The overturning of Roe v. Wade Friday is a new day for the cause of life in America, largely an end to abortion in Missouri, and a cementing of Donald Trump’s legacy as one of the most consequential presidents in history.
The landmark ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, presaged by an unprecedented leak of an early draft of it in May, doesn’t end abortion nationally. In overturning 1973’s Roe decision that declared abortion a constitutional right, Dobbs merely turns the issue over to states, which are now free to legislate the practice.
Missouri? Done. The Show-Me State had a law already on the books with a near total ban on abortion should Roe be overturned. The law merely had to be triggered by either the legislature, governor or attorney general – and that was quickly accomplished: Not long after Dobbs’ release, Gov. Mike Parson issued the requisite proclamation, and Attorney General Eric Schmitt the required opinion, to trigger the state’s new ban on abortion except to save the life of the mother.
“Missouri is the first state in the country to do so,” a release by Schmitt’s office announced.
“This is something that generations of people have been working on,” state Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman – one of the architects of the abortion ban – told The Heartlander Friday. “It is a landmark opinion, probably the most consequential opinion that we’ve had in our generation and, really, in almost 75 years. A case that was wrongly decided has been corrected.
“It is an incredible victory for life and for the unborn, and the pro-life movement is going to stay committed to making sure that we’re protecting the unborn, not just in Missouri, but across all state capitals.”
Though the Dobbs decision was expected, tremors roiled across the country at its release Friday morning.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the 6-3 majority. “Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. … It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
The decision argues, “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. … Indeed, when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, three quarters of the States made abortion a crime at all stages of pregnancy.”
Friday’s decision also quotes the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote in 1992 abortion rights ruling Planned Parenthood vs. Casey (also overturned by Dobbs), “The permissibility of abortion, and the limitations upon it, are to be resolved like most important questions in our democracy: by citizens trying to persuade one another and then voting.”
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt hailed the overturning of Roe, noting that the state’s voters will decide on a constitutional amendment Aug. 2 that would enshrine into law the legislature’s power to regulate abortion. The Kansas Supreme Court had, as in Roe, ruled in 2019 that the state constitution protects the right to abortion. The Aug. 2 vote has the capacity to overturn that decision as well.
“Today’s decision means the power and responsibility to decide the important and difficult questions involving regulation of abortion have been returned to the people instead of federal judges,” Schmidt wrote of Dobbs in a statement. “The people of Kansas will speak directly to this subject in less than six weeks. In voting on the Value Them Both amendment, Kansans will decide whether state judges may determine how abortion is regulated in Kansas or whether that is a responsibility for the elected and democratically accountable branches of state government.”
As for Trump, he becomes the first president to have formed a conservative majority on the Supreme Court capable of overturning Roe.