This past Friday, June 24, the Supreme Court of the United States voted 5-4 to overrule the most contentious ruling in the modern history of our nation, Roe v. Wade, the legalization of abortion.
The tone and setting of the ruling from Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is best summed up by Justice Alito in his majority decision:
“For the first 185 years after the adoption of the Constitution, each State was permitted to address this issue in accordance with the views of its citizens. Then, in 1973, this Court decided Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113. Even though the Constitution makes no mention of abortion, the Court held that it confers a broad right to obtain one. It did not claim that American law or the common law had ever recognized such a right, and its survey of history ranged from the constitutionally irrelevant (e.g., its discussion of abortion in antiquity) to the plainly incorrect (e.g., its assertion that abortion was probably never a crime under the common law). After cataloging a wealth of other information having no bearing on the meaning of the Constitution, the opinion concluded with a numbered set of rules much like those that might be found in a statute enacted by a legislature…As Justice Byron White aptly put it in his dissent, the decision represented the “exercise of raw judicial power,” 410 U. S., at 222, and it sparked a national controversy that has embittered our political culture for a half century…We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.” (pp. 2~4)
What is the significance of this decision? What has really happened through the overturning of Roe v. Wade?
The Significance of this Decision
1) Constitutionally, a culture of life has been reaffirmed.
In the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, we read, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (all human beings) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
The Declaration of Independence drafted in 1776, and the Constitution drafted in 1787 alongside the Bill of Rights in 1789, are all based on “Natural Law,” that all people have certain rights that governments are created to protect. The founders believed that natural rights are unalienable, meaning they cannot be surrendered to government under any circumstances.
Though different in purpose, to most Americans who love our nation, the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights are fused together to represent the best of our nation—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for ALL human beings.
It took the Civil War, which President Lincoln declared in the Gettysburg Address, “a new birth of freedom,” to vindicate the Declaration’s famous promise that all men are created equal. It just might be that Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will vindicate that all human beings, even in the womb, have unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
2) Politically, the fight moves from the federal level to the state level.
This removes the protection of legal abortion on the federal level, but does not end abortion. Each state will have to decide what they will do about abortion. The purpose of the Supreme Court has never been to enact laws but rather to interpret the Constitution. State governments make laws for their state. This was always the vision of our founders.
Some states had trigger laws in place that would immediately ban abortion once Roe was overturned; others guarantee the right to an abortion via laws or constitutional amendments. As of this writing, Kentucky, Louisiana, and South Dakota had such trigger laws; and it is now illegal to get an abortion. There are at least 13 other states that may soon outlaw or put restrictions on abortions.
The real battle for human life will now be waged locally; the place it was 50 years ago and should be. Each state will have to make up its mind what it believes about the legality of abortion.
3) Spiritually, America is rebuilding the truth that God is the Creator of all people.
Our 45th President, Donald Trump, who appointed three of the five justices in the pro-life majority, said of Friday’s decision, “God made the decision.”
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins reiterated the gravity of the moment, “While we are grateful that the tyranny of Roe has ended, we are mindful of the solemnity of this moment. What the Court has done is an act of repentance out of which we bring forth the fruit of repentance, rebuilding a culture of life in America.”
We rejoice that this decision will provide millions of babies the opportunity to be born and live. For a new birth of life of whom the dreams and plans of God will now be experienced, we celebrate.
A Moment of Reflection
This decision is also a reflective moment. For the over 70 million babies who have been killed through abortion we pause, we pray, we repent. Their lives have been forever lost to us on this earth.
For the millions of women who carry the deep wounds of having had an abortion, and the men who were a part of the abortion, we look with compassion. We must invite them into the healing process. As Christians and as the Church, we must welcome them in and love them back to wholeness.