Supreme Court Reverses Abortion Provision

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Photo of the US Supreme Court Building

This morning, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) released a decision that reverses the 1973 abortion provision of Roe v. Wade. In the 1973 decision, SCOTUS ruled that women had a Constitutional right to abortion because of an implied right to privacy based on the Fourteenth Amendment.

Roe has been the law of the land for forty-nine years. Every time a new Supreme Court Nominee was interviewed by the US Senate, the nominee was probed on his/her position on the Roe decision. All of the nominees noted stare decisis the “policy of following rules or principles laid down in previous judicial decisions unless they contravene the ordinary principles of justice”[1] The Roe decision was seen as the precedent and was therefore upheld.

Today’s decision struck down a bad precedent. But this isn’t the first time that SCOTUS has struck down a bad precedent. In 1954 in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, SCOTUS overturned Plessy v. Ferguson (decided in 1896). Until 1954, the precedent was that black children could be segregated from white children and educated in “separate but equal” schools. In the Brown case, SCOTUS righted the wrong and gave equal educational opportunities to all children in public schools.

In today’s decision’s majority opinion statement, Justice Alito said that Roe was not truly based on the Constitution and therefore needed to be overturned.

Today’s decision does not end abortion in America.

In reversing Roe, SCOTUS returned the issue back to the states — where it had been before 1973. All Roe did was to legalize abortion in all fifty states.

The US Constitution’s Tenth Amendment states that issues not specifically addressed in the Constitution are under the jurisdiction of the states. Today’s decision sends the issue back where it belongs: in the hands of elected state officials instead of in the hands of nine, unelected judges.

Elected officials in each state will vote for or against abortion in their state, based on the wishes of their voting constituents. Thirteen states already have “trigger laws” on the books that were to go into effect automatically if/when Roe was overturned. Some states will end abortion in their states. Some will expand abortion in their state.

The issue of abortion shouldn’t be seen as a political issue. It shouldn’t be seen as a “reproductive rights” issue. Abortion should be seen for what it is: ending the life of a human being. Many states already recognize the rights of an unborn child. If a pregnant woman is injured and she loses the child, the offending party can be charged with homicide. If a pregnant woman is killed and her baby is unable to survive, the killer can be charged with two counts of murder. (An Biblical example can be found in Exodus 21:22–25)

Many Christians have prayed for many years for the reversal of Roe. God answered their prayers with today’s decision. But reversing Roe doesn’t end the abortion discussion for Christians.

Reversing Roe doesn’t put an end to the responsibility of Christians. In fact, our responsibilities have been thrust into the forefront. Believers have to show what we’re made of. We have to show that we aren’t just pro-birth. We have to show we are pro-life.

What do I mean by this? Christians have been good at building signs warning motorists of a dangerous, damaged mountain bridge. We erect signs and roadblocks. But we’re not so good at running a rescue mission at the bottom of the mountain to help people who didn’t heed the warnings. We aren’t so good at helping people to pick up the pieces of bad decisions.

It’s easy to tell women they shouldn’t abort their child. It’s another thing to come alongside and provide support, financial and otherwise. It isn’t enough to bring living babies out of the womb. Pregnant women need support throughout their pregnancy. Unwanted babies need parents.

Christians need to support crisis pregnancy centers. We need to provide sonograms and counsel for women about the options of keeping their baby or giving it up for adoption. We need to help teens to make better choices.

Our church just completed an effort to raise funds for Grace House, a local ministry that teaches abstinence classes at the local high school, provides free sonograms, teaches classes for expectant parents, offers a boutique for maternity clothes and baby clothes, and maintains a pantry of baby food. Our (very) small church collected our pocket change and extra cash in baby bottles provided by Grace House from Mother’s Day through Father’s Day. I was shocked that we collected over $1500.

Christians, our job isn’t over. It just changed a little.

[1] Mirriam Webster Online Dictionary accessed 6/24/22.