Abortion and the Politics of Fear

Last week, Politico broke a story about a leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s official opinion pertaining to the latest legal battle over abortion.  In the draft, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, the Court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.  Liberals lost their collective minds at the potential policy change they see as an essential freedom for American women.

I didn’t anticipate writing about abortion again, and I didn’t want to write about it again.  But abortion is a secondary issue here.  The leak from the Supreme Court firmly demonstrates that when the liberal segment of America feels enough pressure, they succumb to the same politics of fear as conservatives.  The Court will not release an official decision for another month, but the left has already proven they’re just as bad as the right.

Since the leak this past week, liberals rallied their troops to frighten Americans who may be on the fence about abortion or ones who worry about a change to the status quo.  

Napoleon Bonaparte was reputed to have once said that only two things motivate people:  interest and fear.  Liberals are allowing their own fear to drive the response to the impending decision.  This fear leads to bad arguments about an important policy. 

First, what will this decision mean?

Americans have already misunderstood the decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health.  This ruling will not ban abortions in the United States.  The ruling will maintain that a woman does not have the right to an abortion, which means the state can make laws about abortions if it chooses.  

For liberal states, nothing will change.  Places like California, New York, or Massachusetts will not change laws to stop abortions.  If anything, they will pass legislation which will strengthen a woman’s ability to have an abortion.  Conservative states, typically Southern or Midwestern states, will most likely ban abortion or place severe restrictions on the procedure.

Is Justice Alito the most hated man in the liberal community?

The Court’s decision, and Alito’s opinion, reflect the notion that issues like this must be decided in political arenas, and not in the courts.  Alito did not comment on the inherent nature of abortion being good or bad.  His opinion reads, 

We do not pretend to know how our political system or society will respond to today’s decision overruling Roe and Casey.  And even if we could foresee what will happen, we would have no authority to let that knowledge influence our decision.  We can only do our job, which is to interpret the law, apply longstanding principles of stare decisis, and decided this case accordingly.

… Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives.

In essence, if citizens feel strongly that their state should or should not allow abortions, then they should elect representatives who will carry out those wishes.  Elections have consequences.  

I understand Alito’s premise.  But, I’m also certain states will not appropriately consider how to legislate the issue of abortion.  Blanket bans on an activity rarely produce the best results.  States will fail to consider important exceptions, or how to appropriate define an abortion.  

Would we expect a pregnant woman with a stillborn baby to carry it to term?  Currently, the procedure often used to remove a stillborn child is the same procedure used for an elective abortion.

Additionally, will states appropriately consider what to do in cases such as 11 year old ‘Lucia’ from Argentina?  She became pregnant after being raped.  Because of Argentina’s strict abortion laws, abortion was not an option.  However, her tiny 11 year old body was not physically capable of delivering the child without killing her. 

I’m not arguing for abortion.  But I am claiming that state legislatures have a history of short-sightedness and never consider serious moral dilemmas like an innocent 11 year old girl.  States will mess this up because many politicians care more about scoring a ‘win’ rather than careful policy. 

Regardless of how poorly a person might think of the federal government, I can promise state legislatures are worse.  They lack the nuance, thoughtfulness, or foresight to consider the deeper implications of their actions.

The Logical Fallacies

The position of pro-choice supporters lacks any real focus on the legal argument Alito espouses.  Instead, they are appealing to logical fallacies to stir up enough fear in the public to foment change.  Let’s take a look:

1. The Slippery Slope.  The pending ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health will eviscerate the precedent set in Roe v. Wade.  Justice Alito, writing for the Court, stated, 

We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.  The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  That provision has been held to guarantee some right that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “simplicity in the concept of ordered liberty.”

This statement immediately sent liberals into a frenzy about other freedoms which may be at stake under the premise Alito suggests.  The left suggests that conservatives will overrule Court precedents on birth control, interracial marriage, and same-sex marriage next.  These concerns are the politics of fear, designed to frighten.  The ‘domino theory’ suggested here is no more than a slippery slope.  Because A happened, B and C and D must follow.  

The left now submits to the same fear the right uses on their supporters.  Just substitute the issue of abortion with gun rights.  Conservatives see any restriction on guns as a terrible violation which can only lead to an outright ban.  The logic was flawed then, and it’s flawed now.  

America is not on a path to The Handmaid’s Tale.

