The Call to ‘Codify’ Roe Shows How Shaky the Court’s Abortion Decision Is

 

Sacrosanct ideal. Liberty. Fundamental issue of justice.

That’s just a sampling of the words and phrases 2020 Democratic hopefuls used Tuesday night to describe the destruction of 60 million unborn American lives since Roe v. Wade struck down state-level protections in 1973.

As usual, those children and their mothers—many of whom suffer life-long regret—were notably absent from the conversation, cast aside for a mix of tried-and-true talking points and increasingly bizarre policy proposals.

Senator Kamala Harris served as a solid test case. By now, Harris’s pro-abortion bona fides are unimpeachable. While running for Senate, Harris — then California’s Attorney General — defended a state law that would have forced pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise taxpayer-funded abortions. In a case argued by Alliance Defending Freedom, the Supreme Court struck down that law in 2018.

In addition, Harris apparently coordinated with Planned Parenthood to punish undercover investigator David Daleiden for exposing the abortion giant’s complicity in the illegal trafficking of body parts harvested from aborted babies. This put her in prime position to respond to the first question about abortion.

Asked what she would do to strike back at states that protect unborn life — like Ohio, where a court recently blocked a law shielding children diagnosed with Down syndrome from being targeted for abortion — Harris said she would establish an extrajudicial “pre-clearance” process within the executive branch, bypassing the courts altogether and subjecting state laws to the approval of her administration.

Harris went on to assert that no law can tell a man or a woman what to do with their own body — an absurd notion since that’s precisely what laws forbidding everything from jaywalking to assault and murder do — before rounding out her response by maintaining that since “women have been given the responsibility to perpetuate the human species,” abortion is, therefore, a foundational right.

Senator Cory Booker pitched an idea similar to Harris’ “pre-clearance” plan, though with a bit more of an Orwellian flair. With Booker in the Oval Office, the effort to circle the wagons around Roe would fall to his “Office of Reproductive Freedom and Reproductive Rights.” That office, Booker explained, would also be charged with stripping away freedom by forcing US taxpayers to fund abortions “so that we are leading the Planet Earth in defending the global assault we see on women right now.”

It wasn’t until the question fell to Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard that any of the candidates so much as hinted that they would agree to any law protecting life in the womb. Gabbard recommended limiting abortion to the first two trimesters of pregnancy, urging a return to the old party line of “safe, legal, and rare.”

But even in doing so, Gabbard sided with many of her opponents on the need to, as they put it, “codify” Roe — a ruling that makes America one of only four countries, along with Canada, North Korea, and China, to allow abortion on-demand up to the very moment of birth.

Roe is far more extreme than most people realize. As shocked as most Americans were this January when New York passed its so-called “Reproductive Health Act” — which decriminalizes abortion until birth — or when they learn that Congress refuses to protect newly born babies who survive abortion attempts, they should realize that all of this fits with what Roe already allows. Together with its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, Roe puts women and unborn children in the crosshairs of abortion for all nine months of pregnancy.

Even legal scholars like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who support abortion agree that Roe was poorly decided. Decided by seven men, Roe was a purely political decision with no basis in the Constitution, American law, or even the factual record of the case itself.

While foreclosing on the chance for the American people to decide the issue themselves in their own states, Roe betrayed women by establishing a de facto response to an unexpected pregnancy. Rather than turning to families, communities, and nonprofit organizations like pregnancy centers — which save lives every day — generations of women have been preyed upon by an industry that feeds on the fact that many women resort to abortion because they feel it is their only choice.

A call by any government official or candidate to “codify” Roe underscores the fact that it is not settled law. It’s a bad decision that needs to be overturned. Sixty million American lives have been lost since Roe. This devastating loss of innocent life results from refusing to recognize the dignity and worth of every human person.

Our laws should protect all innocent human lives — mothers and unborn children alike. If that’s not a “sacrosanct ideal,” or a “foundational issue of justice,” perhaps we need to reconsider what is. And fast.

Published in Law, Politics
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  1. Sweezle Member
    Sweezle
    @Sweezle

    I never understood why Democrats never codified Roe v. Wade. Justice Ginsburg has told them it was a bad SCOTUS decision for decades and she supports abortion. But she also repeatedly says it was bad law.

    It must be a great campaign tool is all I can figure. 

    • #1
  2. Jay Hobbs Contributor
    Jay Hobbs
    @Jay Hobbs

    Sweezle (View Comment):

    I never understood why Democrats never codified Roe v. Wade. Justice Ginsburg has told them it was a bad SCOTUS decision for decades and she supports abortion. But she also repeatedly says it was bad law.

    It must be a great campaign tool is all I can figure.

    Hard to get re-elected when voters catch a whiff of just how extreme Roe really is. That’s my take on it, at least.

    • #2
  3. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    Abortion is their religion.  Or part of it, anyway.

    • #3
  4. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Sweezle (View Comment):
    Justice Ginsburg has told them it was a bad SCOTUS decision for decades and she supports abortion. But she also repeatedly says it was bad law.

    A moment of honesty.  I wonder how many leftists are screaming, “Shut up, Ruth!” . . .

    • #4
  5. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Jay Hobbs: Even legal scholars like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who support abortion agree that Roe was poorly decided. Decided by seven men, Roe was a purely political decision with no basis in the Constitution, American law, or even the factual record of the case itself.

    Abortion is an issue for the states, wrongfully taken away from them in 1973.  There will always be states with loose abortion laws, and there will be organizations like Planned Parenthood who will buy bus and plane tickets for women to travel to places where they can get abortions.

