Back when I taught Critical Reasoning and also Ethics on the college level, students had an option to write a position paper on topics, including abortion. After receiving my Masters degree in 1991, I began teaching – which put it 18 years after Roe v Wade was decided. I often had students argue for their position that abortion should be allowed based on the fact of Roe being the law of the land. I would sometimes ask in my comments if they would have argued differently before 1973 (before Roe) or if they would argue differently if Roe were overturned. Invariably they said no. The law of the land was NOT a primary reason for their support of abortion. Logically speaking, it was even a secondary reason. It was just a way to help justify their position. They were going to support abortion no matter what the Supreme Court or the state laws affirmed. Their position was rooted in their personal values.
My guess is we are going to see the same thing now that the Dobbs decision has effectively overturned Roe. If you are discussing (which I predict will typically be arguing) the merits of Dobbs and the rationale for abortion, ask them if they support a right to abortion that exists even though the Supreme Court has explicitly stated that there is none in the constitution – the “Court’s conclusion [is] that the Constitution does not confer such a right.” If they say yes, then ask if Roe, then, made any difference to their argument. The three most important questions to ask are, if they hold that a right to abortion still exists in this country, 1)where does that right exist, 2)when was it given, and 3)where was it recorded.
The reasonable answer should be that the right to have an abortion will or will not be found in individual state laws – which is, in my view, where it should have existed (if at all) in the states (as decided in Dobbs). The individual and separate states again have the ability to create “rights” to abortion. Local morals, values, and politics will determine the outcome there.
Dobbs says the following: But the Court cannot allow its decisions to be affected by such extraneous [political] concerns. A precedent of this Court is subject to the usual principles of stare decisis under which adherence to precedent is the norm but not an inexorable command. If the rule were otherwise, erroneous decisions like Plessy [the Supreme Court decision that upheld racial segregation] would still be the law.”
All rights do not, in fact, originate with the Creator, as some assert. The Declaration of Independence only states that some rights came from that source. It didn’t limit it there. Governments can create rights. In the United States, as of March 24, 2022, state governments have the power to do that in the matter of abortions … and no one else.
Dobbs does not end abortion or prohibit it. It simply puts the decision in the states’ hands. If you want your state to reflect your views on abortion, contact the state legislator representing your district and give her or him your views. You, as a citizen, have the power.
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For His Glory,