On December 1, 2021, the Supreme Court began reviewing one of the most controversial judicial decisions in American history – Roe versus Wade. The ruling that effectively invalidated abortion laws passed by every state legislature in the previous 150 years is under consideration as to whether it remains a valid precedent or should be abandoned.
Legal and Constitutional Premise
From a legal standing, Roe has little to commend it. Professor John Hart Ely, who openly favored Roe’s result, called it a “very bad decision…because it is…not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.”
Professor Kermit Roosevelt, who similarly supports recognition of a constitutional right to abortion, writes: “As constitutional argument, Roe is barely coherent. The court pulled its fundamental right to choose more or less from the constitutional ether. It supported that right via a lengthy, but purposeless, cross-cultural history review of abortion restrictions.”
From a public opinion standpoint, the country has never embraced legal abortion through all nine months of pregnancy – which is what Roe allowed.
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization: Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act
The actual case being reviewed this week is Mississippi House Bill 1510, the Gestational Age Act. The Act limits all abortions in the state to fifteen (15) weeks’ gestation, except in cases of medical emergency or severe fetal abnormality. Mississippi targets viability as the key constitutional concept. (This is key to their case!) While often placed at approximately 24 weeks, viability is an inherently subjective standard and depends on many variables. Medical advances have now made the survival of even 22-week-old unborn children possible.
The Act highlights facts about fetal development that were unavailable to the Supreme Court in Roe, including that a 15-week-old unborn child has all major organs, moves all fingers separately, exhibits a preference for right or left-handedness, and is responsive to pain.
The strongest argument for maintaining Roe is court precedent. Of the 233 cases in which the Supreme Court has reversed its own prior precedents, more than 60 percent involved constitutional questions, where Roe is clearly vulnerable. The Court might find it necessary, in the context of a constitutional challenge to such a pre-viability ban, to first determine whether viability, and therefore Roe’s “central principle” itself, remains legitimate.
Nothing has ever killed more people in America – or worldwide – than abortion. It is estimated that over 62 million babies have been killed by abortion since Roe in 1973. (An estimated 20 million black babies — more than the entire black population of 1960 – have been lost to abortion as a result of Planned Parenthood’s target of the black community. 79% of Planned Parenthood abortion facilities are located within walking distance of neighborhoods that have proportionately higher populations of black or Latina women.)
What Happens Next
After hearing oral arguments this week, the Supreme Court will likely not announce its decision in Dobbs until late in its term, which will likely conclude at the end of June. If the constitutional right to abortion is reversed, this decision would restore the states’ authority to regulate or prohibit abortion as they see fit.
Ask God to forgive and cleanse America from the shedding of innocent blood (Numbers 35:33).
Ask Him to give the attorneys arguing for life supernatural wisdom and language.
Ask Him to confuse the thoughts of those arguing for death, to make their logic seem foolish, their arguments illogical and disconnected.
Ask the Holy Spirit to hover over the courtroom, controlling the atmosphere. Bind evil spirits from the room (Matthew 16:19).
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 82:3-4)
Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. (Proverbs 24:11)
*Dutch Sheets: Give Him 15
America . . . it is time for justice and mercy for the unborn.
Great post, as usual, Elaine! Excellent action steps… thanks for a specific direction for my prayers. May justice for the unborn prevail!
Thanks so much for sharing. This is all good info on this very important topic. We pray for the lives of the innocents.
Thank you Elaine. This article is packed with vital information as we stand at the cross roads with one of the most critical decisions our Supreme Court could make. Your action steps are so helpful in how I pray.