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Why was Roe v. Wade overturned? Here’s a look at some of the reasons given

Jonah McKeown By Jonah McKeown for CNA

Demonstrators on both sides of the abortion debate outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., after the court released its decision in Dobbs, June 24, 2022. / Katie Yoder/CNA

Denver Newsroom, Jun 25, 2022 / 11:32 am (CNA).

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 24 issued an opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, returning the question of abortion policy to the states and to the people’s elected representatives.

Why did the Court make this decision? Here are some of the reasons that the justices gave in the majority opinion for overturning Roe:

1. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion.

The opinion points out that abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution, nor, the opinion says, is such a right “implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

2. Abortion is not “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.”

Supreme Court precedent had held that any right not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution must be “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.”

“The right to abortion does not fall within this category,” the court concluded.

3. Abortion is “fundamentally different” than the subjects of related court decisions because it involves the taking of a life.

Abortion is “fundamentally different” from other decisions related to sexual relations, contraception, and marriage, the justices wrote, because it destroys what other court decisions call “fetal life” and what the Mississippi law in question describes as an “unborn human being.”

“None of the other decisions cited by Roe and Casey involved the critical moral question posed by abortion,” the opinion says.

4. Thanks to Roe, women’s voices on abortion have not been heard.

By preventing the people’s elected representatives at the state and local levels from regulating abortion, the court argues that women’s voices — both pro- and anti-abortion — were silenced under Roe.

“Our decision…allows women on both sides of the abortion issue to seek to affect the legislative process by influencing public opinion, lobbying legislators, voting, and running for office,” said the Dobbs decision.

“Women are not without electoral or political power. It is noteworthy that the percentage of women who register to vote and cast ballots is consistently higher than the percentage of men who do so.”

5. States have “legitimate interests” in regulating abortion.

A law regulating abortion, like other health and welfare laws, is entitled to a “strong presumption of validity” if there is “a rational basis on which the legislature could have thought that it would serve legitimate state interests.”

“These legitimate interests include respect for and preservation of prenatal life at all stages of development; the protection of maternal health and safety; the elimination of particularly gruesome or barbaric medical procedures; the preservation of the integrity of the medical profession; the mitigation of fetal pain; and the prevention of discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or disability,” the decision explains.

6. Roe’s reasoning was “exceedingly weak.”

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division,” said Alito’s decision.

7. State consensus on abortion existed before Roe.

The right to abortion was “entirely unknown in American law” until the latter part of the 20th century, said Alito’s decision.

“Indeed, when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, three quarters of the States made abortion a crime at all stages of pregnancy.”

8. The Supreme Court can’t settle the abortion debate, but legislators may.

“It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives,” the decision says.

“This Court’s inability to end debate on the issue should not have been surprising. This Court cannot bring about the permanent resolution of a rancorous national controversy simply by dictating a settlement and telling the people to move on. Whatever influence the Court may have on public attitudes must stem from the strength of our opinions, not an attempt to exercise ‘raw judicial power’.”


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3 Comments

  1. We will simply observe the distribution if not dilution of power as there decision distributes the contentious battlefield among the 50-states with extra-curricular activities to follow. In one sense the decision simply exacerbates the cultural divide as it should between two separate and increasingly mutually exclusive camps the all-too-few minority climbing the narrow stairs, the all too many majority taking on the superhighway. In the name of the Father, Come Lord Jesus.

  2. Those who mourn the overturn of Roe v Wade last week can find allies who can relate with them among those who mourned when Summorum Pontificum was overturned last year.

  3. To fully understand why Roe was overturned one must also understand why it was enacted in the first place:

    And there was a great battle in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought, and his angels. And they prevailed not: neither was their place found any more in heaven. And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world. And he was cast unto the earth: and his angels were thrown down with him. .. Woe to the earth and to the sea, because the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time. … And the dragon was angry against the woman: and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
    — Revelation 12:7-9,12,17

    Roe was yet another assault in the ancient, demonic war against humanity. The one Christ called the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning, through his vicious lies, has taken the lives of billions of innocent children of God worldwide.

    God had tested His angels, honoring their free will like He honors ours. Satan responded with “I will not serve!” Michael immediately responded to that with “Who is like God?” And a great war ensued where the good angels prevailed in Heaven, and the battlefield was moved “unto the earth.”

    The test is the same now as it was then. How should we respond to mere mortals claiming to have the god-like authority to legalize the murder of innocent humanity? Like Michael did: “Who is like God?” and we may legitimately add to that “Certainly not mere mortals!”

    Or we can through our complacency, which is a refusal to engage in the battle, join Satan in his refusal to serve God.

    God in His perfect providence allowed (definitely not willed) Roe to be handed down, letting the people of our times make the same choice He originally presented to the angels.

    Why was Roe finally overturned? Because making war on God and on God’s children is always doomed to failure, although the battle is going to become much more intense for a while. Mercifully, we still have time to make
    a choice.

    Make the right choice. Get engaged in the battle. Serve God. There is none like Him. Since the alternative is eternal fire, it’s a no brainer.

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