<b>#JOINTHEDISSENT:</b>  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent in <i>Hobby Lobby</i> formed a touchstone for Santa Barbarans, including Jennifer Holland (right), protesting the Supreme Court ruling.

Paul Wellman (file)

#JOINTHEDISSENT:  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent in Hobby Lobby formed a touchstone for Santa Barbarans, including Jennifer Holland (right), protesting the Supreme Court ruling.

Reagan’s Abortion Quandary

Women’s Reproductive Rights a Long-Running Issue

Thursday, July 10, 2014
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SIGN IT OR NOT? Ronald Reagan had only been California governor for six months when he faced a perplexing decision: whether to sign a bill legalizing abortion in certain cases.

By all accounts, the man known for decisive action and iron-clad principles didn’t know what to do. He got advice from all sides, including conferring with Cardinal James Francis McIntyre, who, as you can imagine, was against the bill. His staff was divided. Reagan was beset with soul-searching.

Barney Brantingham

The Therapeutic Abortion Act was aimed, according to its backers, at reducing the number of backroom abortions, which made sense. Or a risky trip to Tijuana, like the one made by a young Santa Barbaran I knew in the early 1960s to end a pregnancy that would have devastated her old-world family. She went on to a happy marriage and three children.

The law allowed the procedure in cases of rape or incest or where there was a substantial risk to the physical and mental health of the woman. After Reagan reluctantly signed the law, it resulted in an estimated one million abortions, many under the mental-health provision.

Few dreamed it would have such an impact. Even its backers were shocked. Reagan was said to have very much regretted signing the bill and blamed doctors for interpreting the provisions too liberally. When he ran for president, he made sure he was an ardent pro-lifer and as a result got backing from the anti-abortion movement.

Abortion was not yet the hot-button issue it is today. Then came the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1973, Roe v. Wade, making abortion legal throughout the land. But the religious right soon began the battle to overturn the ruling.

Today, it’s often said that Roe v. Wade is one Supreme Court vote away from being overturned. As much as conservatives on the court apparently would love to overturn Roe v. Wade, it seems to court-watchers more likely to die first from the old Chinese torture, death by a thousand cuts by lower courts. In old China, it wasn’t a case of tiny little slices cut from the victim’s body but of large hunks hacked off until the poor victim died a horrible death.

In the last few years, Republican legislatures in dozens of states have enacted laws aimed at restricting abortions by forcing clinics to close. A favorite tactic is to require that providers have admitting rights at a nearby hospital, something that can be almost impossible to obtain. Catch-22.

Meanwhile, various anti-abortion cases and limitations on women’s access to contraception are in line, heading to the Supreme Court, which has made it clear that when they arrive, it’s ready and willing to hack more flesh off Roe v. Wade.

Two cases in point came last week, with the Hobby Lobby ruling and when the court tossed out Massachusetts’ bubble law, which required protesters to give clinic clients 35 feet of space to enter without enduring intimidation, harassment, or worse. The fate of Santa Barbara’s eight-foot bubble remains in doubt. City Attorney Ariel Calonne is optimistic that it can survive legal attack. I have my doubts and have a bet with optimistic Nick Welsh on it. (I hope he wins.)

Under Hobby Lobby, the court ruled for the first time that a for-profit, closely held corporation not only has got that old-time religion but can opt out of Obamacare’s contraception insurance requirements.

Who knows what else the court will pull out of its Pandora’s box as new anti-abortion cases arrive? Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for one, is outraged at what the Hobby Lobby case may spawn.

Ginsburg is 81, and there’s speculation that she’ll retire (she shows no signs of wanting to) before President Obama leaves office after the 2016 election, allowing him to name a liberal replacement. If he can.

When I talked to constitutional authority Laurence Tribe, who spoke to a full house when he visited the New Vic two weeks ago, he predicted that there was no way in hell that Obama could get a nominee through the Senate. “Even God couldn’t get confirmed,” he told one interviewer.

But one Santa Barbara attorney I quizzed was confident that Obama can find someone. Is there someone bland enough, without a trace of ideology, who can score a World Cup goal at the Senate?

Don’t bet a case of Guinness on it.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

I know that Murder is Ethically and Morally wrong and that Abortion violates my religious beliefs but I have yet to witness the Great Catholic Church stand tall and promise to care and raise all of these born and put-out children as a direct results of Anti-Abortion Laws.

I also have yet to witness that same church give its blessings to contraceptives to be used by both Males and Females but hear their rhetoric that it prevents conception and violates Gods Laws.

