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美国堕胎问题重返公堂

《经济学人》2016.3.3

堕胎问题的争论或许会阻碍2016年大选,但最高法院应该驳回德州的限制堕胎法案

美国明年总统大选的争议似乎还不够,最高法院也来凑凑热闹,竟决定在2016年对堕胎问题做出20年来最重要的裁决。

此举将为堕胎与反堕胎的论战注入新动力,这场文化道德斗争在美国国家政治舞台上活跃了将近半个世纪,愈演愈烈,至今仍悬而未决。

斗争虽令人遗憾,

但也是必要的。

现在问题的争议点在于德克萨斯州议会通过的一项名为HB2的法案是否符合宪法。

德州政府针对堕胎诊所颁布了大量政策条规,目的就在于整垮它们(目前战绩相当不错)。

最新数据显示,德州的堕胎诊所数量由2012年的41间逐渐减至18间。

如果明年最高法院判定HB2符合宪法条陈,那么诊所的数量将进一步锐减。

其他热衷对堕胎实施法律约束的州将效仿此举。

现在美国已经有四个州全州只有一个堕胎诊所,使得合法终止妊娠这一权利只空于理论,却无实践。

数十年来,绝大多数美国人告诉民意调查者们,在大多数情况下堕胎应该是合法的。

近来,微弱多数人认为20周以后堕胎违法,特殊情况除外。

妊娠中期前堕胎是合法的,不受任何限制的,之后堕胎则有法律约束,这与其他国家在堕胎问题上的折中点是类似的。

英国更开化,规定怀孕24周以后禁止堕胎,除非继续妊娠会危及母亲生命或胎儿很可能会重度残疾。

最高法院本身已赞同怀孕24周后禁止堕胎,因为此时胎儿在子宫外可存活。最高法院的态度正好与近来的民意一致。

要达到该目的,如今最好的办法就是立法。

但这几乎不可能,因为重选择与重生命双方在堕胎问题上的分歧比以往更大。重选择的一方认为堕胎是一种绝对权利,在任何情况下都不能被限制;而重生命的一方则反驳,认为所有的堕胎都是谋杀行为。

走极端这种问题在共和党内最为明显。

目前最有可能赢得共和党总统提名的马克罗・鲁比奥,支持任何承诺能减少堕胎数量的法律,即使那份法案没有排除强奸和乱伦。

在过去的四年里,州议会已实施了231项限制堕胎的规定,比过去十年加起来的都多。

权利法案

使堕胎的安全化、合法化及减少堕胎仍是美国法律追求的目标。

不管德州堕胎法的支持者怎么说,关闭合法的堕胎诊所对堕胎的安全性没有任何帮助。

如果更多地区采用这些限制条例,那么堕胎实际上在很多地方将不合法,而那些危险隐秘的堕胎程序将回归,

堕胎不一定会更少。

不管法律怎么限制,堕胎总会存在。

今年年初,支持HB2的上诉法院指出,想要堕胎的德州人未来可以开车到新墨西哥州进行,这样的论调也承认了法律限制堕胎的有限作用。

相比堕胎的合法性,其他因素对降低堕胎率的作用更为重大。

2002年至2011年间,即一些州出台堕胎限制条令之前,美国的堕胎率下降14%,这主要是因为少女怀孕率降低了。

总的来说,与华盛顿或州议会选举出的数千名政客相较,最高法院那9名未经选举的法官似乎更能理解与反映美国所推崇的文化。正如在裁决同性婚姻问题时他们的做法一般。那是对美国政治活动的控诉,

尽管有点痛苦,却是真的。

不管会引发什么连锁反应,最高法院都应该驳回HB2。

Leaders Abortion in America Back in court

The economist

2016.3.3

http://cncc.bingj.com/cache.aspx?q=Leaders+Abortion+in+America+Back+in+court&d=4893425306635950&mkt=zh-CN&setlang=zh-CN&w=1oUvuyeQzrqxRdY9Fr8u1IeWAutMsHyk

It may poison the 2016 election, but the Supreme Court should strike down Texas's restrictive abortion law.

AS if next year's presidential election were not shaping up to be contentious enough, the Supreme Court has picked 2016 to issue its most consequential ruling on abortion in 20 years.

This will add fresh impetus to a cultural battle that has raged, unresolved, on America's national stage for almost half a century.

That is regrettable.

It is also necessary.

At issue is whether a law passed by the Texas legislature called HB2 is constitutional.

The state has piled regulations on abortion clinics with the aim (so far rather successful) of closing them down.

The number of such clinics in the state has dropped from 41 in 2012 to 18 at the last count.

If the court rules next year that HB2 is constitutional, that number will shrink further.

Other states keen to restrict legal access to abortion would follow suit.

Already there are four that have only one clinic for the whole state, making the legal termination of a pregnancy a right that exists in theory but not in practice.

A clear majority of Americans have, for decades, told pollsters that abortion should be legal in most cases.

More recently, a narrower majority has emerged for outlawing abortion after 20 weeks, with some exceptions.

That position―access to abortion that is legal and unrestricted until late in the second trimester, with some restrictions thereafter―is not unlike the compromise reached in other countries.

In more secular Britain abortion is banned after 24 weeks, with exceptions in cases where to continue the pregnancy would threaten the life of the mother, or where the child is likely to be severely disabled.

he Supreme Court itself has already endorsed limits after 24 weeks, the point at which a fetus is considered to be viable outside the womb, putting it squarely alongside public opinion.

The best way forward would be to pass legislation to this effect.

But there is no chance of that, because the two sides are farther apart than ever, with some pro-choice groups arguing that abortion is an absolute right that cannot be restricted under any circumstances, and their pro-life opponents retorting that all abortions are acts of murder.

The shift to the extremes has been most noticeable among Republicans.

Marco Rubio, who currently looks a good bet to win his party's presidential nomination, is in favour of any law that promises to reduce the number of abortions, even one without exclusions for rape or incest.

In the past four years state legislatures have put in place 231 restrictions on abortions―more than in the whole of the previous decade.

Bill of rights

To make abortion safe, legal and rare remains a good aim for America's laws.

But closing legal abortion clinics does nothing for safety, whatever the proponents of the Texan law claim.

If such restrictions are adopted more widely, abortion will, in practice, become illegal in many places, leading to the return of dangerous, clandestine procedures.

It will not necessarily become rarer.

Whatever the law, abortions will be carried out.

The appeals court which upheld HB2 earlier this year acknowledged as much when it wrote that Texans who wanted an abortion could in future drive to New Mexico.

Factors other than its legality are more important in lowering the abortion rate.

Between 2002 and 2011―just before some states began to pile on restrictions―America's abortion rate dropped by 14%, largely because the rate of teenage pregnancy fell.

That nine unelected justices can do a better job of reflecting what America, in aggregate, favours than thousands of elected politicians in Washington or state capitols―as they did when ruling for gay marriage―is a painful indictment of American politics.

It is nevertheless true.

Despite the reaction it will provoke, the court should strike down HB2.