I’m a doctor, not a lawyer, so I may not understand all of the words and references in the opinion, but I’m shocked that any self-respecting Federal Judge would allow such a frankly biased opinion out of his office. Perhaps Sparks doesn’t mind burning his chances of ever being appointed to another Court, and is quite happy with his life time appointment in the Federal Court at Austin.
I’m halfway through the ruling and thought I’d post some thoughts before these comments got too long.
Sparks decided that it’s not really important for the Plaintiffs to be someone actually harmed by the Law in order to have standing in his Court. He approved the class action suit filed by a New York State corporation, The Center for Reproductive Rights, who filed a class action suit on behalf of all the abortionists in Texas, supported by affidavits from three abortionists:
- 1. Alan Braid, MD is the only one of the three who lives and works in Texas. He owns a privately owned abortion clinic in San Antonio, Reproductive Services, S.A. http://www.reproductiveservicessa.com/
- 2. David A. Grimes, MD, inventor of the partial birth abortion and instructor in “family planning and OBGyn at the University of North Carolina. In 1995, Grimes testified in favor of forcing residency programs and residents to perform and train doctors in abortion http://www.nchla.org/issues.asp?ID=28 “Making abortion training a routine part of any residency…will put abortion back in the mainstream of medicine.”
- 3. Anne D. Lyerly, MD, from the University of North Carolina at Chapell Hill, who was once the chair of the ethics committee of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She testified *against* conscience rights before the Bush President’s Bioethics Council in 2006.
If R. v. W. isn’t found to be gross misconduct, this ruling should be. Sparks can’t resist a revealing his prejudice and mocking the legislature.
Citing Planned Parenthood of Se. Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 846 (1992), a US Supreme Court ruling on abortion limitations and Equal Protection, Sparks not only has to admit that the Texas law is legitimate under prior law and Court rulings, but that:
“This legitimate interest obviously justifies “singling out” abortion providers and the patients thereof, because they pose a serious potential risk to “the life of the fetus that may become a child.”’
However, he goes on to admit his prior bias:
“The Court has grave doubts about the wisdom of the Act, but that is no legal basis for invalidating it. The Act’s onerous requirements will surely dissuade or prevent many competent doctors from performing abortions, making it significantly more difficult for pregnant women to
obtain abortions. Forcing pregnant women to receive medical treatment from less-skilled providers certainly seems to be at odds with “protecting the physical and psychological health and well-being of pregnant women,” one of the Act’s stated purposes. H.B. 15, Sec. 12(1). However, rational basis review requires this Court to accept even tenuous rationales for the advancement of a legitimate government interest.
In short, if the Texas Legislature wishes to prioritize an ideological agenda (2) over the health and safety of women, the Equal Protection Clause does not prevent it from doing so under these circumstances. Accordingly, the Court must reject Plaintiffs’ Equal Protection arguments. (p. 20/55)
That footnote (2) ?
“2 It is ironic that many of the same people who zealously defend the state’s righteous duty to become intimately involved in a woman’s decision to get an abortion are also positively scandalized at the government’s gross overreaching in the area of health care.”
“(It) is difficult to avoid the troubling conclusion the Texas Legislature either wants to permanently brand women who choose to get abortions, or views these certifications as potential evidence to be used against physicians and women,” Sparks wrote.