The Supreme Court Reexamines Roe

by Chris Gast, Right to Life of Michigan, Director of Communication/Education

On May 17, the U.S. Supreme Court took up the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

The case involves Mississippi’s ban on abortion past 15 weeks of pregnancy. The central question of the case is whether a state can ban abortions before the point of viability, which is the ever-shifting point at which a child can survive outside the womb.

Some fear the Supreme Court may uphold Roe v. Wade; a sacrifice to satisfy President Biden and his threats to pack the Supreme Court with political activists. Others say it is likely they will uphold Mississippi’s law, but leave Roe hanging by a thread. The right thing to do—legally and morally—is overturning Roe, and it’s what they should do.

In 1973, the Supreme Court ripped away the issue of abortion from voters, and since then the lives of 60 million unborn children have been taken, their little bodies ripped out of their mother’s wombs in cruel fashion.

Roe v. Wade created a right to abortion out of thin air. The Supreme Court invented a trimester framework in their decision, where states could only regulate abortion in the 2nd trimester, and states could ban abortions in the 3rd trimester—if the bans contained a health exception.

The definition of a health exception was settled the same day as Roe v. Wade in Doe v. Bolton. Health was defined to include “all factors … relevant to the well-being of the patient.” Thus, states could in theory ban abortions in the third trimester, but only if they allowed every reason to count as an exception.

In 1992, the Supreme Court got rid of the trimester framework in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, instead applying an “undue burden” test: any abortion law could not create an “undue burden” on a woman seeking an abortion. The point at which states could ban abortions—while keeping an infinite health exception—was arbitrarily moved to viability.

The Constitution doesn’t mention viability, or trimesters, or anything about abortion. When judges cook up their own laws, they delegitimatize their courts and usurp our democratic process.

Michigan voters had their say in 1972, just weeks before Roe v. Wade. A supermajority of voters decided to keep our state’s abortion ban. Roe v. Wade overturned our election and stole the human rights from an entire class of human beings.

It’s well past time for this judicial tyranny to end.