The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is a great victory for conservatives, but it’s a modest one.
Last week, the Supreme Court released its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The majority reversed Roe, finding it “was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.”
It was a brilliantly written decision and a result worth celebrating. It’s a victory for pro-life activists, the Constitution and even former President Donald Trump. But there’s an even more tangible reason to rejoice.
There are preborn babies alive today that would have been slaughtered in the womb if the court hadn’t issued this decision. In some states, abortion clinics shut down after the ruling. Staffers called women with appointments and canceled. While it’s likely some mothers will kill their preborn babies in other states, others won’t. Those babies will be born and have a chance to live. Undoubtedly, their lives — like everyone’s — will be filled with both joy and sorrow, love and loss. But that’s better than having ones limbs ripped apart by an abortionist’s Sopher clamp, which is a footlong pair of scissors with metal teeth, instead of blades.
In a healthier culture, motherhood would be celebrated as a crowning achievement, something that gives a woman’s life deep meaning, a higher purpose and a legacy that will outlast her. That culture would also demand men take financial and relational responsibility for the predictable consequence of sexual activity.
Because people are made in God’s image, human life has intrinsic value. That means protecting innocent human life is always a victory. But when it comes to ending abortion, this victory is far from absolute.
Abortion remains legal in most states, including Nevada. Think about the contrast with Roe. In one decision, the Supreme Court made abortion legal throughout the country. After decades of work, pro-lifers won a great victory, and abortion is still widely available.
This restrained decision shows how differently liberal and conservative justices view the job. Liberal justices generally start with a policy outcome and work backward. That’s how you end up with a decision, such as Roe, in which the court discovers a “constitutional” right. This mindset turns the Supreme Court into a super legislature.
In contrast, most conservative justices view their job as applying the Constitution as written and understood at the time. Personally, they may want to end abortion. But because abortion isn’t mentioned in the Constitution and was previously left to state lawmakers, that’s who they’re empowering to make this decision.
Remember this the next time a progressive critic claims this Supreme Court is a threat to democracy. Instead of nine people in black robes setting abortion policy nationwide, legislatures around the country will be doing it. This ruling dramatically increased the power elected representatives have to set abortion policy. If the public doesn’t like their decisions, they can vote them out. That sounds like democracy.
Celebrate the Dobbs decision, but the court’s restraint means there’s much more work that needs to be done to end abortion entirely.