    The fear on the left is when abortion is tackled by the states (which it has recently), the states come up with restrictions they don’t like.  Fetal heartbeat and viability bills attempt to use science to provide humane limits, which oddly enough makes the Science! crowd poopoo its use.

    • #5
  6. Ralphie Inactive
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    Jay Hobbs: generations of women have been preyed upon by an industry that feeds on the fact that many women resort to abortion because they feel it is their only choice

    That is key to my understanding of the advocation of abortion as a freedom for women to make privately with their doctor. I think it sounds good, but is not really what is going on. I would propose that many, if not most abortions are done because the woman believes that others want her to do that (a boyfriend, parent) and if she lacks support, makes it even more predominate in the decision.  It is not a decision that is made in a vacuum.  

     

    • #6
  7. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Jay Hobbs: generations of women have been preyed upon by an industry that feeds on the fact that many women resort to abortion because they feel it is their only choice.

    Really great way to put it.

    • #7
  8. Jay Hobbs Contributor
    Jay Hobbs
    @Jay Hobbs

    Ralphie (View Comment):

    Jay Hobbs: generations of women have been preyed upon by an industry that feeds on the fact that many women resort to abortion because they feel it is their only choice

    That is key to my understanding of the advocation of abortion as a freedom for women to make privately with their doctor. I think it sounds good, but is not really what is going on. I would propose that many, if not most abortions are done because the woman believes that others want her to do that (a boyfriend, parent) and if she lacks support, makes it even more predominate in the decision. It is not a decision that is made in a vacuum.

     

    Well said. Every woman needs to know she’s not alone during an unexpected pregnancy. If she knows she’s truly supported (not in a boyfriend’s “I’ll support whatever decision you make” abdication), it takes the pressure of the moment off and allows her to enter motherhood with confidence. 

    • #8
  9. Bill Nelson Inactive
    Bill Nelson
    @BillNelson

    I don’t expect the Supreme court to overturn Roe v Wade in the near future. this will require a strong conservative majority who are willing to revisit a case which has been much litigated (and not just based on the stari decisis idea-bad decisions have been overturned, e.g. Dred Scott).

    I would expect that the court may, little by little, turn this back to the states where it belongs…unless the court decides that the unborn have rights. But that would be a seismic shift not usually undertaken by the court.

     

    • #9
  10. Sweezle Member
    Sweezle
    @Sweezle

    Jay Hobbs (View Comment):

    Sweezle (View Comment):

    I never understood why Democrats never codified Roe v. Wade. Justice Ginsburg has told them it was a bad SCOTUS decision for decades and she supports abortion. But she also repeatedly says it was bad law.

    It must be a great campaign tool is all I can figure.

    Hard to get re-elected when voters catch a whiff of just how extreme Roe really is. That’s my take on it, at least.

    You may be right. But most of the energy around abortion by those who support it is about freedom of choice and a woman having rights over her own body.

    Democrats have controlled liberal districts, the House, Senate and Presidency more than once in the past few decades. The grimy details of Roe are never part of the national discussion. Or local discussions. It’s always about the emotional & legal right to choose. 

    • #10
  11. Jay Hobbs Contributor
    Jay Hobbs
    @Jay Hobbs

    Sweezle (View Comment):

    Jay Hobbs (View Comment):

    Sweezle (View Comment):

    I never understood why Democrats never codified Roe v. Wade. Justice Ginsburg has told them it was a bad SCOTUS decision for decades and she supports abortion. But she also repeatedly says it was bad law.

    It must be a great campaign tool is all I can figure.

    Hard to get re-elected when voters catch a whiff of just how extreme Roe really is. That’s my take on it, at least.

    You may be right. But most of the energy around abortion by those who support it is about freedom of choice and a woman having rights over her own body.

    Democrats have controlled liberal districts, the House, Senate and Presidency more than once in the past few decades. The grimy details of Roe are never part of the national discussion. Or local discussions. It’s always about the emotional & legal right to choose.

    I completely agree. Very few people you talk to about abortion realize how radical Roe is. It’s not the whole conversation we need to have – offering women real choice through pregnancy centers, churches and the like is indispensable, for instance – but as long as it’s as vague as “choice” and “reproductive freedom,” we’re simply not having a conversation at all. 

    • #11
  12. Jay Hobbs Contributor
    Jay Hobbs
    @Jay Hobbs

    Bill Nelson (View Comment):

    I don’t expect the Supreme court to overturn Roe v Wade in the near future. this will require a strong conservative majority who are willing to revisit a case which has been much litigated (and not just based on the stari decisis idea-bad decisions have been overturned, e.g. Dred Scott).

    I would expect that the court may, little by little, turn this back to the states where it belongs…unless the court decides that the unborn have rights. But that would be a seismic shift not usually undertaken by the court.

     

    I’m sure you’re right. Stranger things have happened, but it took the Civil War and two amendments to roll back Dred Scott. Little by little is far from the ideal, but then again, neither is anything else in real life :)

    • #12
  13. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I’m not sure what they mean by “codify” when applied to the Roe decision.

    To my knowledge, the federal executive does not have any authority to oppose a state law restricting abortion, either by some “pre-clearance” or otherwise.

    It would be possible for Congress to pass a national law governing abortion, including a provision that the federal law pre-empts any contrary state law.  There would be a question about Congressional authority to do so, which would probably be based on a Commerce Clause argument.  I do not expect this to be a problem, as existing federal laws on abortion (such as the partial-birth abortion ban) were not invalidated on this basis.

    • #13
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