Yes, Dobbs Changes Things Even in California, NY, and other Blue States

July 13, 2022 (Opinion Piece)

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
Publication Date: July 13, 2022

Pro-abortion forces in our nation are scrambling to save their empire after Roe v. Wade and its invented “right to abortion” were taken away by the Dobbs decision.

One of the approaches they are using, of course, is to try to find in their state constitutions the “right to abortion” that the Dobbs decision said is cannot be found in the federal constitution.

Moreover, based on the assertion of that right, pro-abortion groups will continue to challenge in court pro-life laws that are either being re-activated (because they are pre-Roe or are trigger bans) or created anew.

Recently, in Mississippi, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which was the lone abortion clinic in the state and at the heart of the Dobbs case, tried to block in court the state’s trigger law that prohibits just about all abortions. They invoked a 1998 pro-abortion ruling of the Mississippi Supreme Court.

But the judge rejected the clinic’s request.

And the reason is enlightening.

In rejecting the clinic’s request Tuesday, Chancery Judge Debbra K. Halford wrote, “The plain wording of the Mississippi Constitution does not mention abortion.” She added that it is “more than doubtful” that the Mississippi Supreme Court would continue to uphold its 1998 ruling now that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned its own previous abortion rulings.

The state attorney general’s office had argued that the 1998 ruling was rooted in U.S. Supreme Court decisions in 1973 and 1992 that established or protected abortion rights but were overturned on June 24. 

The point is this. By overruling Roe and Casey, the Supreme Court has not only gotten rid of Roe and Casey; it has taken the ground out from under countless pro-abortion decisions that rely on them! It has deprived the pro-abortion side of a whole universe of arguments and presumptions by which it has struck down pro-life laws left and right.

These arguments and presumptions they have relied on have not only kept abortion legal, but they have choked off the most reasonable regulations of abortion, and have also unjustly punished activists who have protested abortion and intervened in various peaceful ways to save lives.

And although the example above deals with Mississippi, the fact is that this pro-abortion legal foundation has been obliterated throughout the nation! Roe and Casey are just as much overruled in California as they are in Mississippi; they are just as null and void in New York as they are in Alabama.

This is a powerful reality that will only gradually dawn on abortion supporters.

And it is a reality that needs to strengthen the confidence of pro-life activists in the bluest of blue states. The ground has shifted nationwide.

Dobbs and its arguments will be persuasive even in state court disputes. Remember, whatever additional arguments the pro-abortion side wants to make about their state laws and constitutions, it is equally true everywhere that no judge in California, no judge in New York, no judge anywhere, can say that there is a federal “right to abortion.”

This also means that no state legislator in California, no state legislator in New York, and no state legislator anywhere, can say that there is a federal “right to abortion.”

Moreover, no candidate for any public office, whether in California, New York, or anywhere else, can campaign on a federal “right to abortion.”

The claim that there is such a right has choked off robust dialogue, debate, and consideration of evidence in courtrooms across the country, including in the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, where the Dobbs case began, because the fact that there was a “constitutional right to abortion” made it irrelevant to the court that there were new advances in science that show the humanity of the unborn child, or new evidence about how harmful abortion is to women, men, families and society.

Even in individual conversations around the dinner table, invoking the “constitutional right to abortion” would end dialogue as soon as it began.

No more.

Now abortion supporters, whether in political campaigns, state legislatures, courts, or ordinary conversation, have to make their case on its merits as to why it’s a good idea to dismember babies.

They can’t hide behind the robes of the Supreme Court Justices anymore.

And that’s true in every state of the Union.

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