We supported Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992). Now that these decisions have been overturned, we support national and/or state legislation establishing the same rights that were embodied in these decisions. We would oppose using that opportunity to either expand or contract abortion rights.
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The Right to Choose
Recognizing that abortion is a truly polarizing issue, we hope to reach a compromise position, and to move this issue off of the national agenda.
The right of adult women to choose to have an abortion in the first and most of the second trimesters was the law of the land based on the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision and subsequent clarification in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. We supported those decisions, as settled law, despite disagreeing with the constitutional theory on which they were based.
Public Funding of Abortions
We do not, however, believe that this right entails an obligation for federal, state, or local governments to subsidize abortion procedures and we oppose efforts to use tax dollars at all levels to subsidize abortions. We support including contraception in the definition of minimally acceptable health care coverage for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in order to reduce the frequency of abortions. We would, in general, support candidates who support legislation similar to Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, oppose public funding of abortions, and support public subsidies for contraception through the ACA.
The Rights of Minors
We also do not believe that the constitutional right to an abortion extends to minors without their parents’ consent. These issues were addressed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and we support the limitations on the rights of minors to an abortion spelled out in that decision. Planned Parenthood v. Casey supported the right of the state of Pennsylvania to require minors to obtain parental consent for an abortion. The Pennsylvania law in question provided a workaround for the court to waive this requirement under certain circumstances.
Late Term Abortions
On the issue of the right to a “late term abortion,” which was also not protected by these Supreme Court decisions, we would oppose legislation at the federal level to either confer or deny the right to a “late term abortion.” In the event that legislation is proposed to restrict late term abortions, at either the state or the federal level, we would support exemptions for the health of the pregnant woman.
Support for Programs Designed to Discourage Abortions
Although we supported Roe v. Wade, which prohibited using the coercive power of the state to ban abortions during the first two trimesters, we recognize the legitimate ethical concerns of those who oppose abortion. Because of this, we believe that governments at all levels should take actions to reduce the incidence of abortion, such as efforts to reduce teenage pregnancy, subsidize prenatal medical care and contraception, and support and facilitate adoption.
Legal Rights for the Fetus
We oppose legislation designed to grant legal rights to the fetus. These laws are problematic from any number of points of view, including their effects on contraception, fertility treatments and the rights provided under Roe v. Wade.