Justice Thomas hints SCOTUS will soon tackle question of trait-selective abortion

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The national debate over abortion has reached a fever pitch in recent months as some states have moved to relax restrictions on the lethal procedure for unborn babies while other states have moved to protect the unborn with tough restrictions that truly make the procedure “safe, legal, and rare,” with an emphasis on “rare.”

It has become increasingly obvious that advocates on both sides have dug in on their positions and it will soon become necessary for the Supreme Court to weigh in on the matter definitively, as a recent concurrence issued by Clarence Thomas strongly suggests.

Holding pattern…for now

An op-ed in the Washington Examiner recently called attention to the veritable signal flare from the court on the abortion issue, which was sent up by Justice Thomas.

Thomas weighed in with his thoughts on the court’s decision as to whether or not it would hear arguments on two provisions in an Indiana statutes, the first of which dealt with methods of disposal for fetal remains following an abortion, the second of which was focused on the prohibition of abortions based solely on the race, sex, or potential disability of an unborn baby.

The court as a whole decided to take up the first part of the case about the proper disposal of fetal remains, but declined to take up the selective abortion issue. While Thomas concurred with both decisions, he went out of his way in a separate opinion to explain why he believed the second issue was one of great importance that would need to be settled soon.

“Modern-day eugenics”

Thomas wasted little time in getting down to the heart of the matter — abortion based solely on select immutable characteristics like race, sex, or genetic disability is little more than a “tool of modern-day eugenics.”

The respected jurist laid out a brief, if informative, history of the eugenics movement and noted how it was a driving force behind the agenda of Margaret Sanger, the founder of abortion provider Planned Parenthood.

As a rather extreme form of “birth control,” Thomas asserted that trait-selective abortions fit right in with Sanger’s desire to reduce the population of the “ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.”

“This case highlights the fact that abortion is an act rife with the potential for eugenic manipulation,” Thomas warned. He later added, “Enshrining a constitutional right to an abortion based solely on the race, sex, or disability of an unborn child, as Planned Parenthood advocates, would constitutionalize the views of the 20th-century eugenics movement.”

Duty of the court

“Given the potential for abortion to become a tool of eugenic manipulation, the Court will soon need to confront the constitutionality of laws like Indiana’s,” Thomas wrote. “But because further percolation may assist our review of this issue of first impression, I join the Court in declining to take up the issue now.”

“Although the Court declines to wade into these issues today, we cannot avoid them forever. Having created the constitutional right to an abortion, this Court is duty bound to address its scope,” he concluded.

In other words, the court will most likely be tackling this critical issue in the future, though probably after laws in other states that are similar to Indiana’s are passed and challenged in the judiciary, providing a broader basis for legal review once arguments are eventually heard.

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