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Response to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization exposes deep fissures in pro-abortion camp

by | Dec 9, 2021

By Dave Andrusko

I could choose from many, but here are two examples of the pro-abortion movement eating its own. “Unapologetic Support for Abortion Rights Must Be a Pillar of the Left” and “The Mainstream Abortion Rights Movement Needs a Complete Rethinking of Strategy.”

There are nuances, different emphases, and slightly less apocalyptic language, but the common denominators have something very interesting to say about the state of the “abortion rights movement.”

For example, judging by the oral arguments in Dobbs, “Roe v. Wade is on life support” to quote an angry Molly Toth. National Right to Life’s reading is, according to our general counsel James Bopp, Jr, that 

“The Supreme Court oral arguments  were very encouraging. It is apparent from the questions that a majority of the Court is seriously considering at least rejecting the viability line that currently prohibits prohibitions on abortion prior to viability. However, the key question seems to be how far the Court is willing to go, either a decision that just rejects the viability line, permitting states to argue that prohibitions on abortion prior to viability are justified by sufficiently compelling state interests or if they will issue a broader decision which explicitly either totally or partially overrules Roe and/or Casey. There appears to be several Justices whose questions seemed to favor one path or the other, who would constitute a majority.”

With that grim prognosis (from the pro-abortion perspective), it is stated as if it were an undeniable fact that  had there been “no compromise” on abortion, “The statehouses [wouldn’t be] on fire. The Supreme Court, [wouldn’t be] stacked with ideologues bent on curbing abortion rights and fulfilling an unspoken promise to end Roe.”

That is a radical misunderstanding of the past 50 years. The Right to Life Movement has moved, step by step, both to pass commonsense laws and to present the Supreme Court with evidence the times have passed by Roe and Casey.

To say that pro-abortionists haven’t pushed legislation hard enough is to do Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer a grave disservice. They have offered—and continue to offer—legislation that is out of whack with public opinion. It is farcical to think an even more aggressive position would have won them more victories.

Toth argues, “Abortion rights should be value neutral. One shouldn’t need to prove their worthiness or morality to have full and unfettered access to a right.” She may believe this, but the public is much more pro-life than Toth would admit. If you read the latest polls, there is majority support for the Mississippi law at issue in Dobbs and the largest support for reversing Roe –46%–in memory, perhaps ever!

In “Unapologetic Support for Abortion Rights Must Be a Pillar of the Left,” Emily JanakiramCamila Valle, Christine Pardue & Hennessy Garcia bemoan that “Roe itself, does not specifically guarantee abortion as a right, but defends a right to privacy.’”  Well, yes. 

Justice Blackmun adopted this obfuscation because abortion isn’t found anywhere in the history or text or tradition of the Constitution. In the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey case, the Court retained the “essential holding” of Roe but satisfied only themselves.

As Prof. Carter Snead and Richard Garnett wrote in their amicus brief, “By the narrowest of margins, this court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey refused to overrule Roe — not because it thought Roe was correct, but because it thought Roe must endure as a matter of stare decisis. But 30 years later it has become clear that Casey, too, was egregiously wrong, for each one of the stare decisis factors cited by Casey itself supports Roe’s repudiation.”

Finally, Janakiram, Valle, Pardue & Garcia are desperate to wed abortion to a larger constellation of issues, the better (they believe) to protect it from attack and attract new allies. Not “Until the left takes up the fight for abortion as essential for the freedom and dignity of working people everywhere, basic bodily autonomy will  remain a privilege of the rich and white,” they write. The left will also “miss a profound opportunity to wage a truly multiracial and liberatory fight.”

The single issue pro-life movement has long understood the importance of staying rooted in abortion. We welcome the support of others multi-issue groups but never take our eyes off the prize: returning legal protection to unborn children.

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