What happens next? Life After Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court on Friday issued its decision in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, overturning Roe v. Wade in a 6-3 decision and returning the power to legislate limits on abortion to the states.

Newsroom (26/06/2022 1:15 PM Gaudium Press) Overturning Roe v. Wade represents a seminal victory for the pro-life movement, one for which generations of lawyers, activists, and legislators have fought. What does this overturning mean, and what are the misconceptions about this overturning?

Overturning Roe and Casey does not criminalize abortion. Many social science surveys show that over 65% of the American public mistakenly believes this is the case, inflating support for retaining Roe as a precedent. General ignorance also boosts such support; the same surveys show that more than 60% of the American public cannot identify what Roe v. Wade was about. Some think it had to do with school desegregation!

The Dobbs case merely returns the matter of abortion to the political branches at the state level for resolution through the deliberative democratic process, where some states will impose significant restrictions and others will promote abortion access, depending on the electorate’s views.

Secondly, no modern abortion laws provide for the prosecution of women for seeking an abortion. The recent proposal to prosecute women made by a Louisiana legislator was immediately and roundly criticized by his pro-life lawmaker colleagues, the pro-life governor, and national pro-life leaders. The proposal was withdrawn.

Some media outlets have suggested that women are being prosecuted for miscarriages. This is highly misleading. These cases have involved women who have used illegal drugs, thus negligently causing the deaths of their unborn children that they had not intended to abort. They are, in effect, criminal child neglect cases applied in utero, a much-contested area of the law that exists entirely apart and is unaffected by the laws of abortion. Those cases proceed (or not) no matter what the Court does in Dobbs.

You also hear that women will no longer receive care for ectopic pregnancy and miscarriages. This is also false as a description of the current laws restricting abortion that will take effect once Roe and Casey are overruled. Take, for example, the most recently restrictive laws in Texas, Oklahoma, and Alabama. All of those laws make explicit exceptions for ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage management.

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A law banning abortion does not affect contraception or IVF. Most abortion laws (especially recently) specifically note that they do not restrict contraception. Indeed, it would violate Supreme Court precedent to ban the use of contraceptives. The recent decision goes out of its way to explicitly note that overturning Roe and Casey does not affect precedents involving contraception, same-sex marriage, and interracial marriage.

(Via The Pillar)

Compiled by Raju Hasmukh


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