The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is abortion and Roe v. Wade. Tomorrow the U.S. Supreme Court will review abortion law recently signed into law by Texas. The Texas law was described as the “most-restrictive-in-the-nation abortion law” by Robert Barnes. However, he had to admit that highest court in America today is different than the one who legalized abortion in 1973.
Monday’s hastily scheduled hearing opens the most dramatic month for reproductive rights at the Supreme Court in three decades. That was when a surprising majority of Republican-nominated justices did the unexpected and affirmed rather than renounced the right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade in 1973.
Such an outcome this time around – as the court considers the Texas law and, on Dec. 1, a Mississippi ban on abortion after 15 weeks, far earlier than current Supreme Court precedent allows – would be a bitter disappointment for antiabortion activists who feel this is their chance.
“For two generations, the U.S. Supreme Court has tied the hands of states to enact laws protecting unborn children and their mothers,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the antiabortion group Susan B. Anthony List, said of the Texas legislation. “It is time to restore this right to the people and update our laws.”
Abortion-rights supporters, meanwhile, say the court’s action will have immense consequences, beginning with the Texas law, known as S.B. 8.
“The outcome of this case will define the future of our constitutional democracy,” said Sam Spital, director of litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which is supporting abortion providers and a Justice Department lawsuit against Texas.
“Absent the Supreme Court’s intervention, S.B. 8’s model for openly defying precedent set by the highest court in our land will metastasize – and not just with respect to abortion rights,” he said. “Many of our constitutional rights will be in grave danger.”
Barnes continued his declaration that overturning Roe v. Wade would be disastrous for Americans, and he did so without any consideration at all for the innocent babies that are killed through abortion. I agree that such an event would bring substantial changes to America. Removing abortion as a birth-control measure would force people to take responsibility for what they do with their bodies. There is no moral reason for innocent unborn babies to lose their lives for the convenience of adults.
Oriana Gonzalez at Axios sought to determine “What abortion access would look like if Roe v. Wade is overturned.” She wrote that the immediately result of Roe v. Wade being overturned would be abortion becoming immediately “illegal in at least 12 states” with more states to follow quickly.
Gonzalez then sought to answer the question of why the challenges at the Supreme Court are important. “States have been preparing contingency plans for a post-Roe landscape while state Republicans ramped up efforts to get the landmark ruling overturned. And the future of Roe is on the court’s docket.”
Gonzalez explained that the Supreme Court “will hear oral arguments in two cases challenging a Texas law effectively banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.” Abortion providers and the U.S. Department of Justice are challenging the Texas law. The challenges to the Texas law will be followed a month later by a challenge to a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks. Mississippi “is asking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe.”
According to Gonzalez, states are aligned on both sides of the abortion question. Twelve states currently have “trigger laws” in place, meaning that abortion would immediately be illegal in those states if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. The twelve states are Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. Florida, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, and Wyoming could quickly pass similar laws. In addition, Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, and South Carolina have enacted laws banning abortion, but federal courts blocked those laws – which could be quicky revived.
Conservative states are not the only ones passing laws about abortion. “At least 15 states and Washington, D.C., have enacted laws that would automatically keep abortion legal if Roe is overturned.” The fifteen states are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, D.C.
The Texas cases do not directly challenge Roe v. Wade, but the Mississippi case implicate Roe directly. The bottom line is that abortion would become a state issue if Roe were overturned. It would take the federal government out of the abortion issue completely.