July/August 2021 Issue
The U.S. Supreme Court is considering Mississippi’s pro-life law prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks. The case is Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Mississippi filed its brief on July 22, and it makes a strong argument for overturning the landmark abortion cases, Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Mississippi argues that, “Under the Constitution, may a State prohibit elective abortions before viability? Yes. Why? Because nothing in constitutional text, structure, history, or tradition supports a right to abortion.”
For nearly 50 years, the U.S. Supreme Court’s pro-abortion decisions in Roe and Casey have embroiled the Judiciary in a contested policy matter that it can never resolve. But the Court is finally revisiting the issue.
It’s an opportunity for the nation’s highest court to address and clarify the scope of the people’s authority, through the States, to address the controversial issue of abortion.
The past several decades show that the courts cannot solve the abortion issue. Roe and Casey walled off too many solutions, shackling the States to facts that are decades out of date and leading to 62+ million lives lost — despite advances in science and society.
Many states, including Kentucky, have passed laws attempting to protect the sacred right to life recognized and guaranteed in our constitutions—including a record 90+ pro-life laws in 2021, alone.
Yet, the Court’s outdated and wrongly decided cases are interfering with the States’ responsibility of protecting the right to life of their citizens.
Roe suggested that the absence of abortion would mean “a distressful life and future” forced upon women by unwanted children. However, numerous laws enacted since addressing pregnancy discrimination, leave time, childcare assistance, and other reforms allow women more options for pursuing both a successful career and a rich family life.
Every state and Washington, D.C. have “safe haven” laws allowing women to safely leave unwanted newborns directly in the care of the state until the baby can be adopted.
The nation’s controversy over abortion can only be resolved when the Court returns abortion policy to the States—where agreement is more common, compromise is often possible, and disagreement can be resolved at the ballot box.
Laws that reasonably further important state interests like protecting unborn life, women’s health, and the medical profession’s integrity should be upheld.
But even if the Court insists on being the authority on the abortion issue, rather than giving it to the States, it should at least revisit the guidepost it uses to determine when a state has an interest in restricting abortion.
Viability erects an arbitrary line that produces arbitrary results. Medical and scientific advances show us that an unborn child has “taken on the human form in all relevant respects” much earlier than previously known, and knowledge has progressed on when the unborn child is sensitive to pain.
This case will put the spotlight on the Court’s justices, especially its three newest members. Will this be the case that pro-life advocates have spent decades daring to hope, pray, and work towards… the one that finally saves the unborn?
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