The Supreme Court on Friday overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion at the federal level.
The ruling returns the power to limit, ban, or allow abortion, to the states.
The court overturned the decision 6-3 by upholding Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban.
Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch (R) had argued that both Roe and 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey were “egregiously wrong” and “hopelessly unworkable.”
Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Chief Justice John Roberts followed through on the decision revealed with last month’s unprecedented leak of the draft opinion.
The ruling itself is obviously profound, but it’s the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that is truly something to behold.
Alito took a sledgehammer to Roe v. Wade in the court’s decision, beginning by dissecting its ruling that, while states have “a legitimate interest in protecting ‘potential life,” this interest was not strong enough to prohibit abortions.
“The Court did not explain the basis for this line, and even abortion supporters have found it hard to defend Roe’s reasoning,” Alito wrote.
He proceeded to obliterate the argument held by pro-abortion leftists that the right to an abortion, to end a life, is something guaranteed by the Constitution.
“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is 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,” he said.
The opinion delivered a fatal blow to Roe v. Wade by stating it “was egregiously wrong from the start,” and that “[i]ts reasoning was exceptionally weak[.]”
As the syllabus of the decision points out, the “rights” resulting from the Roe decision have no basis in American history or law:
Guided by the history and tradition that map the essential components of the Nation’s concept of ordered liberty, the Court finds the Fourteenth Amendment clearly does not protect the right to an abortion. Until the latter part of the 20th century, there was no support in American law for a constitutional right to obtain an abortion. No state constitutional provision had recognized such a right.
In fact, the common law and prior jurisprudence was the exact opposite:
At common law, abortion was criminal in at least some stages of pregnancy and was regarded as unlawful and could have very serious consequences at all stages. American law followed the common law until a wave of statutory restrictions in the 1800s expanded criminal liability for abortions. By the time the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, three-quarters of the States had made abortion a crime at any stage of pregnancy.
Often having been described as falling under the “right to privacy,” Alito writes that defenders of the Roe ruling didn’t even bother to claim any historical precedent for it:
Instead of seriously pressing the argument that the abortion right itself has deep roots, supporters of Roe and Casey contend that the abortion right is an integral part of a broader entrenched right. Roe termed this a right to privacy… and Casey described it as the freedom to make “intimate and personal choices” that are “central to personal dignity and autonomy.”
The decision, over 200 pages, can be read in full here.
Alito’s decision provides the final ruling overturning Roe v. Wade with words that should live in infamy as a truly historic day for the Court.
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.
There is no indication that certain aspects of the decision have been inserted since the unprecedented leak of the draft opinion, but Alito’s words seem to address the leak and insist that the court cannot let public opinion sway their rulings.
“We do not pretend to know how our political system or society will respond to today’s decision overruling Roe and Casey,” Alito writes.
“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 decide this case accordingly.”
Alito, you may recall, was the target of a left-wing intimidation campaign with protesters showing up outside his home, a violation of the law.
If you weren’t certain of how momentous an occasion Alito’s decision is, consider these reactions from prominent Democrats.
Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called it “one of the darkest days our country has ever seen.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent out a fundraising email entitled: “Devastated.”
President Trump, who appointed Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, and Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court during his time as President, celebrated the decision.
“This brings everything back to the states where it has always belonged,” he said.
When asked about his role in the decision, Trump uncharacteristically did not take credit.
“God made the decision,” he said.
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