2. Appeal to Fear.  The left was not short on its dire warnings.  If Roe is overturned, back alley abortions will happen.  Nevermind that the number of abortions which resulted in deaths were grossly overstated.  

Warnings come from all corners of the left that dangerous abortions will happen everywhere, and women won’t be able to have ‘safe’ abortions.  Women will have less rights than previous generations.  

Considering how conservatives reacted to mask mandates and vaccines, I don’t see too much difference in the approach of the left.  This appeal to fear also seems intertwined with the slippery slope concept.

3. Ad hominem attacks.  The critique of the Court’s decision utilizes another form of logical fallacy — personalattacks rather than attacking Alito’s opinion.

Pod Save America, a nationally known podcast which casts itself as “A no bullshit conversation about politics,” seemed to have plenty of just that in their discussion of the Dobbs case. 

• A new podcast (from Pod Save America’s parent company), Strict Scrutiny, posted an ‘emergency’ episode this week which enjoyed dunking on Alito, but lacked a focus on the substance of the ruling.  Emergency, eh? 

• John Harris, in Politico, wrote a piece that Alito wanted a ‘brawl’ and he was going to get one.  Harris summed up Alito’s 98 page opinion in three words:  “Bring it on.”

• Harvard Professor Emeritus Laurence Tribe has a Twitter feed that reads like a dystopian novel unto itself on this issue.  He, and others who defend Roe, couch their language on abortion in personifications and euphemisms.  “The death of Roe …”  or “women’s reproductive rights.” 

Vanity Fair ran a piece two days ago with the subtitle, “The Supreme Court justice wants to turn the U.S. into a dystopian hellscape where women are property—and he’s not stopping there.”  Nothing subtle about what you’re reading there.  The article noted, “the most sickening part is that the conservative justice clearly doesn’t give a shit that obliterating the landmark ruling will ruin countless lives. In fact, one might argue, that’s all part of the plan. And if you needed further proof that Alito is pure evil and wants to take the U.S. back to a time when women’s bodies were property for men to control …”  

Yes, because, there exists a secret cabal of men who, in Mr. Burns like fashion, secretly plot to relegate women to an inferior status forever.

4. The Straw Man.  Critics of Alito hyper focused on a few phrases out of 98 pages of legal writing with hundreds of cited court cases and references to American and English law.  Alito referenced 17th century English jurist Matthew Hale on the issue of abortion, and critics pounced on this due to Hale’s position that marital rape was justifiable and endorsed execution of witches.  In the 21st century, no one supports these two positions.  Liberals who disagree with Alito’s opinion find this as a means of dismissing him and the decision.  

This is an illogical position for critics.  Because Hale supported an idea we now find implausible does not mean his entire body of work lacks value.  

The American legal system does not deny the notion of judicial review because John Marshall owned slaves.  Nor should it.  No one denies the greatness of Thomas Jefferson’s writing in the Declaration of Independencebecause of his personal flaws.

In Alito’s opinion, he also used the phrase “domestic supply of infants” — in a footnote from a study of the Center for Disease Control.  Yes, it’s a weird phrase.  But it’s not his phrase.

Take a moment and look at any social media website and search Samuel Alito’s name.  Then, determine if Americans are giving his legal opinions a critique, or him. 

5.  A bandwagon effect.  The pro-choice crowd also points to the fact that a significant number of Americans support keeping Roe as the standard in abortion.  Most polls bear out that fact, and in most states.  Yet, this is never a good reason or a logical reason to make a policy decision.  

The nation’s governmental structure gives the judicial branch more autonomy so they can make difficult decisions without outside influences such as the public’s pressure.  Since when does the nation expect the Court to make decisions predicated upon popular opinion?  Many of the seminal cases in American judicial history broke with desires of the American public.  

Brown v. Board of Education, the Court crushed ‘separate but equal’ at a time when American society didn’t approve of the change.  The Court understood it needed to make the right decision, and not the popular one.

In Engle v. Vitale,  Court ruled that prayer by public school officials violated the Establishment Clause.  Definitely not a popular decision in the 1960s.

The Court ruled citizens had a right to engage in interracial marriages in Loving v. Virginia.  Americans did not widely support this change in the 1960s.  

These represent just a few of any number of cases where the unpopular view triumphed because of the Court’s insulation from public opinion.  Judicial independence matters.  The Court makes decisions and Americans must learn to live with these or find other ways to establish policy changes.  

