…while at the same time I would like to lament the legal profession’s continuing habit of using barbarous citation practices.

The evidence of benefits that was presented to the Texas legislature and discussed by the Fifth Circuit was weak; in our case it’s nonexistent. The principal witness for the State of Wisconsin, Dr. Thorp, mentioned earlier, testified that the death rate for women who undergo abortions is the same as for other pregnant women. But he could not substantiate that proposition and admitted that both rates are very low. His expert report states that there are “increased risks of death for women electing [abortion] compared to childbirth,” but the studies he cited measured long-term mortality rates rather than death resulting from an abortion, and also failed to control for socioeconomic status, marital status, or a variety of other factors relevant to longevity. See David Reardon & Priscilla Coleman, “Short and Long Term Mortality Rates Associated with First Pregnancy Outcome: Population Register Based Study for Denmark 1980–2004,” 18 Medical Science Monitor PH71, PH75 (2012); Coleman et al., “Reproductive History Patterns and Long-Term Mortality Rates: A Danish, Population-Based Record Linkage Study,” 23 European J. Public Health 569, 569, 573 (2012). In contrast, the plaintiffs’ expert Dr. Laube tendered a more apt study which concluded that the risk of death associated with childbirth is 14 times higher than that associated with abortion. See Elizabeth G. Raymond & David A. Grimes, “The Comparative Safety of Legal Induced Abortion and Childbirth in the United States,” 119 Obstetrics & Gynecology 215 (Feb. 2012)

Emphasis mine, to call out just how much of the paragraph is taken over with inline cites. Who are the legal monsters who came up with this style? Have they never heard of footnotes?

Anyway, the passage is from Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin v. Schmiel. As with all of Posner’s work that I’ve read (and by now I’ve read quite a lot), the arguments are concise, to the point, and at times relentlessly cutting in the most intellectually rigorous style. I would call your attention in particular to his decision in a Wisconsin gay-marriage case, or to his review of Scalia’s judicial philosophy.

I found this latest Posner decision, by the way, when Dahlia Lithwick offhandedly quoted Justice Breyer mentioning Posner, in Lithwick’s hilarious piece on the Supreme Court TRAP-law case. You should be listening to Lithwick’s Amicus podcast.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Katha Pollitt’s book Pro. It convinced me that when I thought I was being judicious and moderate in feeling discomfort about abortion, I was really just unknowingly subscribing to Republican brainwashing.