Roe v. Dobbs: What Just Happened?

Looking at the Facts

In the culture wars, there are many weapons and many different topics that keep adding to the war and keep dividing this country. No topic is as volatile as abortion; it’s the nuclear bomb of American Culture wars, and on June 24th, 2022, the sitting nine supreme court justices launched their bomb by overturning what many thought was the Mt. Everest of American Constitutional law; Roe v. Wade.

This has led many from the pro-choice side to claim, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has, that the supreme court decision has taken away the women’s right to choose, and has made abortion illegal in America. But did it? Well in some states such as Mississippi and Texas, abortion laws will be restricted, but will they be totally illegal? The answer is no. The Mississippi law for instance restricts abortions to the first 15 weeks, which means that it would still allow most abortions to take place since according to the CDC, 65% of all abortions occur in the first 8 weeks, and 91% of all abortions occur in the first 13 weeks. Now pro-choice advocates have cited that there are other restrictions such as a waiting period that may further restrict abortions.

I’ve also heard the claim that these draconian laws do not include stipulations allowing abortion for rape, incest, or the health of the mother, yet the Mississippi law does allow for those things to take place. It’s this kind of misinformation being spewed by those with powerful voices that add to the confusion and the hatred of those that do not share the same ethical point of view.

Has the decision taken away a ‘Constitutional Right?’ Well, obviously the decision of 6 out of 9 justices say no because the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision has always been questioned as unconstitutional. The 1973 landmark decision was based on the ‘Due Process Clause‘ of the 14th Amendment, section 1, which states, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The court interpreted this portion of the 14th Amendment, which was created during the reconstruction period to pertain to the freeing of slaves, as a women’s right to privacy and choice. In the majority opinion in that 1973 decision, it stated, “This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or … in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether to terminate her pregnancy.” It was this clause that was challenged as unconstitutional.

This was not the first time this ruling was questioned. Ruth Bader-Ginsburgh, who was a liberal, women’s rights, and pro-choice advocate challenged the ruling as a potential harm to the growing pro-choice movement, and said that the ruling wasn’t “really about a women’s choice was is it? It wasn’t women-centered, it was physician-centered.” In spite of her being pro-choice and feeling that abortion was a constitutional right, she felt that the emphasis should have been on equality, and the passing of the equal rights amendment, and not based on a bloated reading of the 14th Amendment, which she said “ventured too far in the change it ordered and presented an incomplete justification for its actions.

Interestingly, Ginsburgh often noted, “that Roe might have harmed the evolution of abortion rights by going too far, too fast.” The recent Supreme Court decision may have similar blowback in the upcoming November election. As a matter of fact it appears to have fueled statements such as this from Ms. Pelosi, “This cruel ruling is outrageous and heart-wrenching.  But make no mistake: the rights of women and all Americans are on the ballot this November.”

So will abortion be illegal in America? The answer is no, but American law will now be closer to much of the European laws that have been far more restrictive than American law has been. According to the decision, the laws will be determined by the states, so some states will be restrictive such as the Mississippi law that restricts abortions to the first 15 weeks and has exceptions clauses such as rape, incest, and the health of the mother. Other states such as California will have very aggressive abortion laws, that won’t be touched by presidential decisions, which have seen a see-saw effect of particular restrictions such as whether or not partial-birth abortions were legal. In states such as California, it will allow them to craft their own law unfettered by federal intervention, for now at least.

So what does this mean for Jesus Culture? Nothing new, the commandments of God are pretty clear, Thou Shall Not Kill! The word for kill there has the idea of murdering or taking the life of an innocent party, not all killing at all times (Such as in War), as many pro-choice advocates like to remind us, and secondly, God’s word is replete with caring for those that can’t care for themselves, those that are being oppressed and unjustly dealt with. This seems like enough for those that say they love Jesus to continue to proclaim Him since all the legislature in the world does not change anyone’s opinions. The law has changed, but what has that changed? While we are called to advocate for the marginalized, we must do so with the grace that God has shown us, armed only with the loving message that Christ gave us while He was on earth. Sure to the chagrin who state otherwise, laws are always about the legislating of morality, but that morality is always based on the shifting sand of who’s in power. When we follow the law of Christ, these laws are irrelevant to us, because, God’s laws don’t change and love and grace become the foundation for our actions. I am anti-murdering innocent people because God got a hold of me, and led me to His rule, not man’s, which will always be an evolving confusion of emotional arguments. So let’s remember, Pro-Choice leaders, are not the enemy, and even if they are, Jesus told us to love them anyway (Matthew 5: 43-47).

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