We’ve all heard the uproar following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The justices are “so extreme,” taking away women’s rights, putting “the health and life of women in this country now at risk.” Activists and politicians are flocking to the cameras espousing their support of abortion rights and how wrong it is of Supreme Court justices not to share their opinion.
Except that wasn’t the question that was before the court.
I listened to dozens of politicians react to the decision, with those on the left arguing fervently in favor of abortion. But there is one thing I have yet to hear a single one of them say: “This decision was legally incorrect.”
Instead, their arguments are consistently simply in favor of abortion.
That is an ok opinion to have. I don’t happen to share it, but I respect it.
But whether abortion is right or wrong is completely irrelevant to the Court. They have one job, to interpret what the Constitution has to say about it.
And the Constitution doesn’t have anything to say about it. Furthermore, the Constitution says that anything it doesn’t say anything about belongs to the states.
Prior to 1973, some states decided to restrict abortion. Some did not. One way to look at Roe is that it created a woman’s right to an abortion. But another is that it took away states’ rights to govern this matter.
Read Roe. It seriously has no legal foundation. It declares that abortion can be forbidden in the last trimester, restricted in the middle, but must be unlimited in the first. Where in the world is that found in the Constitution? (“People have this right, but only for 3 months….”)
Rather than limiting his authority to the words of the Constitution, Justice Harry Blackmun made this up out of thin air. If you favor abortion, you may have celebrated that.
But how would you feel if today’s conservative court banned abortion nationwide based on the Constitution’s guarantee of the “unalienable right” of “life” (liberty, and the pursuit of happiness)? You might then agree with me that abortion is none of the Court’s business, not now, not 50 years ago.
In overturning Roe, the Court did not outlaw abortion. They simply restored the states’ right to do so.
Today’s protesters know this, so they avoid the argument. They don’t explain why the Court was wrong on legal grounds. They just argue in favor of abortion.
That is an appropriate debate for us to have, not in front of the Court or their homes (which is illegal), not even in Congress, but in state legislatures. If you are passionately in favor of abortion rights, go to your legislature and tell them so. If you don’t like the decisions they make, elect new representatives. Companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods can provide travel to states that allow abortion as part of their health insurance benefits. And people like me can stop shopping at Dick’s Sporting Goods. That’s how democracy is supposed to work.
If your response is that abortion should be legal, just like the politicians, you’re answering the wrong question.