Terence P. Jeffrey
May 31, 2012
President Barack Obama on Tuesday awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom—which he described as “the highest civilian honor this country can bestow”–on retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote a Supreme Court opinion arguing that a woman was exercising her right to “liberty” when she hired a doctor to kill her child through the procedure known as partial-birth abortion.
“That holding–that the word ‘liberty’ in the Fourteenth Amendment includes a woman’s right to make this difficult and extremely personal decision–makes it impossible for me to understand how a State has any legitimate interest in requiring a doctor to follow any procedure other than the one that he or she reasonably believes will best protect the woman in her exercise of this constitutional liberty,” Justice Stevens wrote in his concurring opinion in Stenberg v. Carhart.
During his time on the court, Stevens joined in two Supreme Court opinions specifically arguing that partial-birth abortion was a constitutional right. The first was the majority opinion in Stenberg, the second was the minority opinion in Gonzales v. Carhart.
“At his vacation home in Florida, he was John from Arlington, better known for his world-class bridge game than his world-changing judicial opinions,” Obama said at a White House ceremony on Tuesday as he awarded Stevens the Medal of Freedom.
This article was posted: Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 3:25 am