Until there is a cash windfall of $$$$ to support and raise unwanted, displaced and thrown-away children, abortion is the way that Government can save itself and the States, Counties and towns that will be burdened by these un-aborted children. Oh, I've heard the same excuses, "teach your children to hate sex", "Practice Abstinence", "Take your child to Church when they enter Puberty", yeah Right! Reality check, People, that old-world thinking gets no air time and often quite the opposite when our World celebrates lots of sex before Marriage (another failed Institution in America; ). The dilemma is that until there is a bankroll for those unwanted children, Abortion is the Ticket that is chosen.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
July 10, 2014 at 11:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Reagan really kept the religious right at bay during his political career. He was able to do that better than any Republican since. It's sad to say that candidates need to get at least reluctant support from that wing of the party in order to advance to the general election process. I can't think of a worse possibility for president than Rick Santorum.

Botany (anonymous profile)
July 10, 2014 at 12:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"I have yet to witness the Great Catholic Church stand tall and promise to care and raise all of these born and put-out children as a direct results of Anti-Abortion Laws." -dou4now

"In several states, Catholic Charities have had their licenses revoked to provide foster care and adoption services."

If the government restricts churches from providing foster care and the church takes care of the children anyways, the government will send men with guns and kidnap them and put them in a cage.

Maybe we should stop using government violence to solve societal problems.

I'm actually pro-choice, but I do see pro-life individuals who put up valid arguments against abortion. Is there a difference between murdering a newborn baby and one that is 7 or 8 months along? When does a fetus become a person? These are all difficult questions that require much soul searching, but ultimately I don't think that the government should be invading a woman's womb. I don't like the idea of the government investigating a miscarriage which is often a very sad, tragic and PRIVATE event for a woman.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
July 10, 2014 at 12:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

At conception a genetically-unique, self-directed, living and growing, human individual is created. Science has unequivocally answered the question of when a person is created or when life begins.

We know it's a living person and if left alone will develop into a newborn, a toddler, an adolescent and an adult. It is this knowledge that makes some women desperate to kill it. So the question isn't when is it a person, but "When is it legal for a woman to kill it or have it killed?"

Logic dictates that If there are justifications for killing a baby in the womb there are equally compelling justifications for killing newborns and toddlers.

The Left has always cited both science and logic in arguing with the "religious Right", but it looks like the Left is abandoning both in their attempt to justify abortion.

dewdly (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2014 at 2:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@Dou4NOw, you can always defect to being a Protestant.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2014 at 5:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)


"Restrictions to women's access to contraception..."

Instead it's:
"Restrictions to *paying* for certain kinds of women's contraception under the Religious Protection Act - a bill co-sponsored by Nancy Pelosi and signed by Clinton in the 90s.

Of course Barney chooses to leave all this out of his mind-bending gender-politics article. As a confirmed lib-dem he has no other option.

Don't forget: contraception is NOT medicine. It doesn't treat a dysfunction (other than relieve some types of heavy bleeding caused by endometriosis). Viagra treats a medical condition.

But please DO remember: the woman that Barney recalls having an abortion chose to have sex out of wedlock despite knowing what it would do if her family found out she was pregnant (the reason Barney says she had an abortion) - and she chose to kill a living human inside her.

While she is happily married the human she killed never had that chance. Welcome to the most selfish, deadly decision women alone (without consent of the man she slept with) get to make.

So let's celebrate! Women power! Yayyyy! They can be just like men - merrily killing living humans at will up to 24 weeks without any consequences of freely having sex. Yippeee!

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2014 at 8:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Roe v Wade did not make abortion legal. It allocated primary rights between the mother and the child based upon trimesters. Primary rights allocated to the mother to kill her child up to 3 months. Mixed rights between mother and child up to 6 months, and more rights accruing to the child after 6 months.
Hobby Lobby does not change Roe vs Wade one iota. Mothers can still kill their child according to the Roe v Wade schedule. All they lose is demanding someone else pays for the exercise of this right to kill ,when killing children is considered a violation of a third party's religious principles. You can live with this.

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2014 at 9:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Brantingham is wrong to characterize opposition to abortion as coming from the "religious right". A vote in 1973 would have shown that the vast majority of Americans understood abortion to be abhorrent, filthy and murderous - a dangerous and desperate dealing with the criminal underworld. It was unthinkable.

There has been a concerted effort to sanitize abortion by medicalizing it, but it was as "medical" before Roe v. Wade as it is now. The abortionists before 1973 were doctors who turned to abortion after losing their medical licenses, their hospital privileges, or malpractice insurance. The "back alley" was really a high rise office building and their clientele desperate enough to pay a high fee and keep quiet. No woman ever went to such a place to save her own life or her sanity and if she had been a victim of incest or rape it was the perpetrator who made the arrangements and paid the fee.

dewdly (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2014 at 12:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

so refreshing to hear the patriarchal male view, thank you dewd and Jarvis. Father knows best, so let's let the men decide issues that deal with women. You know they have color tv's now, right? but we still pump gasoline and spew out exhaust.

spacey (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2014 at 3:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Women decide whether to kill their babies. Men do not. Nothing has changed.. You do know this decision only changed who would pay for four distinct abortion-inducing drugs in very narrowly defined settings. That was all. Partisan factoids for political gain do not change the facts of this case.

