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Whoopi Goldberg slams Justice Alito for saying a fetus has an ‘interest in having a life’

Whoopi Goldberg slammed Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Thursday over a comment he made earlier this week arguing against abortion.

‘The fetus has an interest in having a life,’ Alito said Wednesday during oral arguments in the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health – where Mississippi is attempting to strike down a lower court’s blocking of its 15-week abortion ban. 

‘And that doesn’t change, does it, from the point before viability to the point after viability? There are those who say that the rights of personhood should be considered to have taken hold at a point when the fetus acquires certain independent characteristics. But viability is dependent on medical technology and medical practice. It has changed. It may continue to change.’

Goldberg, speaking on The View, reamed Alito, arguing that as a male he has no idea what a fetus wants. 

‘Do any of you men have any eggs or the possibility of carrying a fetus? How dare you talk about what a fetus wants? You have no idea,’ she said.

The talk-show host argued that Alito shouldn’t have a say in when an unborn child can or cannot live outside of the uterus. 

‘I’m fine if you disagree with abortion, I have no problem with that. My problem comes when you tell me what I need to do with my doctor and my family. How dare you. How dare you!’ Goldberg stated.

Whoopi Goldberg (pictured) slammed Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Thursday over a comment he made earlier this week arguing against abortion. She claimed that as a male he has no idea what a fetus wants

Goldberg's commentary was in response to Alito (pictured) arguing Wednesday that a 'fetus has an interest in having a life'

Goldberg’s commentary was in response to Alito (pictured) arguing Wednesday that a ‘fetus has an interest in having a life’

Her co-hosts echoed her detest, criticizing other conservative justices over their commentary during Wednesday’s arguments.

‘What he said, you know, that amount of weeks is arbitrary, it’s not,’ Sarah Haines said, responding to Justice John Roberts’ commentary questioning why 15 weeks wasn’t sufficient enough time to make the decision to abort or not. 

‘To me this is the difference and why viability matters. You’re choosing between two lives. There’s a mother and a fetus. When the baby – or when the fetus is able to live outside of the mother, when it’s viable, that becomes equal ground. To me the mother should be put first until that baby can survive outside.’ 

Sunny Hostin, a retired lawyer who openly opposes abortion and identifies as Catholic, alleged that Justice Amy Coney Barrett was ‘disingenuous’ in her arguments – but failed to explicitly cite any of her commentary.

Hostin also argued that although she believes life begins at conception, she would ‘never confuse church and state’ and wouldn’t try to impose her beliefs on others.

She added: ‘I am fearful about Roe v. Wade being overturned.’ 

The Supreme Court (pictured) is currently evaluating a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks, which could overturn the landmark abortion case of Roe v Wade

The Supreme Court (pictured) is currently evaluating a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks, which could overturn the landmark abortion case of Roe v Wade 

What could happen if the Supreme Court sides with Mississippi 

The state is fighting to keep its ban on abortions after 15 weeks in place, and in a separate filing asked the high court to overturn Roe v. Wade altogether.

Twelve states have already enacted ‘trigger laws,’ where if Roe is overturned, abortion in the state would be made illegal immediately without action from the legislature. 

Twenty-six states are likely to ban or restrict abortion quickly if such power is returned to the states. 

Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Texas have all passed heartbeat bills, but none except Texas’ have gone into effect due to court intervention. 

The JWHO has said that since a law in Texas banning abortions after six weeks took effect Sept. 1, one-fourth of its patients come from the Lone Star State. 

 If the justices move to uphold the 15-week ban but not overturn Roe, the right to an abortion would likely remain in place but with a drastically shortened legal window.

Current precedent established by Roe allows abortions up until the point of fetal viability outside the womb, about 24 weeks. 

Mississippi’s law would shave off roughly two months and also signal a green light that states like Texas that want shorter timelines could have a case 

The law also does not make exceptions for rape or incest – which if approved by the Supreme Court could be a feature of anti-abortion laws throughout the country. 

The Mississippi law, passed in 2018, directly contradicts the Roe v. Wade ruling, where the court decided that abortion must be legal pre-viability, or around 24 weeks. 

The question is whether or not all pre-viability bans are unconstitutional. 

Mississippi has asked the court to revisit Roe directly, as well as another landmark 1992 case that upheld abortion rights but allowed some restrictions, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. 

The Jackson Women’s Health Organization, as the state’s only abortion clinic, is suing because it is directly affected by the law. 

In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court ruled that states could place restrictions on abortions so long as they did not place an ‘undue burden’ on the patient. That year, the state had eight abortion clinics, seven of which have closed since the ruling. 

After the ruling, state lawmakers enacted regulations for abortion providers, including a requirement to pass out pamphlets warning of the potential side effects of abortion and a ban on public funding going toward abortions.   

During Wednesday’s oral arguments, the six conservative Supreme Court justices seemed poised to uphold Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks in a decision that could overhaul Roe v. Wade after the most significant debate on a woman’s right to choose in 30 years.

The three liberal justices claimed that overturning the landmark 1974 ruling was driven by political and religious motivations, suggested sticking with precedent and compared the physical reactions of unborn babies to brain-dead people.

Chief Justice Roberts questioned why 15 weeks is ‘not enough time’ for a woman to choose, Brett Kavanaugh hinted that abortion rights should be left up to the states and Amy Coney Barrett brought up alternatives to termination including adoption. 

Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart opened by telling the court that the landmark 1972 case Roe v. Wade and 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey ‘poison the law’ and that Mississippi is looking to unequivocally overturn them.

Meanwhile the liberal justices on the court attempted to claim overturning Roe would undermine public confidence in the government and the apolitical high court.

Roberts also briefly clashed with liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who tore into Mississippi’s opening arguments and accused the state of bringing the case forward not because of its legal basis but because of who was on the bench.

The justices will now debate the case – Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – and release their final opinion in the coming weeks in a decision that will have vast ramifications across the country. 

 

Courtroom sketches show the lawyer defending Jackson Women's Health Organization, Julie Rikelman (standing, top image) and Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart (standing, bottom image) making their cases

Courtroom sketches show the lawyer defending Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Julie Rikelman (standing, top image) and Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart (standing, bottom image) making their cases

The hearing comes after the high court earlier heard arguments on Texas’ new abortion law, which bans the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected, around 6 weeks, but attempts to bypass judicial restraints by making private citizens the enforcers. Any private citizen can sue anyone who aided an abortion and is subject to compensation.  

Legal experts had thought the court might weigh in on the case before hearing the Mississippi arguments, but no decision has been made.

During arguments, the court appeared to be in favor of blocking the law due to its enforcement measures.

Four of the nine members on the highest court – Chief Justice John Roberts and the three liberal justices – had voted previously to halt enforcement of the Texas Heartbeat Act, which makes no exception for rape or incest.

Two conservative justices appointed by former president Donald Trump – Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – appeared inclined after two hours of oral arguments to also vote to block the novel Texas law.  

Roe v. Wade: The landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in America

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion in Roe v. Wade. The landmark ruling legalized abortion nationwide but divided public opinion and has been under attack ever since. 

The case was filed in 1971 by Norma McCorvey, a 22-year-old living in Texas who was unmarried and seeking a termination of her unwanted pregnancy. 

Because of state legislation preventing abortions unless the mother’s life is at risk, she was unable to undergo the procedure in a safe and legal environment.

So McCorvey sued Henry Wade, the Dallas county district attorney, in 1970. The case went on to the Supreme Court, under the filing Roe vs Wade, to protect McCorvey’s privacy.

Supreme Court Decision

The Supreme Court handed down the watershed 7-2 decision that a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions, including the choice to have an abortion, is protected under the 14th Amendment. 

In particular, that the Due Process Clause of the the 14th Amendment provides a fundamental ‘right to privacy’ that protects a woman’s liberty to choose whether or not to have an abortion.

 …nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

The landmark ruling saw abortions decriminalized in 46 states, but under certain specific conditions which individual states could decide on. For example, states could decide whether abortions were allowed only during the first and second trimester but not the third (typically beyond 28 weeks). 

Impact 

Among pro-choice campaigners, the decision was hailed as a victory which would mean fewer women would become seriously – or even fatally – ill from abortions carried out by unqualified or unlicensed practitioners. Moreover, the freedom of choice was considered a significant step in the equality fight for women in the country. Victims of rape or incest would be able to have the pregnancy terminated and not feel coerced into motherhood.

However, pro-lifers contended it was tantamount to murder and that every life, no matter how it was conceived, is precious. Though the decision has never been overturned, anti-abortionists have prompted hundreds of states laws since then narrowing the scope of the ruling.

One such was the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act signed by President George W. Bush in 2003, which banned a procedure used to perform second-trimester abortions.   

McCorvey lived a quiet life until the 1980s when she revealed herself to be Jane Roe

McCorvey lived a quiet life until the 1980s when she revealed herself to be Jane Roe

Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe)

Following the ruling, McCorvey lived a quiet life until the 1980s when she revealed herself to be Jane Roe. McCorvey became a leading, outspoken pro-abortion voice in American discourse, even working at a women’s clinic where abortions were performed.

However,  she performed an unlikely U-turn in 1995, becoming a born again Christian and began traveling the country speaking out against the procedure.

In 2003, a she filed a motion to overturn her original 1973 ruling with the U.S. district court in Dallas. The motion moved through the courts until it was ultimately denied by the Supreme Court in 2005.

McCorvey died at an assisted living home in Texas in February 2017, aged 69. 

‘The Heartbeat bill’

Multiple governors have signed legislation outlawing abortion if a doctor can detect a so-called ‘fetal heartbeat,’ part of a concerted effort to restrict abortion rights in states across the country.

Under the ban doctors will be prosecuted for flouting the rules.

Abortion-rights supporters see the ‘heartbeat bills’ as virtual bans because ‘fetal heartbeats’ can be detected as early as six weeks, when women may not be aware they are pregnant.

Anti-abortion campaigners have intensified their efforts since Donald Trump was elected president and appointed two conservative justices to the US Supreme Court, hopeful they can convince the right-leaning court to re-examine Roe v. Wade.

Georgia, Ohio, Missouri, and Louisiana have enacted ‘heartbeat laws’ recently, and Alabama passed an even more restrictive version in May, amounting to a near total ban on abortion from the moment of conception. Other states have similar legislation pending.

Similar laws has also been passed in Arkansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Iowa and Kentucky, though they have been blocked by courts from going into effect as legal challenges have been brought against them.


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