In a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court overturned the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade that had legalized abortion throughout the country, by preventing restrictive laws and allowing the establishment of legislation authorizing abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Through this current decision, decided by a majority of 6 judges against 3, the Supreme Court thus put an end to nearly half a century of case-law-authorized abortion across the country.
Reminder on the Roe v. Wade Decision
FSSPX.News has devoted three articles to the history of this famous judgment by the Supreme Court of the United States and to the announcement of the new decision published this Friday, June 24, 2022, on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is certainly no coincidence.
Roe, by overturning a Texas law against the crime of abortion on May 22, 1973, had made abortion legal throughout the United States. In 1992, the Casey judgment amended Roe, making the case law even more permissive.
Last May, the Politico newspaper leaked a draft of a long-awaited case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, revealing the upcoming reversal of abortion case law. This revelation caused a veritable earthquake in the United States and in many countries, leading to a general protest against the abolition of the “right” to abortion.
The Dobbs decision is the most important Supreme Court decision since Roe. It not only overturns the latter, but also Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which had confirmed Roe.
The decision clarifies that “abortion is a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each state from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey had arrogated that authority in themselves,” the notice states. That is why, the judges decided, “we now reverse these decisions and return this authority to the people and their elected representatives.”
The opinion of the Court was written by Justice Samuel Alito. Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett joined in. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a separate, concurring opinion. Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan filed a joint dissent.
The decision neither prohibits nor criminalizes abortion, nor does it recognize the constitutional right to life of the unborn child, but it removes legal barriers, created and strictly enforced by the federal judiciary, which for decades has prevented states from severely restricting or prohibiting the killing of unborn children.
It thus ushers in a new era of abortion policy in the United States, with the battlefield now shifting to the state legislatures. These bodies are now free to discuss and regulate abortion as they see fit.
The decision is a victory for the Catholic Church and the pro-life movement in the United States, which have worked diligently to have Roe overturned since the historic decision of January 19, 1973.
“America was founded on the truth that all men and women are created equal, with God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” said Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles and Bishop William E. Lori of Baltimore in a joint statement.
“This truth was gravely denied by the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized and normalized the killing of innocent human life,” the Bishops continued. “We thank God that the Court overturned this decision. Archbishop Gomez is president of the United States Conference of Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop Lori is chairman of the USCCB Pro-Life Activities Committee.
“The decision is the fruit of the prayers, sacrifices, and advocacy of countless Americans from all walks of life. Over these long years, millions of our fellow citizens have worked to educate and show the injustice of abortion; to offer care and counseling to women, and to work towards alternatives to abortion, including adoption, foster care, and public policies to support families,” the statement continued.
“We share their joy today and we are grateful to them. Their work for the cause of life reflects all that is good about our democracy, and the pro-life movement deserves to be counted among the great movements for social change and civil rights in our nation's history.”
The Decision Is in Line with the Leaked Opinion
The outcome of the Dobbs case was not very surprising, as the final sentence bears a strong resemblance to the draft written by Alito in February and leaked to the press on May 2.
In Roe v. Wade, the Court had ruled that states could not ban abortion before viability, which the Court determined was 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy.
Almost 20 years later, the court upheld Roe in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The 1992 ruling said that while states could regulate pre-viability abortions, they could not apply an “undue burden,” defined by the court as “a substantial obstacle in the way of a woman seeking an abortion of a non-viable fetus.”
Mississippi's gestational age law, the subject of the Dobbs case, directly challenged both rulings because it prohibits abortion after 15 weeks, well before the point of viability.
“Roe was obviously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have inflamed the debate and deepened the division,” the opinion states.
Needless to describe the reactions of joy of the pro-lifers, nor the vituperations of the pro-abortionists shouting against the revocation of the “right” to abortion – a right that never existed, by the way. Joe Biden particularly distinguished himself by claiming that “women's health and lives are in danger.”
Which is an untruth that reveals that the President of the United States either knows nothing about his country's health care system or considers American doctors to be particularly incompetent.
In several states, such as Missouri and South Dakota, laws prohibiting or severely restricting abortion are already in place through “trigger” legislation. These laws, already passed, but which would have been postponed by the jurisprudence put in place by Roe, automatically entered into force as soon as the obstacle was removed. More than half of the country's states are likely to pass restrictive abortion laws.