undue burden” on a pregnant Mississippi mother to force her to cross state lines to obtain an abortion.

Thus, an abortion clinic five miles from one’s home but in another state is an “undue burden,” but a clinic 150 miles away but in the same state is not, so has determined the 5th District Court.

New court edict: Minimum of one abortion clinic per state?

743042-daede7b2-9dab-11e3-b163-d60ea6e39be3One might logically conclude the court’s new “one clinic” threshold would block Mississippi or any other state from passing or enforcing any law that would have the effect of closing its last remaining mill.

This is a new legal phenomenon, since the dwindling number of abortion clinics has now rendered five states in such a predicament. The court responded to logic in its decision:

[T]he State argues that our opinion would preclude the State from closing the Clinic for sanitation violations because, like H.B. 1390, such action would impose an undue burden on the right to an abortion by closing the only clinic in Mississippi.

Nothing in this opinion should be read to hold that any law or regulation that has the effect of closing all abortion clinics in a state would inevitably fail the undue burden analysis.

But the court didn’t provide any guidelines as to what sort of law it would consider acceptable. It’s a crap shoot. Nor did it explain how closing a clinic for sanitary violations to protect the health and safety of women is good, but forcing abortionists to provide continuity of care in hospitals to patients they injure is not.

One also wonders how the court would react if another clinic opens in Mississippi? Would the state then be allowed to enforce this law, just so long as the lesser of two substandard abortion clinics remains operational?

Supreme Court game on?

Abortion proponents are jumping for joy at yesterday’s decision, one proclaiming “game over.”

Not so fast. All this decision means is it is ever more likely the question whether admitting privileges places an “undue burden” on abortion will end up before the Supreme Court. According to MSNBC:

Federal courts have been split on the broader question of admitting privileges laws, and whether they violate a woman’s right to an abortion by shutting down clinics. In November, the Supreme Court signaled it had the votes to accept the case and resolve that question.

At that time, in regard to the Texas admitting privileges case, according to MSNBC:

All five of the Justices appointed by Republican presidents, including Justice Anthony Kennedy, joined in the order to let the law go forward; all four of the Justices appointed by Democrats said they would have waited until the court had fully considered its constitutionality.

That’s a pretty positive signal.

emilio garzaIn a stinging dissent of the Mississippi ruling, Judge Emilio Garza (pictured right) pretty much outlined our side’s case, noting numerous holes and illogic in the majority opinion:

Mississippi had previously required all doctors affiliated with outpatient ambulatory surgical facilities to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, but expressly exempted Level I abortion facilities….

H.B. 1390 eliminated this exemption…. Critically, however, the Act neither directly closes the Clinic, prevents the Clinic’s physicians from obtaining admitting  privileges nor authorizes the State to intervene in the hospitals’ decision-making.

Moreover, the Act, as the majority correctly holds, is amply supported by a rational basis…. The admitting-privileges requirement both strengthens regulation of the medical profession and protects maternal health…. In sum, the purpose of H.B. 1390 is to protect women seeking abortion services from the known risks of complications….

“The 5th Circuit actually lowered the standard of care for abortion mills,” observed Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman in an email. “Doesn’t that leave women with an undue burden to a botched abortion?” More from Garza:

Applying Casey, a panel of this Court recently concluded that “an increase of travel of less than 150 miles for some women is not an undue burden….” The majority gives these binding principles a passing nod before setting them aside for the sole reason that this case happens to involve the crossing of state borders….

Casey did not contemplate whether the availability of abortion in neighboring states affects the undue burden analysis….

In 2011, prior to the Act’s passage, nearly 60% of Mississippi women who obtained abortions already traveled to other states for those services. Thus, the Act would likely not impose any undue burden on their access to those very same out-of-state providers….

Decision creates “patchwork system” court feared

The majority also echoes the district court’s fear of a “patchwork system where constitutional rights are available in some states but not in others.”… [T]he majority has unwittingly instituted its own “patchwork system”: If all undue burden analyses must stop at state borders, the existence of an undue burden will depend, in part, on a plaintiff’s location relative to those boundaries…. This result is logically and practically untenable – all the more so in regions where populations are denser and urban areas often straddle state borders….

Lastly, the sole act of crossing a state border cannot, standing alone, constitute an unconstitutional undue burden on the abortion right because the Constitution  envisions free mobility of persons without regard to state borders. The Majority’s conceptual approach runs headlong into the well-established “constitutional right to travel from one State to another.”…

“Cannot have it both ways”

The majority concludes by denying that it establishes any per se rule. “Nothing in this opinion,” the majority declares, “should be read to hold that any law or regulation that has the effect of closing all abortion clinics in a state would inevitably fail the undue burden analysis.”…

The majority simply cannot have it both ways. So long as the undue burden analysis is confined by Mississippi’s borders, the closure of that state’s sole abortion provider must be an undue burden….

Even accepting that the majority’s factors somehow narrow its holding, I find its ad hoc approach to be unworkable…. The message for future courts and litigants is that a law causing the closure of all abortion providers in a state imposes an undue burden – unless it does not impose such a burden. The use of such an unprincipled approach to strike down as unconstitutional a state’s exercise of its sovereign power to protect its citizens is particularly troubling….

Despite the majority’s attempt to narrow its reasoning, today’s opinion can only be read to mean that a law or regulation causing all of a state’s abortion providers to close, such that women must cross a state border to obtain abortion services, imposes an unconstitutional undue burden on the abortion right.

UPDATE 7/31 9:20a: See also, “This is what judicial abomination looks like,” at

[Top image via Los Angeles Times]

Abortion backers “dread” new abortion case before Supreme Court

tumblr_mh1h3p1rXW1qd9bz1o1_500Justice Anthony M. Kennedy… [is] the author of the 5-to-4 opinion that upheld the federal ban on so-called partial birth abortion back in 2007, and abortion-rights advocates have viewed with something close to dread the prospect that he could play a similarly decisive role in the Supreme Court’s next abortion case.

That case has arrived….

Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice…  is an appeal by the state of Oklahoma from a ruling by its Supreme Court striking down a law that limits doctors’ ability to prescribe [RU-486]… [It] requires doctors to follow the dosage and other instructions on the F.D.A. label. Viewed outside its context in the battle over abortion, the law looks perfectly sensible, a routine state regulation of medical practice. (Spoiler alert: it isn’t.)…

Planned Parenthood v. Casey was the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the basic right to abortion while also permitting states to adopt new restrictions. In its opinion, which Justice Kennedy joined, the court said it would permit restrictions that did not impose an “undue burden,” defined in the opinion as “a state regulation that has the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.” More than two decades later, all the important words in that definition of undue burden remain contested….

~ Excerpt from op ed, “THe next abortion case is here,” by Linda Greenhouse in the New York Times, September 4

Along with Justice Kennedy, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was also a member of the five-justice majority in 1992. With Justice O’Connor replaced by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., there may no longer be a majority on the court to strike down any burden on access to abortion, even one that is obviously and purposefully “undue.” All that binds the current court to the Casey standard – whatever that standard can be said to mean today – is stare decisis, respect for precedent. As the Roberts court begins Year 9, that may not count for much.


Who Is Jill Stanek?

Jill Stanek is a nurse turned speaker, columnist and blogger, a national figure in the effort to protect both preborn and postborn innocent human life.

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