Dobbs Decision Released, Roe v. Wade Overturned

Dobbs Decision Released, Roe v. Wade Overturned

Dobbs Decision Released, Roe v. Wade Overturned

It happened. It actually happened. Nearly fifty years of constitutionally tortured reasoning has finally been overturned.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was not necessarily supposed to be the case that overturned Roe v. Wade when it first came up. The “heartbeat laws” that pro-life state governments were designed to limit abortion, and begin testing the limits of the law. In Dobbs, the central issue was whether Mississippi’s law limiting abortion to before 15 weeks was constitutional. At least, that was where it started – the Supreme Court was only going to rule on whether there could be any limits on abortion before viability. But then Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch went a step further. Once SCOTUS had agreed to hear the case, she filed a brief and asked for Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood to be re-examined once again, and overturned.

“Roe and Casey are egregiously wrong. The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition,” Mississippi argued. “Roe broke from prior cases, Casey failed to rehabilitate it, and both recognize a right that has no basis in the Constitution.”

Even if there were policy reasons to allow women the right to end pregnancy in 1973, the state argued that times had changed.”

“The march of progress has left Roe and Casey behind,” Mississippi said in the brief. “Those cases maintained that an unwanted pregnancy could doom women to ‘a distressful life and future,’ that abortion is a needed complement to contraception, and that viability marked a sensible point for when state interests in unborn life become compelling.”

At this point, both the pro-abortion side and the pro-life side recognized that Dobbs would indeed be the flashpoint that would either confirm or end Roe. The arguments before the Court last December did not go well for the pro-abortion side. The leak of the Alito draft gave the pro-life movement hope, that we would finally see the end of abortion being legal at the federal level, and the issue returned to the states… if only everyone could hold to the Alito draft.

Today, we learned that despite protests and an assassination attempt, the Court’s majority held.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has allowed the court to rule that Roe v. Wade‘s previous precedent should be overturned, and the issue of abortion returned to the states under the Tenth Amendement.

The decision came in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a challenge to a 2018 Mississippi law that bans virtually all abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. The law carves out exceptions for medical emergencies and cases involving a “severe fetal abnormality” but does not make exceptions for cases involving rape or incest. It never went into effect, however, because the lower courts – including the conservative U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit – blocked the state from enforcing the law. Friday’s decision reversed those rulings and upheld the law.”

Alito began his 79-page opinion by observing that abortion “presents a profound moral issue on which Americans hold sharply conflicting views.” But the Constitution does not refer to abortion at all, Alito stressed, and nothing in the Constitution implicitly protects the right to an abortion.”

Although the Supreme Court’s decisions in Roe and Casey established such a right, Alito continued, those decisions should nonetheless be overruled despite the principle of stare decisis – the idea that courts should not overturn their prior precedent unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Noting that some of the Supreme Court’s other landmark decisions, such as Brown v. Board of Education, rejecting the “separate but equal” doctrine, had overruled precedent, Alito emphasized that Roe was “egregiously wrong and deeply damaging” and – along with Casey – should not be allowed to stand. Instead, Alito concluded, the issue of abortion should “return … to the people’s representatives.”

There is some question as to whether the Court’s decision was 6-3 or 5-4. The wild card, of course, was Chief Justice Roberts. It almost feels like it should be recorded 5-1-3, because while Roberts decided that the Mississippi law was consitutional, he did not want to touch Roe.

Roberts agreed with the decision to uphold the Mississippi law, but he would have done so without formally overruling Roe and Casey. Echoing a position that he took at the oral argument (which then, as now, did not seem to attract any other supporters), Roberts would have allowed states to continue to regulate abortion without regard to whether the fetus has become viable – that is, the point at which it can survive outside the womb. In Casey, the court ruled that states may not ban abortions before the point of viability, which is typically considered to be at 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy.”

The right to terminate a pregnancy, Roberts reasoned, should “extend far enough to ensure a reasonable opportunity to choose, but need not extend any further.” But the court could and should, Roberts wrote, “leave for another day whether to reject any right to an abortion at all.”

“Leave for another day” is Roberts-speak for “let sleeping dogs lie and don’t make the Court make hard decisions.” So conviction, much backbone, such wow. Roberts is SUCH a squish, and it’s clear he wanted the so-called “middle ground” in order to not rock the boat. Fortunately, Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett had the conviction and the backbone.

Today is an amazing day for those of us who believe that ALL life is precious and should be protected. And again, there really are two people to thank for this moment: Senator Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump. Without McConnell, Merrick Garland would be on the court instead of screaming into the wind from the Justice Department. And without Trump, we would not have Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett on the court. It’s debatable whether those three SCOTUS justices or the Abraham Accords will end up being Trump’s greatest legacy.

But today, those who have fought to overturn Roe are taking a moment to rejoice.

Today, life has won.

Featured image: MarkThomas via Pixabay, cropped, Pixabay license

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  • joetote says:

    Oh no! The Court abolished abortion! NOT!

    The court corrected a wrong when they threw it back to the states. The court does not have the right to either enact law or establish new rights.

    As Judge Bork argues in his book Slouching Towards Gomorrah there have been far to many times the court has gone beyond their scope. The Yonkers desegregation busing case, while in many minds, morally correct was and is unconstitutional. The court made new law.

    Yesterday’s decision on gun rights, correct and adhering to the law of the land.

    And now abortion. forget which side you are on with any of these cases. Are the rulings Constitutionally sound? They are not and thus had to be corrected.

    I’m no scholar, but the Constitution is actually quite succinct as to the law of the land. This BS of the Legislature or the Executive branch wanting the courts to enact law has got to stop and this is a good beginning

  • Politically Ambidextrous says:

    Fertilization or conception? There is a difference, and it matters to what “cheap & effective” birth control is permitted. This also affects infertile couples’ treatment options. Each state will have to decide. I’m getting my popcorn ready.

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