This past week, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) overturned the Roe v. Wade decision. Many Christians and pro-life people, myself included, rejoiced at the news. However, many of us also braced ourselves for the incoming wave of arguments and objections throughout the media response. I wanted to respond to a few common objections and hopefully bring some clarity. These are answers to 3 objections to overturning Roe v. Wade. I will be addressing more in the coming weeks.
Objection 1: Overturning Roe v. Wade Takes Away a Constitutional Right
This may be the least common of these objections, but it is crucial to understand. Overturning Roe v. Wade is not flipping a switch on abortion from totally legal to totally illegal. Much like with the Texas Heartbeat Act several months ago, people reacted as if abortion was going away entirely. Instead, the states can decide for themselves, rather the federal government deciding for them. In some states, yes, abortion may be illegal. Most likely, the majority of states will keep abortion legal in some capacity, at least for now.
This decision to overturn by the SCOTUS has far more to do with proper legislation than a moral argument. In 1973 the SCOTUS made a ruling that limited the state’s ability to restrict abortion, stating that an abortion was a constitutional right. Their rationale was dubious at best, citing rights like privacy which are also never clearly outlined in the US Constitution. The rationale even changed over time, keeping access to abortion unrestricted, but for entirely different reasons than in 1973. This was a clear example of the SCOTUS going around the due legislative process to invent a new rule. Even if you want abortion legal, at least see that Roe v. Wade is terrible legislation. Even Ruth Bader Ginsburg saw that.
Objection 2: The Majority of Americans Oppose the Overturning of Roe v. Wade
Many who object to the SCOTUS decision cite various statistics about how the majority of Americans disagree with the decision. Statements like, “The Supreme Court is more conservative than most US citizens” or “two-thirds of Americans want to uphold Roe v. Wade.” First, I would want to ask a few questions. Did the surveyed people fully know what overturning Roe v. Wade means? If the recent rhetoric is any indication, I have doubts. I wonder how many of them would change their answers if fully informed. Statistics can be helpful, but always be wary of them when given without context or understanding of how they were gathered.
More importantly, regardless of whether the statistics are accurate, that is entirely beside the point of this issue. If most Americans support abortion, let them vote to legalize it. Let the majority vote to legalize it at the state and even federal levels. If you really have such a strong majority, write a whole new constitutional amendment. Let’s stop this nonsense, though, of using the SCOTUS to step outside of their job to make backward legislation.
Objection 3: Overturning Roe v. Wade Only Harms Safe Abortions
Any time a state even lightly restricts abortion, the pro-abortion crowd immediately rushes in with pictures of coat hangers and the notion that the law cannot prevent abortions, only safe and regulated abortions. I hate this problem too. Women dying from abortion is horrific. I worry about this in the coming years, particularly with the increasing popularity of the abortion pill and many women taking potentially dangerous drugs unregulated. However, I also have a few issues with this objection.
First, this makes the fundamental assumption that the unborn are not human. If, as pro-life people believe, abortion takes the life of an innocent human being, no abortion is safe. It is, by nature, intended to harm a child.
Second, should the law reflect morality or not? Armed robbers occasionally die in a botched theft. Does that mean we should make robbery legal and give them unrestricted access to protect them from violence? Of course not. Robbery is a moral wrong that causes harm to another human being. People assume the unborn are not human, and thus abortion does no harm.
Third, this objection is often riddled with misunderstandings about both the past and present abortion industry. First, if you hear the statement that thousands of women died from abortions before 1973, that number has been heavily exaggerated. Even if the number was ever that high, which is a very big if, it dropped immensely with new medicines like penicillin. Any death is too many, but let’s at least try to be accurate here. Further, abortions were typically performed by physicians in an office, not the horrific back-alley imagery often described. Lastly, let’s not pretend that the abortion industry is well overseen and regulated today. The topic is awkward and controversial, meaning few people want to touch it. The amount of money behind it adds extra complications. Planned Parenthood is a business that wants to exploit you for money just as much as Amazon or Google.
Do You Agree?
That is 3 objections to overturning Roe v. Wade, and some thoughts to hopefully help you think about and respond. I will be addressing more next week, but if there is one in particular you would like to see, let me know or share your thoughts in our discussion group Here.