The Hypocrisy of the Left

The current ideological makeup of the nine members on the Court has six conservatives justices and three liberals.  Liberals are seething over the fact that former President Donald Trump appointed three conservative justices to the Court during one term.  This is an unusual number for a president to appoint, particularly in one term.  (I know, I know, Merrick Garland should be on the Court.)

After the leaked opinion, liberals are calling for the Supreme Court to expand the number of justices, presumably to ‘pack’ the Court in their favor.  Magically, liberals also favor limiting the terms of justices.

Fences were placed around the Supreme Court building this week

Oh, they want to take their ball and go home now that they lost?  Policy changes are difficult in the United States, but an attempt to rig the process only damages an already wounded republic.

The left feels slighted because they see this case as decided by ideology rather than the law.  However, that logic cuts two ways.  While five conservative justices did vote to overturn Roe, the three liberal justices voted to keep it (conservative leaning Chief Justice John Roberts will likely side with the three liberals).  Can we not equally critique the three liberal justices who voted to maintain precedent because of their ideology? 

For several years, the Court was divided — four liberals and four conservatives, with former Justice Anthony Kennedy known as a ‘swing vote.’  This is not norm in the Court’s history and Americans must reconcile themselves to this fact.  

I guarantee that if liberals held the majority on the Court, both ideological sides would take exactly the opposite side of where they stand now.  Regardless, I don’t want to hear the complaints about how conservatives on the Court are voting in a particular way based on ideology.  Liberals do the same thing when it comes to controversial issues such as abortion.

A Big Change in Freedom?

Alito’s ruling does not effectively answer some particularly important questions.  The quote at the beginning of this post discussed Alito’s reference to the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause.  This portion of the Constitution guarantees that no state can deny a person “life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”  

To imprison you, execute you, or deprive a person of personal property, the state must provide every step of the legal process given to an accused person (known as procedural due process).  The state, in making any laws, cannot create any statutes without a good reason (known as substantive due process).  If the state creates a law takes away a ‘liberty,’ then it must demonstrate a good reason for the action.

Liberal activists believe the state has no interest in depriving a woman of the liberty to have an abortion because this is a privacy issue regarding a woman’s bodily autonomy.  What reason does the state have to legislate otherwise?  States argue their interest includes preserving human life, that of the unborn child.  

Alito’s ruling creates another hurdle for a citizen.  To qualify as ‘liberty’ under the 14th Amendment, a freedom would have to be “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.” The implication here is that the freedoms a citizen has or does not have depend upon whether or not that action has a long history in the United States.

Unless a citizen could demonstrate that their action has been a deeply rooted in American history, then it would not qualify as a liberty and be subject to regulation by the state.  This could have far reaching implications in terms of how much the government could intrude upon the lives of citizens.

Reading Alito’s opinion, he does raise the issues one would expect from an ‘originalist’ or strict constructionist.  Abortion isn’t mentioned in the Constitution.  The individuals who wrote the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause did not intend it be used in this way.  The people and their elected representatives should decide this issue.  

It has a firm legal foundation.  Now, Americans now must decide what to do in light of this decision. 

A Final Word

Regardless of one’s stance on abortion, I hope Americans do not give in to the politics of fear.  The Republican Party surrendered to fear years ago and that’s one reason I despise it.  The GOP’s constant fear mongering and the use of its de facto mouthpiece known as Fox News to spread it have caused indescribable damage to the American Experiment. Instead of offering a better way, Democrats are leaning in to the same approach.  It uses logical fallacies and hypocrisy as tools to make us believe a dystopian world rapidly closes in.

Roe v. Wade and the future of abortions

In 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that women held a right to an abortion through the first two trimesters of a pregnancy with virtually no interference from the state.  They added that in the third trimester, a state did have a compelling interest in preventing abortions due to the fact that a fetus became ‘viable.’  The Court held that after the second trimester, a fetus could live outside the mother’s women, and the state could create legislation protecting that child should it choose to do so.  

Since the Roe case, conservatives have fought to establish laws and even Constitutional amendments to mitigate this ruling.  Conservatives now have their best opportunity in decades to limit legalized abortion in the United States.  In 2018, Mississippi passed a law which banned abortions after 15 weeks into a pregnancy.  That law immediately elicited a legal challenge the Supreme Court is debating in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

About Roe v. Wade …

The Roe case is far more complicated than most people want to admit (from the left or right).  In this case, Norma McCorvey (given the pseudonym ‘Jane Roe’) sought to have an abortion in Texas.  McCorvey, who only recently passed away, was recruited by pro-choice advocates as a candidate to challenge Texas’ state law banning abortion.  