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2014 at 5:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)


There are surely more females who judge abortion to be abhorrent than "patriarchal males" but you undoubtedly scoff at them, their experiences, and their concerns. So much for "women's issues" - you embrace the issues and reject women.

dewdly (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2014 at 7:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As with everything dewd, you nailed my character and that of all the women that surround me in life. Must be hard being right all the time with Jarvis. Women kill babies, Men kill everything. Partisan factoids and political gain do not change the facts, oops, shoulda quoted. Deciding that business can have a religious slant and act on it goes against all that history of the usa that the hypocratic like to quote often. You know, 'founding fathers', 'constitution' and 'law'. Supreme, ha! obamacare law of the land... except for this little bit because, you know, corporations have feelings too. >supreme.

spacey (anonymous profile)
July 15, 2014 at 12:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This is your brain on drugs.

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
July 15, 2014 at 2:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Deciding that business can have a religious slant and act on it goes against all that history of the usa"-spacey

Not true.

Having a government with a religious slant and acts on it goes against all that history of the usa.

Businesses cannot (or should not) be able to force anybody to do anything and businesses should be held responsible for their actions.

Government has the legal authority, unfortunately, to force their will on everyone and that is why religion should be kept separate from the state.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
July 15, 2014 at 2:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)


With such a hatred of men ( "men kill everything") it is inconceivable that you or any women like you would ever need an abortifacient drug.

dewdly (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2014 at 3:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

dewd nails it again, well, sort of. What if, in real life, I wasn't a woman? If you don't recognize 'men kill everything' you're a softy for your own half. No hatred, pure truth. But hey, 'women kill babies' too, what does that make Jarvis in your eyes, a women hater? Plenty of those abstaining in robes, all crossed up. Some of those even seek perversion with the young of their own. Let's believe those guys!
Loon, I gotta admit, you're sounding more sane every day. No sarcasm for you.

spacey (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2014 at 12:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I find it interesting to read how someone like Spacey tries to justify killing babies. That is the bottom line Spacey, killing babies.
I wonder how you can live with yourself.

sslocal (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2014 at 12:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think all this talk of "killing babies" and allowing the babies to have the right to choose whether they live or not is a reasonable argument to make and position to hold, but may also be blowing things out of proportion as well.

Not everybody who is pro-choice supports abortion at 8-9 months and many people don't agree that a tiny ball of cells the size of a pin needle is a "baby".

So when does a fetus become a baby? When does the baby become self-aware, or alive with spirit?

Is there any legitimate difference between a first term abortion and pulling a fire alarm at 10pm at a hotel that typically hosts couples on their honey moon? Is the person who pulls the fire alarm taking away the right of the would-be child who was supposed to be born, why draw the line at conception? It's fairly arbitrary.

These are difficult questions that will always be difficult for people to agree on. Making abortion illegal doesn't make it go away, in fact there were plenty of abortion clinics when it was technically illegal. There will always be abortion clinics here in California whether they are legal or not.

Making abortion illegal not only drives women to commit abortions on the black market, which can cause serious harm to the mother, but I think it is also justifiable to fear it could potentially cause a phenomenon of abortion police going around investigating women's uteruses and miscarriages.

For privacy reasons I like to give the rights of the child up to the mother while it is being carried in her body and would do what I could to discourage the very late term abortions either through education or otherwise.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2014 at 1:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Your statement that "Women kill babies. Men kill everything" is just hyperbolic nonsense. Very few women kill babies and no man kills everything. What you meant to do with this silly assertion is compare men negatively to women and delegitimiza male opposition to abortion. However, most of the opposition to abortion comes from women, not men, not priests.

dewdly (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2014 at 3:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What your baby looks like at 8 weeks -after two missed periods.

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2014 at 4:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

From conception to birth - the greatest miracle on the planet. Ladies, do not kill your baby.

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2014 at 4:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Prior to modern science it was believed that "quickening" signaled the beginning of life. English Common Law criminalized abortion any time after quickening. But modern genetics and embryology have shown that a genetically-complete, genetically-unique, self-directed individual is present at the moment the 23 chromosomes of the ovum combine with the 23 chromosomes of the sperm. That small "clump of cells" has immediate effect on the woman's body as it prepares a place to grow and establishes a system for its nourishment. This tiny being has an immediate effect on the woman's base temperature signaling its presence, its genetic completeness, and its ability to direct elements within the woman's body for its own benefit.

That is what science tells us. Being "alive with spirit" could be a figure of speech or a supernatural concept, but neither is scientific. And what is self-awareness? How is it determined? Is a newborn "self-aware"?

We could toss out science and go back to "quickening" but even that would not satisfy the advocates of abortion who insist that a woman should have the right to kill the unborn. But drawing a line at any stage of development is arbitrary and it is only logical that all justifications for killing the unborn apply equally to the newborn and the toddler. I guess we could toss out logic, too.

dewdly (anonymous profile)
July 16, 2014 at 5:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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