The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overruling Roe v. Wade is a tremendous victory for unborn children and their mothers. The decision means that, for the first time in nearly 50 years, states across the country can affirm that life is a human right and protect the most vulnerable among us.
The Supreme Court was right to overrule Roe. As the majority clearly held, nothing in the Constitution’s text, structure or history supports a right to abortion. In fact, even abortion advocates like the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg criticized the decision as being poorly reasoned. Justice Ginsburg called Roe an “unnecessary” and “heavy-handed judicial intervention” that blocked the political process.
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Roe overturned state laws restricting abortion and took from the American people their ability to protect the dignity of women and all human life. The decision caused the loss of more than 60 million lives – each one of them unique and valuable.
States have compelling interest in regulating abortion
Five decades of scientific advancement since Roe leave no doubt that states have a compelling interest in protecting unborn children at every stage of development. Mississippi’s law, for example, protects a baby’s life after 15 weeks. These babies have heartbeats, can move around and kick, open and close their fingers, and hiccup. Emerging scientific evidence suggests they could feel pain.
Further, the oft-cited polls arguing that most Americans support Roe are misleading. When Americans are asked specific questions about abortion, it becomes clear that the abortion regime established by Roe is wildly unpopular. Only 13% of Americans favor allowing abortion in the last three months of pregnancy – something Roe allowed. And Gallup polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans oppose abortions during the second trimester – a time period in which Roe mandated on-demand access to abortion.
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Under Roe, the United States was also an extreme outlier in abortion law and policy, with many states allowing abortions until viability. America was one of only seven nations – including China and North Korea – that allowed abortion on demand after 20 weeks of pregnancy. In fact, 75% of nations limit abortions after 12 weeks.
Further, the Roe opinion sold the women of this country a lie. It told them that motherhood “forced” upon them “a distressful life and future.” But women are fully capable of being moms and living successful, happy lives. It’s demeaning to say otherwise.
The abortion rights lobby insists that abortion is necessary for women to thrive, but, among other things, that position flies in the face of the widespread availability of contraception and with a failure rate approaching zero for many commonly used contraceptives. It also disregards the existence of safe-haven adoption laws in every state and ignores the thousands of Americans waiting to adopt a child.
Pregnancy centers assist women
Today, thousands of pregnancy centers around the nation stand ready to support women. A recent report summarizes the effect community-based pregnancy centers have on unborn babies, mothers and families: In 2019 alone, over 2,700 pregnancy centers provided more than 1.85 million people in the United States with free support and maternal services both during and after a mother’s pregnancy.
While Dobbs is a tremendous legal victory, the real work is just beginning. We must bolster existing life-affirming resources and ensure that every pregnant woman who needs support has ready access to the resources she needs and to a community ready to come alongside her and her child.
Millions of Americans have been preparing for this day for nearly 50 years. We have marched, and we have prayed. With the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, America has the opportunity to lead the world in caring for its women and children.
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With the ignominious decision in Roe consigned to the dustbin of history, states may act on their commitment to life. They can protect unborn children and ensure women receive the support and resources they need for full and flourishing lives as mothers. We must continue these crucial efforts to protect life until all of our laws as well as the broader culture recognize that life is always valuable.
Kristen Waggoner is general counsel and Erin Hawley is senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom. They served on the Mississippi legal team defending the state’s Gestational Age Act at the U.S. Supreme Court.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Abortion: Why Supreme Court overturning Roe is a victory for women