Calling the Dobbs case, which on Friday overruled both Roe and Casey, an act of repentance is no exaggeration.
Repentance, as we know, is a change of the mind, from when we thought something was right to realizing it was wrong, and then bringing our actions into line with the new realization.
The Dobbs decision states, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.”
Justice Kavanaugh’s concurring opinion says it this way: “The Roe Court took sides on a consequential moral and policy issue that this Court had no constitutional authority to decide. By taking sides, the Roe Court distorted the Na¬tion’s understanding of this Court’s proper role in the Amer¬ican constitutional system and thereby damaged the Court as an institution.”
The Court, moreover, explains that its normal practice is to defer to the judgment of legislators. On matters of abortion, however, it has been replacing and second-guessing those judgments. Thanks to the Dobbs case, it will no longer do so.
The significance of this about-face cannot be exaggerated. Please note: The Dobbs case does not take a policy position on abortion. Rather, it takes away the obstacle that has been in the way of pro-life policy made by legislatures.
So many laws have been passed protecting the unborn and their moms, only to be blocked by the Courts because of the Roe v. Wade “dogma” that abortion was a constitutional right. That “dogma” has now been thrown out the window. The Court is saying that there is no Constitutional reason to block a state from protecting the unborn, or from passing any kind of law regarding abortion as long as it reasonably pursues a legitimate state interest.
And protecting the unborn is such a state interest, as is protecting maternal health, protecting the integrity of the medical profession, protecting babies from pain, and much more.
The door is wide open for us to craft and enact pro-life laws of all kinds, without worrying about an automatic roadblock from the Courts. In Dobbs, the Court says it will get out of the way.
The states that have trigger laws are, in these very days, activating those laws to go into effect.
And states that have pro-life laws currently in litigation in other federal courts can now ask the court to lift the injunctions, in the light of Dobbs, and let the laws stand.
One of the key things to keep an eye on in these days is enforcement. As I pointed out in a recent op-ed, some pro-abortion public officials will refuse to enforce pro-life laws. But whether they agree with the law or not, they need to do their job. If they can’t, then they should simply resign, rather than hijack the will of the people. And the people, through their legislatures, should hold these pro-abortion officials accountable if they fail to do their jobs.