Obviously, this has nothing to do with my great grandfather, Henry Brown Richardson or his wife, who were happy to have had nine children, and who probably never gave a thought to the subject. Only the fact that this is the most ill -considered, politically partisan decision since the Dred Scott case gives it even the most tenuous connection to my ancestor and his epoch. In short, I admit that this outburst is out of place in this my 'forthcoming book blog', but this is the only blog I have.
Secondly, this is a subject which primarily concerns women, and I am just an old man, unlikely to father any more children, but that didn't stop Justice Kennedy or the other old men on the Court from having their say.
Neither do I have any special medical knowledge other than what I read in the periodicals, but the same is broadly true for Justice Kennedy and his majority colleagues.
What do I read in the periodicals? This for example, from the New York Times:
The Supreme Court decision is shameful and incomprehensible, said the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which issued a statement about the decision. The organization added that the procedure, which it calls intact dilation and extraction, or D and E, “is safest and offers significant benefits for women suffering from certain conditions that make non-intact D & E especially dangerous.”
Or, for more details, especially on how the pro-life people manoeuvred this nonsensical law into effect, see this article, from which I quote:
The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban does not prohibit what most people think it prohibits. It is not a late-abortion law. Apart from a single quoted remark in its “findings” section, which is a kind of declaratory preface, the ban contains no mention at all of third-trimester abortion, or of any gestational point in pregnancy. It criminalizes only by method, outlawing some actions during a pregnancy termination but not others, meaning that as practical legislation—isolated from its mission, that is, and considered solely as a directive on what physicians may and may not do in a procedure room—it makes clear ethical sense only to people who don't spend much time thinking about abortion. Defending the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban in court, as teams of Justice Department lawyers were dispatched this spring and summer  to do, requires arguing to judges that pulling a fetus from a woman's body in dismembered pieces is legal, medically acceptable, and safe; but that pulling a fetus out intact, so that if the woman wishes the fetus can be wrapped in a blanket and handed to her, is appropriately punishable by a fine, or up to two years' imprisonment, or both.Certainly, the skull-crushing and brain-sucking publicized by the pro-life people are gruesome images, but even if the fetus is living, it is a quick and relatively painless death. On the contrary, cutting a living fetus apart in the womb, apparently the most widely used and still legal method, cannot help but cause more pain and suffering to the fetus.
Now, I ask you, does that make any sense? Only if you consider it in relation to the pro-lifers' longer term objective. Now that they have won this peripheral battle, they can use the ground gained as a base for a frontal attack on their main objective, which is Wade vs. Roe.
To be continued, unfortunately.