Legal experts break down court decision on abortion

FILE - Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, April 23, 2021. Seated from left are Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Standing from left are Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch and Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years — a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court's landmark abortion cases. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool, File)

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade has sparked discussion in the local legal community and what it will mean for women.

Clifford Rieders, for one, addressed the issue from his perspective as a longtime practicing attorney.

“On the face of it, they (Supreme Court) said Mississippi law should stand,” he said. “It apparently does say that Roe v. Wade is without foundation.”

The question remains what it will mean for the future, he added.

For Pennsylvania, abortions are permittted in the first trimester of pregnancy, regulated in the second trimester, and not permitted at all in third trimester.

“One of the more interesting question is if states can prohibit citizens from having abortions in other states that permit it,” he said. “Can they prohibit citizens from obtaining morning after pills by mail or other states?”

Rieders questioned if the Constitution should be a document that the Supreme Court can change, even though amendments have been added numerous times to address various issues when, as he put it, “social norms change.”

Lycoming County Commissioner Rick Mirabito, who formerly practiced law, said one of his concerns is that, despite the overturning of Roe v. Wade, abortions will likely continue to take place but not necessarily under safe medical condtions.

He said it would be shortsighted for many Americans to celebrate the Supreme Court decision without considering all its ramifications, particularly for women who become pregnant.

“I don’t think any woman takes lightly a decision about having an abortion,” he said.

“Are we solving a problem, or are we simply addressing a political issue that has been debated so much in our country?” Mirabito asked.

Giving young people the tools they need to live decent lives and make good decisions can go a long way toward avoiding unwanted pregnancies, he added.


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