If Roe v. Wade is Overturned

If Roe v. Wade is Overturned

Mississippi, which in 2018 passed a law banning abortions there after 15 weeks of gestation, argued vigorously this week to the United States Supreme Court that the state’s ban should be upheld because the issue should be left “for the people to decide” through the legislative process rather than by a judicial ruling. The United States Constitution is “neutral” on the question of abortion/choice, Mississippi asserted. A majority of the Supreme Court seems inclined to agree with Mississippi.

Roe v. Wade, a 1973 Supreme Court decision that has made abortion legal in all states up to the point when the fetus can live outside the womb (generally thought to be around 24 weeks), is likely to be overturned.

If that happens, “the people” and our elected representatives will be allowed to enact whatever new abortion bills as can be passed and signed into law. Warning: Results may vary.

Principle Based Politics believes there may be a better way than future state-by-state battles in Mississippi, California, Texas, New York, Minnesota, and everywhere else. Abortion already has sucked much of the life out of politics in our country. The “pro-choice” versus “pro-life” divide is a major cause of American polarization, partisanship, and extremism. It does not need to be like this.

A Principled Solution

As we have stated, our principles of freedom and protecting the vulnerable, when the strong interests of the fetus and the female are weighed and balanced, produces a conclusion that, except in cases when the female’s life is in danger or she became pregnant through rape, the vulnerability of the fetus seems more compelling. When the female has been raped, or when carrying a fetus until birth could cause her to die, then vulnerability is much more even between the two, and the freedom and vulnerable state of the female should prevail. We laid out this analysis in a widely-read post, “Abortion: Weighing the Principles” (July 20, 2021).

The logical next step is that some form of governmental action is needed to supply the protection. While states generally have the strongest interest in and power to protect the safety of their citizens, at least until now they have not been able to do this fully for the unborn. This has been both due to state-level political conditions and because federal courts have found their prior restrictions unconstitutional.

The predicted overruling of Roe v. Wade—if it does happen—would give future leeway for state or federal laws that are consistent and more protective to the unborn.

A New National Abortion Law

Our prior posts also have noted that another key principle applicable to abortion is limited government. This principle asks whether any political action is necessary, and, if so, whether the federal government specifically must act because it is the only body that possibly can do what is needed. As we explained in our post “A Principled Federal Role in Abortion Law” (July 23, 2021), a federal statute on abortion may indeed be the best solution possible.  

Hear us out, please. The main features of a new, national law could be these:

  • For a woman aged 18 or above impregnated through an alleged rape in which charges are pressed, abortion would be legal during the first 20 weeks of the pregnancy
  • The pregnancy of any minor (under the age of 18) by definition would be categorized as procured by statutory rape, even without charges pressed, and abortion would be allowed during the first 20 weeks
  • When a doctor certifies that a pregnancy endangers the life of the female patient, abortion always would be allowed
  • All other abortions would be illegal
  • For anyone prevented from having an abortion because of the above rules, the federal government would provide adoption support, financial assistance to help with prenatal and obstetric care, and, if the baby is not adopted, financial assistance for early education, daycare, and housing, if needed

Getting Past the Issue

In considering what “the people” should do if these issues are left to us, we all must remember that a perfect solution is not one of our options. Nobody is going to absolutely love any law that is passed. As this blog said earlier, the optimal, ideal scenario would be that there be no unwanted pregnancies, but that is not something a government ever can accomplish in any way we wish to contemplate.

Though it will be difficult, maybe resolution of this issue can be what brings America together. Wouldn’t that be ironic? We, the people, get our feelings out on the table (if they aren’t already), have our elected Congress vote on the best national solution it can negotiate, put the issue behind us, and move forward like a united family should.

Written by Quentin R. Wittrock, founder of Principle Based Politics. 

Look for his posts each week, as this blog will explore and promote the idea of principle in politics, both as to individual elected leaders and our federal government as an institution.

  • Merry Withers
    Posted at 02:15h, 05 May Reply

    I would go with, if you need an abortion up to 24 weeks the decision is between you and your doctor. If you do not want an abortion no one can force you to do so. I know this this sounds simple but it should be. I want to have private rights over my womb and you should rights over yours, it really is that simple.

  • Carl Hamilton
    Posted at 23:25h, 11 May Reply

    All or any abortions is wrong regardless of the reason, murder is murder no matter the label that is placed on the abortion . Stop having sex !!!! Stop the lying , be responsible. no sex, no pregnancies and no abortions!!!!!!

  • Karen Tantillo
    Posted at 13:46h, 14 May Reply

    I couldn’t agree more. I got pregnant at 15 in 1972. I resisted intense pressure from my recently divorced mom to get an abortion (which was illegal back then but some doctors were illegally performing them) and I had the baby. I knew even as a young teen that to abort my baby would be nothing short of murder. Two weeks or two months in vitro – it doesn’t matter – it’s still a baby. While pregnant I was pressured to stay indoors to minimize the shame I was putting my family through. I lost many of my friends. It was very hard to go through but I knew it was the responsible thing to do. We were too poor to keep my baby; my mom worked two jobs to put enough food on the table – and it truly broke my heart but I knew the only choice I had and the most loving thing I could do for my baby was give him up for adoption to a loving family. Fast forward 44 years, and my baby located me through Ancestry.com and my heart rejoiced! God, in His unlimited mercy, protected my heart from a lot of the pain it could have felt during those years, and when I found out my baby found me I literally dropped to my knees! The hole in my heart that was barely felt, was opened wide with hurt but just as quickly it was filled with joy! God rewarded me for not discarding his beautiful creation! My son grew up to be a well balanced, accomplished and loving person, and we have a beautiful relationship. I’ve also been able to give him two half siblings which also have a beautiful relationship with him. While it’s been a lot of work to build it, it’s been completely worth it. My son and I feel he has two loving mothers: the one that birthed him and the one that raised him. To all the pregnant women who don’t or can’t keep their baby and are unsure of what to do, make the responsible and moral decision – please do not abort your baby. You can give your baby to a loving family too. You’re more courageous than you think! It’s going to be ok.

  • Patricia A Wetzler
    Posted at 18:36h, 25 May Reply

    WOMAN’S RIGHTS need I say more. Men don’t carry a child, give birth and most of the time are not the primary caregivers. Women fought for the right to decide and are still having to fight for equality, generations later. Our daughters and granddaughters are going to grow into womanhood stripped of the “RIGHT TO CHOOSE.” and will still be waiting for equality as women in our country. While I do not agree with abortion I DO however, agree that every woman should be given the RIGHT TO CHOOSE. What becomes disturbing is if this right is taken away what other slippery slope can we, as women, look forward to being forced to slide down and choke down on the way there?

  • John Barbo
    Posted at 17:56h, 25 June Reply

    93% of babies are aborted within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. Women can still have abortions regardless of the ruling, so
    I do not see what all the craziness is about. The sad thing about this is they talk about rights when the question at hand is the
    Killing of God knows how many babies like as if it is Nothing. I believe the people who are mad are upset about the decision
    but they are maybe more upset that their so called scare tactics and threats to the Supreme Court did not work or influence their decision,

  • Staci Zastrow
    Posted at 19:20h, 27 June Reply

    John – If you are a minor then you can have an abortion. If you are over 18 and have rape charges pressed against someone…. then you can have an abortion. THATS IT.

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