As one who supports a woman’s right to choose, I listen to speculations about whether or not the U. S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that granted a woman the right to an abortion. Some pundits are complacent. They argue that after 45 years, Roe v. Wade has too much case-law behind it to be overturned.
I wish that were true. For 41 years the High Court allowed labor unions to collect fees from nonmembers who benefit from negotiated contracts. That precedent recently has been overturned. fair share.
Other voices posit that, in the case of Roe v. Wade, Chief Justice John Roberts will provide the swing vote to preserve it. After all, 67% of the population supports a woman’s right to choose. It’s unlikely, they say, Roberts would throw the country into tumult. Still others suggest, as I have done, that advances in science and technology make abortions too readily available to completely control.
These various assurances provide some comfort that a woman’s right to choose will prevail. What gives me greatest confidence, however, is the legal chaos that would follow if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade. Imagine the scenario if abortion was left to the states. A woman seeking the procedure in Alabama might face prison or the death penalty. In California, that same individual would benefit from safe medical care. Overturn Roe v. Wade and “justice for all” would become an absurdity.
No, pragmatism will prevail over morality and compassion. Their personal beliefs aside, a majority of judges will close the books on the abortion argument rather than invite judicial chaos. The overwhelming question is in what narrow form will it remain?