When I read, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled” I had to catch my breath. The leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court in the Dobbs case was a complete and scathing rejection of Roe v Wade, overturning nearly 50 years of faulty rationale legalizing abortion nationwide. Even as Chief Justice John Roberts has authenticated the draft and launched an investigation into the unprecedented leak, we must be cautious, remembering it is only a draft and the final opinion could look much different.
Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion is well written, thorough, and extensive – almost 100 pages, complete with footnotes. But we have not seen concurring or dissenting opinions, and after an initial draft, there could be significant changes. So, we wait, and we pray.
I hope you will understand if this turns out to be a few more than Five Minutes for Families, considering the momentous topic.
Some key quotes from the opinion:
- “Guided by the history and tradition that map the essential components of our nation’s concept or ordered liberty, we must ask what the Fourteenth Amendment means by the term “liberty.” When we engage in that inquiry in the present case, the clear answer is that the Fourteenth Amendment does not protect the right to an abortion.”
- “We must guard against the natural human tendency to confuse what the Amendment protects with our own ardent views about the liberty that Americans should enjoy. That is why the Court has long been “reluctant” to recognizes rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution.”
- “Until the latter part of the 20th century, there was no support in American law for a constitutional right to obtain an abortion. Zero. None. No state constitutional provision had recognized such right.”
- “We do not pretend to know how our political system or society will respond to today’s decision overruling Roe and Casey. And even if we could foresee what will happen, we would have no authority to let that knowledge influence our decision. We can only do our job, which is to interpret the law, apply longstanding principles of stare decisis, and decided this case accordingly. We therefore hold that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives.”
If this opinion stands, the pro-life movement will kick into overdrive, as our work begins anew in the face of even more intense opposition.
Communication is key as we counter the vitriolic rhetoric coming from pro-abortion activists and politicians. We must answer the radical outrage and hyperbole with calm, common sense, and a loving attitude. We have to educate the public on the truth about Roe, the harms of abortion, as well as convey the vast resources and support available to women facing unplanned pregnancies.
Some of the main points to keep in mind:
- If the Court does overturn Roe, it is NOT a complete nationwide ban on abortion. The ruling will allow the people in each state to debate this issue through their elected representatives – elected representatives rather than unelected judges will set abortion policy based on where consensus is found. That will look different in different states.
- Roe did not simply legalize abortion, it legalized abortion up to the point of birth.
- 76% of Americans support significant limits on abortion and by a 2 to 1 margin the American people prefer they set abortion policy through their elected officials, not unelected judges.
- Under Roe and Casey, the United States is as inhuman as China and North Korea when it comes to abortion policy. Even in progressive Europe, 47 out of 50 countries have limits significant abortion restrictions.
- As our friend (and former CAP intern) Josiah Friedman at Voices for the Voiceless says, abortion is very much a failure of community. Women facing unplanned pregnancies need to know they have a support system and they are not alone. The pro-life movement cares for both the preborn baby and the woman facing an unplanned pregnancy. And we are not unprepared for this moment. We have spent the past 49-years setting up a system of services to ensure that no woman stands alone.
- This is demonstrated by the more than 2,700 pregnancy care centers nationwide that serve millions of people annually – and the nearly 50 centers in Arizona that serve thousands of women and their babies each year. (They provide pregnancy testing, prenatal care, parenting classes, as well as material resources like clothing and food.)
- It is also demonstrated by government and privately funded programs like Maggie’s’ Place, which house and care for pregnant homeless women…
4. Life is a human right. Arizona law requires state laws to be interpreted to value all human life. If Roe is overturned, Arizona will hold the abortionist accountable for violating the law – Arizona punishes the abortionist, not the woman who finds herself in a vulnerable position. No Arizona law punishes the woman seeking or having an abortion.
5. The pro-abortion lobby and some politicians want to impose on the entire country abortion on-demand, even painful late-term abortions, up until the moment of birth, paid for by the taxpayer. They want the filibuster abolished so they can mandate abortion on-demand nationwide. Contrast this with the pro-life movement that embraces letting the people debate and building consensus for pro-life protections.
6. According to the leaked opinion, the Court is taking itself out of the politics of the abortion issue, which is in line with the view of constitutional attorneys on both sides of the issue who have said Roe was wrongly decided and should go back to the states.
As pro-life Arizonans, we all must do our part to change hearts and minds and to ensure this potential historic moment does not give way to Roe-type legislation rammed through state or federal government.
- It is interesting to note that the leaked opinion came the week of the National Day of Prayer.
- Volunteer and financially support local pro-life pregnancy resource centers. Here is a list in Arizona, though it is not exhaustive.
- Engage in the issue. Help people understand the truth about Roe, the harms of abortion, and the hope of a community ready and willing to serve women facing unplanned pregnancies.
- Get involved in both the Arizona primary and general elections. Help get out the vote, volunteer for a campaign, and support pro-life candidates. Register voters. In a mid-term election, turnout is one of the most critical needs.
- And don’t be fooled by false rhetoric from pro-abortion activists…
Pro-abortion activists are crossing the boundaries of truth in an effort to scare the electorate and possibly intimidate Supreme Court justices into changing their votes to uphold Roe. Among the scare tactics being used is the notion that if this opinion stands, it would outlaw contraception or school desegregation. It’s not true. Justice Alito specifically repudiated that by stating, “[T]o ensure that our decision is not misunderstood or mischaracterized, we emphasize that our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right,” Alito’s draft opinion reads. “Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.”
Here are six outrageous claims as fact checked by The Daily Signal.
The leaked opinion has reignited efforts by Democrats in Washington D.C. to codify Roe into federal law. It would take the blowing up of the filibuster to allow the Women’s Health Protection Act to pass on a simple majority. So far, they don’t have the votes to change the filibuster rule, but efforts continue. Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer (D- N.Y.) said the Senate will hold a procedural vote Wednesday.
I had the opportunity to respond to the leaked opinion on several news outlets. I can’t say most of the coverage was fair but speaking in defense of unborn children and their mothers is worth it every single time.
- I was up against two pro-abortion activists here (four if you count the hosts)
- My interview followed two pro-abortion attorneys and a longtime abortion leader here on PBS
- Here, one local reporter offered a fair report
The Court could choose to get the official opinion out quickly or wait until the anticipated end-of -term release, which would be late June/early July. Timing most likely depends on whether the concurring and dissenting opinions are complete. We will be watching very carefully.
- Read here Ed Whalen’s analysis of the leaked opinion from the Ethics & Public Policy Center.
- Read here Breakpoint’s take on the leak and the draft opinion.
- Read here David French’s analysis of the oral arguments in Dobbs supporting the overruling of Roe.
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