The Roe decision

Members of the Supreme Court. Seated from left: Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Standing from left: Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, and Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

With all those headlines this week about Roe v. Wade and the Supreme Court, you’d think a decision had been handed down. But no, it was just a hearing of the arguments that, supposedly, will factor into the court’s decision: Should Mississippi be allowed to ban all abortions after 15 weeks? We probably won’t know until next June or July.

It seems, however, that upholding the Mississippi law would necessitate the overturn of Roe v. Wade since Roe specifically forbids abortion bans prior to viability, or about 22-24 weeks.

Quoting from the original text of the Roe v. Wade decision, starting on page 52:

To summarize and to repeat:

  1. A state criminal abortion statute of the current Texas type, that excepts from criminality only a lifesaving procedure on behalf of the mother, without regard to pregnancy stage and without recognition of the other interests involved, is violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
    (a) For the stage prior to approximately the end of the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman’s attending physician.
    (b) For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.
    (c) For the stage subsequent to viability, the State in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the

Given the court’s 6-3 conservative majority, it is with great sadness that I try to prepare myself for the overturn of Roe v. Wade. I’ve written often that I think a woman’s right to an abortion should be unquestioned and unchallenged by anyone. It’s her choice and no one else’s, especially not those driven by their own religious beliefs instead of medical science. (We do, supposedly, still have separation of church and state in the US.) But I see no way to uphold the Mississippi law without abandoning Roe v. Wade.

As a result, each state will be allowed to pass its own law regarding abortion. Not all will prohibit abortion but as many as 26 are poised to do so. Women in those states will have to travel elsewhere to obtain an abortion — and many will not have the means to do so.

Abortion is a medical issue, not a political or religious issue. It’s a very personal, very private decision for each woman and her doctor — and no one else. The right to choose should and currently does belong to every woman — she can choose abortion or pregnancy. Either way, it’s her right to choose. For herself, not for others. And that’s as it should be.

6 thoughts on “The Roe decision

  1. It is just infuriating that we find ourselves in this position. My sister had to travel to DC for an abortion (note the irony that the procedure was legal in DC of all places) and had to be vetted by a psychiatrist before she could obtain one even there.

    But since this is where we find ourselves now, and because DNA technology has evolved in the intervening years, I think we should concentrate not on the legality of abortion but the DNA of the baby. Maybe if we could work toward getting laws enacted to do a DNA analysis on every baby whose parenthood was in question, enough male legislators would recognize their own vulnerability and change their tunes. Two or three years ago a local radically anti-choice legislator had an affair that resulted in a pregnancy, which he did not want his wife and small children to learn about, not to mention his constituents. So he had an email exchange telling his girlfriend that she had to undergo an abortion. She was shocked because of his well-known anti-choice stance and resisted. After the argument, she took the email exchanges to the local media. After enduring lots of protests at his church every Sunday, he resigned.

    1. Yep, it’s easy for all those pro-life people to yell and scream and preach to others about the evils of abortion — until an unwanted pregnancy hits home. Then the shoe’s on the other foot. I’ve mentioned before that the father of an unwanted pregnancy should be held just as responsible as the mother. Any criminal charges should apply to both, because without both there obviously would be no pregnancy. The state, against a woman’s will, should never be allowed to force her to give birth to an unwanted child, any more than it can force her to donate blood, or an organ. The state should never be allowed to hold a woman’s womb hostage in order to obtain yet unwanted another baby. Maybe all those outraged “pro-lifers” should be forced to adopt those unwanted babies they are so concerned about.

      1. Dark money freed by Reagan, and pure, truth-hating dark ignorance unchained by the former liar-in-chief each have big parts in this egregious hypocrisy.

        “Religious freedom” being the “faith based” effort to effect the very opposite: You Will Read My Bible And Live By Its Words As I Understand Them … They give not the slightest shit about the babies after they’re born.

        All the court will accomplish is endangerment of the lives of poor women seeking abortions. Rest assured that the wealthy will retain their choice.

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