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OPINION

Right Should Support Constitution, Not Federal Abortion Legislation

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Then-U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg posed for a picture at the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 5, 2003 in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Jacob Lane By Monday, 06 May 2024 09:55 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

As a Matter of States' Rights, Conservatives Should Champion the 10th Amendment on Abortion

June 24, 2022, is a date that conservatives should mark as a victory.

After decades of activism, marches and campaign promises from GOP administrations to overturn Roe v. Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973), then-President Donald J. Trump delivered.

Thanks to three U.S. Supreme Court justices he appointed, Roe was dumped in the ashbin of history, with the high court's ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organizaiton 597 U.S. 215 (2022).

Dobbs restored the power over abortion laws to the states.

But instead of celebrating this return to state sovereignty, some conservatives are now wanting Congress to impose nationwide restrictions on abortion.

While the hearts of these activists are in the right place, this push for federal intervention could jeopardize the campaigns of GOP candidates up and down the ballot in November.

Consider the electoral rebuke on the issue since the repeal of Roe, with much of the backlash in states considered "solid red."

Less than a year after the Supreme Court’s decision, amendments were rejected in Kentucky, Kansas and Montana that would have imposed further restrictions on existing abortion laws.

To put things in perspective, President Trump won Kentucky by nearly 30 points just two years earlier, and both Kansas and Montana by over 15 points.

Despite President Joe Biden’s approval rating hovering below 50%, which historically translates into a loss of around 40 House seats for the party in power, what was supposed to be a Republican wave in the 2022 midterms turned into a mere splash. When all the votes were counted, Democrats only lost nine seats total, far exceeding expectations.

Abortion, once a peripheral issue for candidates, transformed into one that galvanized voters on both sides of the aisle. Ultimately, the pro abortion-rights camp proved to be more effective in their messaging and better equipped to win elections.

2023 wasn’t much better for the anti-abortion camp.

Voters in Ohio enshrined abortion rights into their state constitution, Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Ky., won reelection on the issue, and Gov. Glenn Youngkin, R-Va., saw his legislature flip to Democrats who made abortion a major issue in their campaigns.

To date, every time the issue has been placed before voters in states, pro abortion-rights policies have emerged victorious.

While these outcomes are considered defeats by many in the ant-abortion camp, conservatives should be celebrating the democratic processes taking place at the state level.

As conservatives, we are believers in limited government. By overturning Roe, the Supreme Court championed the 10th Amendment – and by extension, the Bill of Rights – by empowering states to control their own policies on abortion.

While abortion will likely remain with few restrictions in states like California, New York and Illinois, the procedure is now illegal with certain exceptions in 14 states.

Three additional states have adopted "fetal heartbeat bills," which makes abortion illegal as early as six weeks.

More states are considering similar bans or restrictions, none of which would have been possible prior to the overturn of Roe.

Those in the anti-abortion camp should embrace such empowerment of local government, as such freedom has allowed states like Texas and Florida to experiment with different types of regulation and policies to see what approach works best in their states.

With states already responsible for pivotal issues like death penalty, gun policies and taxation, it seems logical and consistent that abortion should be decided on a state-by-state basis as well.

This is also a textbook example of how America’s Founders intended federalism to operate, with states adopting legislation that fits their constituents needs.

More importantly, such a set-up provides an opportunity for the anti-abortion camp to energize voters at the local level and influence abortion policies in all 50 states.

While the ballot referendum process to date has been a string of victories for pro abortion-rights activists, that could easily end with the adoption of better messaging and more robust grassroots activism from the anti-abortion camp.

A total abortion ban in some states might be unrealistic, but more moderate policies like parental notification laws could certainly gain ground.

Roe is a prime example of judicial activism, having effectively legalized abortion overnight at the expense of state governments.

When Roe became the law of the land in 1973, several states had already legalized abortion, with more poised to follow.

Even former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an icon of women’s rights groups, criticized Roe for putting the brakes on a political process that was organically moving towards legalizing abortion on a state-by-state basis.

To those pushing for federal legislation, it’s important to remember how we arrived at our current situation. It was federal overreach that intensified an already contentious issue.

Let’s not repeat the same mistake. Instead, let’s give the 10th Amendment the respect it deserves – and that our Founders intended.

Jacob Lane is a Republican strategist and school choice activist. He has worked for GOP campaigns at the federal, state and local levels, as well as with various PACs and nonprofits. Read Jacob Lane's Reports — More Here.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


JacobLane
Even former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an icon of women’s rights groups, criticized Roe for putting the brakes on a political process that was organically moving towards legalizing abortion on a state-by-state basis.
dobbs, ginsburg, roe
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2024-55-06
Monday, 06 May 2024 09:55 AM
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