Difficult to Answer the Following Term Paper

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I would not suggest that Mary Lou plea-bargain to any offense.

II. First, I would suggest that all she did was buy gasoline, which is not illegal, and that she was not aware of Bubba's plans to use it to burn down the houses. If the evidence demonstrated that Mary Lou was aware of Bubba's plans to use the gasoline to burn down the house when she purchased it, I would explore the use of the Battered Women's Syndrome. Using that, I would suggest that if Mary Lou purchased gasoline knowing that Bubba intended to use it to commit an arson, that she did so because she feared the consequences of telling Bubba "no." I would show Bubba's history of domestic violence with a prior spouse, his long string of marriages, and present any evidence suggesting that Mary Lou was a battered woman.

Roe v. Wade

From a constitutional perspective, Roe v. Wade should not be overturned. Roe v. Wade was only one of several cases that helped delineate the constitutionality of restrictions on birth control; all of the non-abortion related cases have became an intricate part of the privacy and autonomy that Americans expect to have protected by the Constitution. These rights protected the autonomy of individuals and failed to recognize human life prior to viability. Roe v. Wade contained a built-in protection to acknowledge the changing scientific possibility of viability, but these scientific changes have already been recognized in post Roe v. Wade cases that have limited Roe's scope. Overturning Roe v. Wade would not be akin to Brown v. Board of Education overturning Plessy v. Ferguson; there has been no dramatic shift in American sensibilities since the original Roe v. Wade decision. Moreover, the Plessy v. Ferguson decision was based an assumption that could be factually proven incorrect: that separate facilities could be equal. When the factual inequality of the separate facilities was demonstrated, the decision became impossible to defend. However, the Roe decision itself rovides an opportunity for changing laws as facts change; the Roe decision makes it clear that if viability ever coincides with conception, a state would be permitted to completely outlaw abortion. In fact, under Roe, laws that absolutely restrict abortions after approximately 20 weeks would probably be held constitutional, because scientific advances have made 20 weeks a plausible viable term.

The reality is that science is not at the point where any post-conception fetus or embryo is viable outside of the mother's body. Therefore, in order to place any restrictions on abortion, the Court would have to determine that the rights of a non-viable human-being take are more substantial than the rights of a living person; there is no precedent for that anywhere in the constitutional law. To do otherwise, would invite lawmakers to interfere with access to birth control, as well as abortions, and that would clearly invade privacy rights.

It would be unfortunate, socially and politically, if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade. Currently, abortion is an option exercised primarily by those in the middle and upper-classes. Those in the lower classes, especially the impoverished, are unlikely to be able to afford access to abortion providers. Those who can afford abortion as an option are unlikely to be daunted by laws restricting abortions; they could seek abortions in other countries or from black-market providers. This disparity would deepen the existing class divide and help continue the cycle of poverty. In addition, even if most abortions are illegalized, it is highly unlikely that the laws will not contain provisions for abortions when a mother's health is in danger or in cases of rape or incest. Middle and upper class women are more likely than lower class women to have established relationships with their gynecological service providers, so they are more likely to have a doctor willing to perform an abortion for medical reasons, where those reasons do not actually exist. Rape and incest provisions could lead women to falsely report sexual assaults when faced with an unwanted pregnancy. Moreover, when one looks at the history of anti-abortion legislation in this country and abroad, it is clear that abortion restrictions tend to clump with other restrictions on women's activities. Once the law reduces a woman's role to that of incubator and womb, it becomes increasingly easy to deny a woman's rights in other arenas; and most of those laws take on a protectionist, rather than hateful, tone and manner. The fact is that the past ten years have seen a significant decline in the percentage of pregnancies ending in abortions. The early 1990s showed about 30% of all pregnancies ending in abortions, while the current rate is down to about 20%. That is a difference that is staggering and was accomplished through changing social…[continue]

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