Two BYU law professors have joined more than 30 other law professors in urging Congress not to vote on the abortion-rights bill currently under discussion without more hearings.
Brigham Young University law professors Lynn Wardle and Richard Wilkins signed a letter last week asking Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., D-Del., not to put the bill to the vote of Congress without review by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Biden is chairman of that committee.The two Utahns and 31 other law professors told Biden in their letter that the bill raises substantial constitutional questions that were not dealt with in an earlier hearing before the Committee on Labor and Human Resources.
The professors who signed the letter represent differing views on abortion and its legalization but they agree that the bill is dangerous because it sweeps power away from states. If the bill passes, nothing would stop Congress from passing other bills that might also interfere with the states, they said.
The bill, called the Freedom of Choice Act, would guarantee a woman's right to get an abortion in all 50 states even if the U.S. Supreme Court reverses Roe vs. Wade. Critics say the bill goes even farther than the court's 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling in allowing abortion on demand.
The bill is a Democratic initiative strongly opposed by President George Bush. House Speaker Tom Foley, D-Wash., has said "if the Supreme Court revokes the guarantees of choice," Congress will "write it into the law of the United States."
However, Bush has vowed to veto the bill if it passes Congress.
Wardle, Wilkin and other professors agree with critics who say the bill interferes with states' rights. The bill would require all states to make abortion available to all women no matter what their individual courts and legislatures decide.
In a statement last week, Attorney General William P. Barr said the bill "would impose on all 50 states an unprecedented regime of abortion on demand."
Sen Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, strongly opposes the bill. The ranking Republican on the Committee on Labor and Human Resources, Hatch made sure the pro-life voice was heard during 1990 hearings on the bill.
Like Barr, Hatch believes the Freedom of Choice Act deprives state leaders of their right to regulate abortion.