Reverse Roe v Wade?

That’s part of the goal of an amicus brief being prepared for the Supreme Court for when it takes up the appeal of the Mississippi case Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization (the case itself concerns whether Mississippi should be able to prohibit abortions after 15 weeks).

A coalition of approximately 22 pro-life groups and several legislators collected signatures from more than 300 lawmakers in 35 states in support of the brief, ranging from Michigan State Representative Steve Carra (R-Three Rivers) to Arkansas State Senator Scott Flippo (R-Bull Shoals).
“We’re hoping to accomplish protecting life within our respective states as best as possible,” [University of Michigan Law School] graduate Jacob Weaver [the lead on the brief] told The Center Square. “Roe v Wade was abundantly unconstitutional. It’s now clear that it’s life in the womb, not potential life.”

Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood Action Fund President, demurs.

Mississippi has said the quiet part out loud. The purpose of its blatantly unconstitutional abortion ban is to have the Supreme Court overrule 50 years of precedent and allow states to ban abortions. This is not what the American people—80% of whom support safe, legal abortion—want, and it would deny essential health care primarily to people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and people with low incomes.

Her first is both correct and a cynically done exaggeration. Mississippi has, indeed, said a quiet part out loud: that States, not the Federal government—including the Judiciary—should be regulating abortion access and abortions. There is no particular move to ban all abortions, though, except in the minds of a very few, and in the fetid imaginations of hysterical pro-abortionists.

Next, the fact that Roe has lasted 50 years only illustrates the duration of the error; that duration in no way legitimizes the error. Indeed, Roe itself reversed 150 years of precedent in which the Federal government, correctly, played no role in the matter.

Then there’s the business of polling. Johnson has chosen not to cite the poll she claims has produced that result. I’ll leave aside the exposure over the last 5 years of the utter reliability of polls generally. But aside from her claim, she’s assuming “80%” are evenly distributed across all States—or assuming the legitimacy of a Federal, one-size-fits-all status of abortion preference, so that “80%” of California or Illinois should be able to dictate to Mississippi or Texas the outcome, even if “80%” of Mississippians or Texans adamantly disagree.

No, with States in control of their own domestic matters, as our Constitution holds, the citizens of each State would be, as they should, the arbiters of their State’s abortion laws. Each State then will take care of its own minority populations—which would tend to better protect the lives of minority babies otherwise vulnerable to being killed in their mothers’ wombs.

Finally come Johnson’s two dog whistles: that abortion is health care and that LGBTQ+ might be denied access to abortions. Regarding the first whistle, there’s nothing particularly healthful for the babies in their being killed in the womb. Regarding the second shrill whistle, only biology, not “identification,” can make it possible for a member of the LGBTQ+ community even to get pregnant, much less decide subsequently to want to abort her baby.

The rest of the goal of the Michigan amicus is to restore, under the 9th Amendment of our Constitution, that right of individual States to regulate access to abortion and to abortion itself.

The power to regulate abortion falls squarely into States’ police powers,” as it did for 150 years pre-Roe.
“We argue this depoliticizes the court and that it returns states to their rightful place in the constitutional scheme,” Weaver told The Center Square in a phone interview.

At worst, the Supreme Court should recognize current, realized medical capability. Roe is essentially a technology-based ruling, setting its abortion threshold to the point at which the baby is viable outside the womb—roughly the start of the third trimester at the time of the Roe ruling. Today’s capability brings that viability far earlier in the pregnancy.

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