The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. In this much anticipated case, the Court reconsidered the constitutional underpinnings of Roe v. Wade, the case that legalized abortion for all 50 states in 1973.
Oral arguments lasted for nearly two hours and were truly historic. You can read a summary of what was discussed by the justices here.
Much of the dialogue was on the topic of whether it is appropriate for the Court to overturn a past ruling. The Supreme Court has reversed its holdings before when they later determined that the case was wrongly decided.
Predictability, the abortion lawyers argued that past precedent—Roe v. Wade—needed to be upheld.
Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart, arguing in support of the Mississippi law limiting abortion, urged the court to reject Roe v. Wade and its sister case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. He rightly acknowledged, “They have no basis in the Constitution. They have no home in our history or traditions. They’ve damaged the democratic process. They poison the law.”
All six of the conservative justices seemed to be sympathetic to Mississippi’s law and interest in protecting preborn human life. There even seemed to be a majority of justices interested in revisiting Roe v. Wade and possibly overturning it.
All in all, signs from oral argument seemed to suggest that abortion law will be changing in America—for the better—and soon. The extent of the pro-life shift won’t be known until the Court releases its written opinion in the case, which is expected next June.
The reaction from the pro-life community was a combination of joy, relief, and optimism.
Following oral argument, President of Alliance Defending Freedom, Michael Farris shared on social media, “I am ecstatic! It couldn’t have gone better. There is no guarantee of the outcome…but it sounded very, very encouraging. The Court will make an initial decision this week and assign the case to a justice to draft the majority decision. But this initial vote can be revisited at any point. We need to stay in prayer until the decision is released.”
Americans United for Life tweeted, “Our team is encouraged today after the #DobbsvJackson oral arguments. Because of the hard work of pro-life organizations who submitted over 80 amicus curiae briefs, all of the necessary facts were presented and discussed. We are grateful!”
President of Focus of the Family, Jim Daly, shared a video on Twitter praising the Court for asking questions that promote the sanctity of human life and said he was hopeful that the Court would overturn Roe.
Other pro-life leaders shared similar sentiments.
Ryan Anderson, President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center tweeted, “Oral arguments were encouraging, but between now and the announced decision, lots of lobbying of the justices will take place. Message needs to be clear: nothing less than full overruling of Roe and Casey is acceptable.” Anderson even shared a text message he received from a former U.S. Supreme Court clerk following oral argument. The former clerk told him, “That went about as badly for the pro-abortion side as it could reasonably have been expected to go.”
Roger Severino, a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and former attorney for Becket, a public interest law firm fighting to protect religious freedom, had words of encouragement on Twitter after oral argument, “The pro-life movement should rejoice with how the SCOTUS oral argument went. I count six votes upholding the Mississippi law and 5 to 6 directly overturning Roe. Only Sotomayor defended the more extreme arguments of the pro-abortion side (and poorly).”
Severino went on to tweet, “Based on the tenor of the oral argument, Roe v. Wade is as good as gone. Roberts, Kavanaugh, and Barrett did not treat Roe as some sort of sacred precedent but as an arbitrary, a-constitutional short-circuiting of the democratic process on a contentious social issue.”
As good as gone! Can you imagine? We can only hope and pray that would be so.
Even though we won’t know the ultimate outcome in this case for many months, we are hopeful that the outcome will be just and right.
Please pray that this Court will finally bring an end to the grievous error committed nearly 50 years ago when the Court legalized abortion across America.
It’s time for Roe to go.