Last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision partly satisfied people on both sides of the abortion debate here at the University, but left all parties wanting more. Demie Kurz, co-director of the University's Women's Studies Program, said she was happy that Justices Sandra Day O'Conner, Anthony Kennedy and David Souter reaffirmed the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision in their majority decision. But she cautioned that it was being interpreted differently than originally intended. "While it is gratifying that they reaffirmed Roe, it is their version of Roe," Kurz said. "Roe said women have a fundamental right to abortion. Now there are restrictions." Kurz said the restrictions, which in Pennsylvania include a 24-hour waiting period, access to literature on abortion alternatives and parental consent for teenagers, will pose a burden primarily for young, rural and poor women. She said that University students will not in most cases be affected by the restrictions. But Kurz added that the issue is one of national importance and important in defining women's rights everywhere. Engineering sophomore Kevin Welch, co-president of Penn Coalition for Life, was pleased with the decision overall. "It is definately a start," Welch said of the decision. "I'm glad the decision came before the election, and I think they did as much as they could do." The Supreme Court struck down a provision in the Pennsylvania law which mandated spousal notification prior to an abortion. Welch added that he was glad the issue was back in the forefront and must now be dealt with by presidential candidates. Kurz said that the new "undue burden" standard included in the ruling creates a murky situation because of the way "undue burden" may be interpreted. According to the ruling, a restriction which places a "substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability" is defined as an "undue burden," and will not be permitted by the Supreme Court. Only the spousal notification provision of the Pennsylvania law was considered to pose such a burden.Comments powered by Disqus
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