McCorvey was pregnant for the third time at the age of 21 and sought an abortion, but lacked the financial means to travel to any nearby states which permitted it.  In the midst of a prolonged legal struggle, McCorvey gave birth to her child and put up her baby for adoption.  (Note:  for over half a century, the identity of the ‘Roe baby’ went unknown.  Check out an interesting article from The Atlantic detailing the life of Shelley Lynn Thornton and her well-known mother.)  McCorvey often waffled back and forth on her position on abortion, and her stories are inconsistent, but the facts of the case and the Supreme Court’s ruling are less so.

In Roe, McCorvey’s attorneys argued that the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment gave a woman the right to choose whether or not to have children as a choice of bodily autonomy.  The Due Process Clause reads,

” … nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.

– 14th Amendment, The Due Process Clause

The argument presented to the Court contended that the word ‘liberty’ should be construed to allow women the freedom to terminate their pregnancy should they so choose.  They bolstered their argument with the concept that women maintained a right to privacy established in Griswold v. Connecticut.  

In essence, if the state of Texas blocked a woman’s ‘liberty’ to an abortion, then it did so without providing due process of law.  In this instance, ‘due process’ refers to the state’s violation of rights in an arbitrary nature.  States can create laws banning certain behaviors if strong enough reasons exist, and their burden for what qualifies as a good reason increases when they attempt to restrict fundamental rights.

Texas asserted that its interest in protecting human life allowed its restriction on abortions — for the mother and the child.  In this regard, the Court agreed that the state did have an interest in protecting life.  Yet, the Court also maintained restrictions on abortion would impact the life of a woman.  

The Court established more of a balancing act than advocates of either side in the abortion debate  are willing to cede.  The idea that a woman possessed a right to terminate her pregnancy at any time was not part of the ruling in Roe, nor was the notion that a state’s interest proscribed abortion in all instances.  

Norma McCorvey, also known as ‘Jane Roe’

The decision ultimately rests with the notion of a state having a compelling interest to restrict a woman’s choice.  The Court delineated circumstances about which a state may restrict an abortion.  Essentially, during the first trimester of a pregnancy, the decision about abortion lies with a woman and her physician.  The only restrictions a state could implement during this time must be reasonably related to the health of the mother.  The Court also concluded that as a pregnancy progressed, so did the interest of the state.  Once a fetus became viable (meaning the child could live outside the mother’s womb — approximately 24-26 weeks), the state possessed a much stronger interest in protecting human life, which permitted stronger restrictions on an abortion.  With respect to Texas’ law, it was considered far too rigid and inflexible for the criteria established by the Court (as did many other state laws at the time).

States changed their laws on abortion to meet the standards established in Roe.  States which are generally more liberal established legislation which is far more permissive to a woman’s ability to choose, making abortions more accessible, even into the latter stages of a pregnancy.  In the more conservative states, the legislation focused on establishing strict protocols about the physicians who could perform abortions and the standards for medical facilities which perform abortions.  (Many states only have one clinic which performs abortions.)

So, what’s changed between Roe and now?

In 1992, the Court heard another case involving abortion with Planned Parenthood v. Casey.  In that case, Pennsylvania placed restrictions on abortion within their state that some believed too burdensome on a woman’s right to choose.  The Court upheld the notion that a woman held the right to choose to end her pregnancy, but overturned the trimester framework established in Roe.  The Court favored determining fetus viability (at any point) as the demarcation for the point at which the state could have an interest in blocking an abortion.  The Court also maintained that some restrictions implemented by the state did not impose an undue burden on a woman’s right to choose.  For instance, Pennsylvania required a 24 hour waiting period before the abortion was to take place, with a doctor providing information about the procedure and its effect on the health of the woman.  According to the Court, this did not truly prevent a woman from obtaining an abortion.  Since the ruling in Casey, conservative states added more restrictions on abortion, which furthered the divide about abortion policy from one state to the next.

