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The “incalculable” impact of Dobbs

by | Jun 22, 2023

By Dave Andrusko

No pro-lifer would ever underestimate the massive impact the overthrow of Roe v. Wade has meant to American culture. Dobbs made what many thought was perhaps years away a reality. At last, on June 24, 2022, the reign of error and terror unleashed on January 22, 1973 was ended.

But USA Today’s John Fritze goes even further: “’Incalculable’ impact: Three ways the Supreme Court abortion decision changed the USA.” Let’s see what fruit this analysis yields.

#1. An increase in support for abortion. Yes, but…We’ve looked at the numbers in several posts. John McCormack accurately summarized the situation.

Americans are less supportive of a right to abortion now than they were after the Dobbs leak, in May 2022, but more supportive than they had been in the years leading up to Dobbs

Gallup’s Lydia Saad wrote, “Specifically, close to half of Americans, 47%, now say abortion should be legal in all (34%) or most (13%) circumstances, while a similar proportion, 49%, want it legal in only a few (36%) or illegal in all (13%) circumstances.”

What were the numbers a year ago in the post-Dobbs frenzy?  Gallup found that 53% said abortion should be legal in all (35%) or most (18%) circumstances while 45% said it should be legal in few (32%) or no (13%) circumstances.

So on this benchmark question this year’s results showed a net gain of about 4% for the pro-life side. That is important to remember.

#2. “In the days before the Supreme Court decision on June 24 last year, virtually every state allowed people to obtain an abortion at least until viability – the point when a fetus can survive outside the womb, or about 24 weeks into a pregnancy. That was the standard set for the nation by the Supreme Court in the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey,” Fritz writes.

“Today, post-Dobbs, abortion is largely unavailable in 14 states, and courts have blocked enforcement of bans approved in several other states, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights and tracks reproductive issues. Those bans, abortion rights advocates say, have had an outsized impact on those unable to travel out of their home state.”

The abortion industry bemoans this development, even as they push for laws (and constitutional amendments) that eviscerate even the tiniest protection for the littlest American. By contrast pro-lifers “view the Dobbs decision as a historic victory, the result of a decades long campaign to overturn the 1973 Roe decision and put the issue back in the hands of elected state leaders. Conservative lawmakers and governors who have banned abortion or severely limited access to it, they say, have done so in response to the will of their voters.”

#3. Justice Samuel Alito wrote in Dobbs, “Stare decisis, the doctrine on which Casey’s controlling opinion was based, does not compel unending adherence to Roe’s abuse of judicial authority. Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

Fritz writes

The Supreme Court took a nosedive in approval following the decision last year, a drop driven almost entirely by anger at the decision from the left. Just more than four in 10 Americans approved of the job the Supreme Court is doing compared with 56% who disapprove, according to a Marquette Law School poll earlier this year. Roughly two-thirds of Republicans approved of the high court.

But when people are fully apprised of what the Supreme Court’s Dobbs opinion actually meant, a different view emerges. Rasmussen posed the following question:

“The Supreme Court recently overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, so that each state can determine its own laws regarding abortion. Do you approve or disapprove of the court overturning Roe v. Wade?”

Exactly 50% approved while 45% disapproved.

The Harris poll asked this revealing question:

“Do you think it is better for abortion standards to be set by judges of the supreme court, by a vote of Congress or by the legislatures of each individual state?” 

Supreme court judges garnered 25%; Congressional vote was preferred by 31%; 44% chose state legislatures.

Both Rasmussen and Harris show a preference for the state legislatures deciding abortion law, which is exactly what the Supreme Court decided in Dobbs.

For sticking to its guns, for being loyal to the Constitution’s text and history, the justices have been pilloried unmercifully. In fact, two of the justices have been smeared for things that have nothing to do (on the surface) with Dobbs.

We’ll talk more on Friday about the ‘Incalculable’ impact of Dobbs.

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