Madeline Costa and Tyler Manning
Overturning Roe v Wade
On June 24th, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade with the landmark case, Dobbs v. Jackson. The Conservative wing of the court, including three Justices appointed by President Trump, voted in favor of striking down the case, while all three Democrat Justices voted to uphold it.
This decision was a cause for celebration among the pro-life community, many of whom have dedicated their lives to the sanctity of human life. State Representative Blake Miguez, the Louisiana House Majority Leader, said,
“Today is a huge win for pro-life advocates and Republican legislators who have worked tirelessly to protect innocent life in the womb. God bless America!”
Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, fabricated a Constitutional right to abortion through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states, “...nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without the due process of law;”
Dobbs v. Jackson held that the United States Constitution does not grant any such right to abortion, overruling Roe v. Wade.
This ruling restores the issue of abortion to be decided at the state level.
The abortion argument has been one of the greatest controversies of the past few decades, with some believing that to restrict abortion is to restrict women’s rights, and others asserting that to have an abortion is equal to prematurely ending a human life.
Now, the debate is to be decided once again by individual states, empowering the people to decide for themselves the morality of abortion.
About half of the US is expected to outlaw abortion, with Missouri becoming the first state to do so shortly after the Supreme Court decision was announced.
In Louisiana, a trigger law restricting abortion was enacted in 2006 and was set to take effect immediately in the event that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. This law prohibits all abortions unless the mother is at risk of death or serious injury. However, a Civil District Court Judge from Orleans Parish, Robin Giarrusso, issued a temporary block on this law until a hearing could take place.
Several abortion groups filed suits claiming the law to be overly vague and unconstitutional. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry promised to fight Giarrusso’s ruling, declaring,
"We would remind everyone that the laws that are now in place were enacted by the people through State Constitutional Amendments and the LA Legislature.”
“Suit up,” Landry said to those looking to fight the abortion law, “I would tell you that if you’re in Louisiana, you’re in for a rough fight.” On July 8th, State District Judge Ethel Julien declined to extend the temporary block, clearing the way for Louisiana’s ban on abortion to take effect.
Julien moved the case from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, where she says the case should have been originally filed. There, another Judge, Donald Johnson, set a new block until another hearing scheduled for July 18.
According to Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti, the case will likely go all the way to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
“Abortion clinics may get a chance to open again for a short period of time. But ultimately, I think, because of the issues raised by the vagueness, it’s going to be decided, again, by the legislature clarifying the law,” Raspanti said.
In Louisiana, any attempt to permit abortion will likely be futile given the state’s long history of pro-life legislation.
The reaction to Dobbs v. Jackson was mostly supportive in the state of Louisiana. US House Minority whip Steve Scalise, a representative from Louisiana, said, “This historic ruling for life is a day to celebrate, and after we celebrate this victory, pro-life Americans across the country will continue our work in legislative bodies to encourage a culture that protects life.”
Hannah Poltorak, a junior here at LSU, explained her feelings, saying, “With pro-choice and pro-life, it’s simply not about the mother anymore. This potential child deserves a chance at life and should not suffer because of the mother- and father’s- choice.” Poltorak goes on to point out,
“If you’re not ready to be a parent, don’t have sex irresponsibly. Abortion isn’t Plan B, it’s taking God’s choice into your hands with irresponsible consequences. As a woman, I know that, and I act responsibly.”
Not everyone in Louisiana was pleased with the ruling. A statement from the LSU group Feminists in Action (FIA) reads, “This decision erases years of work put forth by women to make decisions about their own bodies.” According to FIA, the unborn child in the womb is not its own person yet, but a part of the mother’s body.
The statement goes on to say, “It disproportionately affects women of color and puts them in even greater risk.” FIA draws attention to the greater likelihood of women of color to have an abortion, with black Americans comprising 36% of abortions despite making up only about 13% of the population. In fact, in New York City, there are “more black babies killed by abortion than born,” according to CNS News.
FIA’s reference to abortion’s effect on different populations within the US brings about another uncomfortable truth about Roe v. Wade; The decision was heavily driven by eugenics, the immoral theory of “racial improvement.”
As Liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg put it,
“Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”
Ginsburg’s statement suggests that the original driving motivation of the Supreme Court’s decision to grant Constitutional abortion rights was to target those populations who they deemed less valuable to the economy or society.
The ties between abortion and eugenics are undeniable. It doesn’t get much worse than the heinous statements of Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, who wrote,
“It means the release and cultivation of the better elements in our society, and the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extinction, of defective stocks--those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization.”
The Feminists in Action statement goes on to say, “[Dobbs v. Jackson] is not a decision made by the people of the United States or for the people of the United States.” However, the Supreme Court decision reads, “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”
According to the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” The “right” to abortion is not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states. Therefore, according to the Supreme Court, the Constitutional authority to permit or prohibit abortion is reserved to the states.
If the Constitution truly grants the authority to regulate abortion to the states, it may not be the Supreme Court decision that FIA claims neglects the people, but the Constitution itself.
“There is a lot of misinformation going around”, explains The Soapbox digital media director, Claire Neal. “If the opposing arguers put aside their differences and discussed the truths of the situation, it would result in a much less polarizing circumstance.”
Kayleigh Kotter, a rising sophomore attending SELU, shares her opinion about the decision: “My first thought was ‘there is about to be a lot of screaming.’ Whether this decision was right or wrong, people were about to be very, very upset … People screamed when slavery was overturned, they screamed when women’s suffrage came, and they will scream now.”
Kotter puts the entire circumstance into perspective, saying, “Then I wondered what the child born because Roe v. Wade was overturned would think. The ones who would have narrowly escaped death if their abortion appointment had been today. Would they regret living? Somehow, I doubt it.
“But I guess the great thing about being alive is that they’d be able to decide for themselves.”