Thecomposition of the Supreme Court’s membership may represent the most significant change from 1973 and now.  Former President Donald Trump greatly influenced the current makeup of the Court, nominating three justices in one term.  The current ideological makeup of the Court has six conservatives and three liberal judges.  While this is no guarantee of any particular outcome, it definitely looms in the minds of both liberals and conservatives.  The lineup of justices in 1973 was more difficult to read, particularly when some of the conservative justices voted with Roe in that 7-2 decision (including a trio of Nixon appointees).  

A wave of conservative justices on the Court prompted states to force a legal battle by passing a number of bills which purposely violated criteria established in Roe and Casey.  Conservative states wanted these bills challenged in the judicial system to force a Supreme Court showdown on the issue of abortion.  Their belief is that the current mood on the Court will favor them in overturning prior decisions.

Will Justice Barrett surprise everyone with her vote?

In 2018, Mississippi passed a law which banned abortions after 15 weeks, with no allowances for cases of rape or incest.  The Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only clinic in the state to perform abortions, immediately brought a challenge in federal district court.  The state’s law was struck down by the district court, and again on appeal in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Mississippi then appealed to the Supreme Court. 

On December 1, 2021, the Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and it was interesting, to say the least.  The attorneys arguing for Mississippi argued primarily that because the Constitution does not specifically address the issue of abortion, each state should be free to establish its own policies pertaining to the subject.  Additionally, a right to an abortion does not exist because it is not specifically listed as a right in the Constitution, but as an abstraction erroneously created by the Supreme Court in Roe.

Counsel for the state of Mississippi also argued that people want to make decisions about abortion policies locally, to best suit their region.  They asked the Court to eliminate the ‘viability’ line used to determine if a state has an interest in preventing an abortion.

The attorneys for Jackson Women’s Health summed up their argument in three succinct points.  First, the legal principle of stare decisis is too great of a burden to overcome.  Second, the Court in Roe and Casey ruled correctly in both instances.  Finally, they contended that a change to a abortion policy would “propel women backwards.”  

Who’s going to win this case?

In this case, Mississippi is fighting from a position of weakness.  It possesses a significant burden in persuading the Court to overturn an established precedent.   The Court has long held to the principle of stare decisis (“let the decision stand”), which means current decisions are largely considered in the light of previous cases on the same issue.  They utilize this to maintain a consistency in the interpretation of rights and do not deviate lightly.

In the oral arguments before the Court, the justices addressed the issue of how overturning Roe without compelling reason would damage its integrity as an institution.  Part of the Court’s history includes the fact that it is not political.  Justice Sotomayor noted, 

“Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?”  

– Justice Sonia Sotomayor

The public must understand that the Court will make the correct decision based on law, rather than what political leanings its current members have.  To rule without a heavy reliance on precedent would leave the nation in a precarious situation where the Court’s rulings would constantly flip-flop in what is or is not Constitutional.  

While conservatives might see the current ideological makeup of the Court as an advantage, the Court sees it differently.  Institutional integrity means more to the members than ideology.  This isn’t the first time anti-abortion advocates believed they had the votes to overturn Roe.  In Casey, conservatives believed the decision would fall their way.  Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, voted to reaffirm the decision in Roe.  She was the deciding vote in a 5-4 decision.

The latest appointees to the Court, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, have voted against former President Trump’s conservative wishes in a number of instances so far.  One of the significant aspects about the justices is that once they receive membership on the Court, they may act with judicial independence.  They owe the president no allegiance.  

While the Court adheres to the principle of stare decisis, it has overturned some of its previous decisions.  For instance, in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Court overturned the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ in terms of racial segregation.  

So, how does the Court know when to overturn cases?  Criteria for overturning precedent generally is fluid, but most legal experts agree on a few things:  workability, quality of reasoning, and a changed understanding of the relevant facts.

Workability refers to if the standing case set a precedent which practically wasn’t applicable for lower courts to apply.  The Court also considers the quality of reasoning from the prior case.  Did the Supreme Court err in its logic?  Finally, our understanding of facts sometimes changes.  Apply this concept in particular to the Brown case.  American society’s thoughts on racial segregation were not the same in 1954 as the precedent, which was established in 1897.  

