LETTERS: On abortion laws and RGV animal shelter

U.S. abortion court rulings

Since 1973, the abortion issue in the United States has been very controversial. In the 1973 case Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruled the following:

>> Women have a right to have an abortion within the first trimester.

>> If a state has a compelling interest, it can intervene to protect a woman’s health or life.

>> If a state has a compelling interest, it can intervene to protect the viability or potentially the life of a fetus or unborn child.

In 1976, the Hyde Amendment became law prohibiting using federal funds to pay for abortions, except to save the life of a woman. Later it was extended to cover pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

In 1980, the high court ruled that the federal government would only pay for abortions to protect a woman’s health or life. In 1989, the court ruled a state law constitutional in prohibiting the use of public funds, employees or facilities to encourage and/or counsel a woman to have an abortion, except when her life was in danger.

In 1991, the court ruled in favor of federal government regulations that prohibited family planning funding being used for abortion services. In 1992, the court ruled that a state law could not put any undue burden on a woman’s right to an abortion. It stated:

>> A woman’s doctor had to provide her with certain information at least 24 hours before an abortion.

>> A woman seeking an abortion had to give her informed consent to her doctor.

>> A woman did not need her husband’s consent to get an abortion.

>> Minors must get informed consent from at least one parent or guardian prior to an abortion.

In 2007, the court upheld Congress’ Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which prohibited late-term abortions. Under the 2003 law, any doctor who in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly performs a partial-birth abortion and thereby kills a human fetus shall be fined and/or both imprisoned for up to two years.

In 2016, the court ruled that a state law could not put any undue burden on a woman’s right to an abortion. It ruled:

>> No abortions could be performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

>> Doctors performing abortions did not need admitting privileges with hospitals within 30 miles of abortion clinics.

>> Abortion clinics did not have to be upgraded to the standards of hospital surgical standards.

In 2018, President Donald Trump reluctantly signed a spending bill into law that included a provision giving Planned Parenthood $500 million to fund some of its health services. The pro-choice supporters approved it, while pro-lifers opposed it.

After 45 years, the abortion issue is still very controversial.

Silvestre Moreno Jr., Mercedes

RGV animal shelter deaths

Wake up Rio Grande Valley! How shameful is it that the Valley has an animal shelter that has one of the highest kill rates in the entire United States? How many innocent animals must be euthanized before we demand that our city leaders implement mandatory spay/neuter and trap/ neuter and release for cats? These programs are highly successful when enforced. We need to wake up and get with it.

Tina Lewis, Mission

*EDITOR’S NOTE: This letter is different from what appeared in today’s paper and has been edited to more accurately reflect the letter writer’s original intent.

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