In just a few months we will celebrate the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that overruled Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) and the fake right to abortion that seven justices invented for the U.S. Constitution.
While the June 24, 2022 decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization gave individual states more power to protect the unborn and their mothers, abortion is still very much a federal issue.
To understand what Dobbs did, we should think horizontally rather than vertically: it’s not so much a transfer from the federal to the state level as it is from the judicial branch to the legislative branch.
Indeed, the courts still have a role. But no longer are they or the rest of us laboring under a supposed "Constitutional right to abortion."
Defining something as a constitutional right, of course, makes it very difficult, if not impossible to limit the exercise of that right.
What Dobbs said was that Roe [and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992)] inappropriately limited the extent to which lawmakers and the citizens they represent were able to protect the unborn, and that nothing in the Constitution warranted such a limitation.
Many states have long been involved in trying to protect the unborn and their mothers by passing laws to limit funding of abortion, protect conscience rights, or reasonably regulate or limit the procedure.
Now, since Dobbs states won’t face any roadblocks beyond their own borders as they enact laws that directly protect unborn babies up to some gestational limit or even throughout the pregnancy.
But Dobbs did not take the ability to do that away from Congress.
In fact, several of the briefs submitted to the high court in this case came from members of Congress who essentially said to the court, "Let us do our job," that is, to legislate.
These briefs, one from 228 members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, constituted the largest number of sitting members of Congress ever to call for the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Even while Roe and Casey were still in place, Congress legislated on abortion and set certain limits that were upheld by the Supreme Court, including the ban on partial-birth abortion.
Moreover, one or another chamber passed multiple anti-abortion bills that did not make it to the President’s desk.
So it wouldn’t make sense, if Congress was able to legislate even under Roe, to think the House and Senate have no role now that Roe is gone.
Dobbs frees the people — and thereby their representatives in Congress — to do even more.
Whatever anti-abortion federal legislation we do or do not initiate, the radical pro-abortion Democrats are certainly pushing their extreme legislation.
They’re not forgetting about Congress; they’ve introduced legislation – and have voted on – a bill that would eliminate any restrictions on abortion whatsoever. On the state or federal level. That position has never been embraced by the American people.
- We also need to look at the nature of the right being protected.
- We would never say that fundamental rights apply only in certain states.
- We don’t let states decide whether there’s going to be freedom of speech.
Freedom of religion can’t be legal in some states and illegal in others.
If that’s true for speech and religion, certainly it is true for life.
You shouldn’t lose the right to life based on your zip code.
There’s a reason that when the Founders listed our unalienable rights in the Declaration, they put life first.
It’s the foundation and necessary condition to exercise all the other rights.
It’s one of those rights over which the majority does not have a veto power, and that’s a key distinction between a pure “majority rules” democracy and what we have, a Constitutional Republic. Certain principles are hard-coded into our system of laws and rights, and life is first among them.
Protecting the right to life on the federal level does not mean we favor big government or an expansion of an already intrusive federal system.
On the contrary, what more offensive intrusion of government can there be than to consider a human life a "non-person" under the law?
Yet, that is exactly what legal abortion does, and why St. John Paul II said legal abortion constitutes "the death of true freedom" and "the disintegration of the state itself"(see: Evangelium Vitae, n.20).
This is no time to run away from the abortion issue, either at the state or federal level.
And the grassroots anti-abortion movement needs to make sure we’ve got the backs of those we elect to fight for the unborn.
The high court has leveled the playing field between the opposing sides. Now that there’s a fair fight, it’s time to fight harder, not to leave the playing field. And what we’re fighting for is the very foundation of all our other battles.
Frank Pavone is one of the most prominent anti-abortion leaders globally. Read Frank Pavone Reports — More Here.
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