The standards set in Roe and Casey do not appear to create an unworkable standard, regardless of one’s position on abortion.  Over 50 years have passed since the decision in Roe and courts have no problems in adjudicating the guidelines about what does or does not constitute violations of the decision.  The understanding of the facts has not changed in any way that would cause the Court to move too far from their position.  The only change in this regard might be what is a viable fetus.  In this regard, the understanding of ‘viability’ may change, but not the ruling in Casey

Can we look at the decisions in Roe and Casey and claim that the logic was flawed?  Counsel for the state of Mississippi believed so, but they focused primarily on the argument that because abortion isn’t mentioned in the Constitution, states should be free to create their own policies pertaining to the matter (via the 10th Amendment).  

The state largely ignored, however, the concept that ‘liberty’ in the 14th Amendment established the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy.  If that right is recognized by the Court, then states are obligated to permit that action.    

The final verdict 

There isn’t enough presented by the oral argument to convince justices that the logic was flawed.  Mississippi’s lead attorney objected to the logic of Roe as abstract and not grounded in history or tradition.  This ignores a number of legal traditions which are abstract, not written down but are accepted nonetheless.  The very concept of judicial review isn’t written down, but widely accepted.  This is true of a number of other legal rights which are implied, though not listed.

I believe the standard of overturning precedent is so difficult to overcome, that the pro-choice side of this argument would struggle if Roe had been decided differently.  I don’t believe the Court will overturn precedent.  It isn’t that the anti-abortion crowd doesn’t have some compelling points about the matter, but the burden, in this instance, is almost insurmountable.   

Even with the Court opting not to give Mississippi carte blanche to dictate its own abortion policy, I do believe the Court will augment its standard for the state’s interest in some capacity.  The understanding of viability in the medical community has changed since 1973, where it now believes the time frame to be 22 weeks (as opposed to 24-26 weeks originally).   

Regardless of political leanings, I believe the Court might surprise people with a ruling that uphold precedent, not because they believe abortion is the correct policy, but because they care about the institution of the Court.  Deviating on abortion now creates an even more dangerous precedent — turning the Supreme Court into a partisan political institution. 

If the Court travels down the path of political expediency rather than adherence to judicial standards, it sets the stage for constant changes in policy with the political beliefs of the justices deciding serious issues.  Trained monkeys could do that.  Much like so many of our governmental institutions, the Court’s reputation and legacy is on the line, and they aren’t about to trade it away.

Would I like to see the abortion policies of the nation change?  Without question.  Yet, I think what we will see in the near future is a need to change abortion policy through political means rather than judicial.  I believe this will include creating policies in state legislatures which will permit widespread use of contraception and better policies on sex education.  This will also include establishing valuable policies about who can perform abortions and the conditions under which they can be performed.  It should also include programs which will assist mothers who lack the financial means to raise a child.

People might ask me why I don’t believe a judicial solution is the way to go if I do not approve of abortions.  My answer is simple.  Even if the anti-abortion crowd wins this case (and there’s still a good chance of that), it won’t end legal abortions in the country.  It will only mean states are free to shape their own policies on abortion.  More liberal states like New York and California will still allow legal abortions.  Conservative states won’t allow it, and for places like Mississippi, it’s not much of a change at all.

Using political means, the power of non-profits, and religious organizations might also be useful in reducing the number of abortions.  Provide assistance and encouragement to women who are thinking about having an abortion.  There are plenty of terrible arguments for and against abortions, but the notion that pregnant women must bear personal responsibility for their actions will no longer pass the standard.  

Chief Justice Roberts is known for his dedication to the institution

The justices, in this case, will have individuals on both sides.  Justices Thomas and Alito are assuredly in the anti-abortion camp.  Newer members, Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh lean that well as well.  Justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan will land on the pro-choice side.

The two judges I believe to be wildcards are Chief Justice John Roberts and the newest appointee, Amy Coney Barrett.  Roberts is no fan of abortion, but he has demonstrated on many occasions, that his tenure as Chief Justice will be one which carefully protects the institution of the Supreme Court.  His principles come before his politics.  Upholding precedent matters to him.

Barrett represents another interesting position because she’s had a mixed history as a lower court federal judge in dealing with abortion cases.  During her Senate confirmation hearings, she also dodged questions about the matter, and her answer was fairly true — she often commented that she couldn’t explain positions on hypothetical situations.  She could only deal with actual controversies with a set of facts in front of her.  While it can be seen as carefully avoiding the issue, it’s also something that we would want a judge to actually do.  

The outcome of the cases is unlikely to please liberals or conservatives, regardless of the Court’s decision.  Legal abortions are going to continue, but likely not under the same standards.