Hailed by many as a pro-life hero, the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia never was shy about explaining how the Constitution does not grant women a so-called right to abortion.
Scalia was found dead on Saturday morning at a Texas resort, LifeNews reported. Authorities say he died of natural causes. He was 79.
Many pro-life groups mourned Scalia’s death over the weekend, calling him a pro-life hero for consistently rejecting the flawed reasoning of Roe v. Wade. In numerous interviews and speeches, Scalia called Roe bad case law and said he would vote to overturn it if a case reached his desk
Here are some of Scalia’s strong statements about life:
“You want a right to abortion? There’s nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn’t mean you cannot prohibit it.”
Scalia made the statement during a 2011 interview with the California Lawyer. He called Roe v. Wade an “absurdity,” saying the Constitution’s 14th Amendment doesn’t guarantee equal protection for women in a way that could be construed as allowing abortion on demand.
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“My view is that regardless of whether you think prohibiting abortion is good or whether you think prohibiting abortion is bad, regardless of how you come out on that, my only point is the Constitution does not say anything about it. It leaves it up to democratic choice. Some states prohibited it and some states didn’t. What Roe vs. Wade said was that no state can prohibit it. That is simply not in the Constitution.”
In a 2012 interview with CNN host Piers Morgan, Scalia pointed out the over-reaching effects of Roe, which struck down pro-life laws in dozens of states across the country and opened the doors to abortion for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy. The high court justice said states should have the ability to determine their own abortion laws.
“The death penalty? Give me a break. It’s easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion.”
In 2012, Scalia said his decisions on abortion cases were some of the easiest for him, according to the AP. He said he was sure that abortion is not a protected liberty in the Constitution.
“But some of the liberties the Supreme Court has found to be protected by that word—liberty—nobody thought constituted a liberty when the 14th Amendment was adopted. Abortion? It was criminal in all the states.”
In 2010, Scalia told a crowd at the University of Richmond in Virginia that the founders of the nation never envisioned a right to an abortion when drafting the Constitution. He added that the Constitution should be taken literally rather than interpreted to include rights not intended to be protected under law.
“It thus appears that the mansion of constitutional abortion law, constructed overnight in Roe, must be dissembled doorjamb by doorjamb, and never entirely brought down, no matter how wrong it may be.”
In his 1989 dissent in the abortion case Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, Scalia expressed his frustration that the court would not overturn Roe, even though he thought many of the justices believed it was bad case law. Almost two decades later, Scalia’s dissenting words hold true. Though the high court has allowed some protections for unborn life since then by banning partial-birth abortion and upholding informed consent laws, pro-lifers continue to work to overturn Roe and restore full protections for unborn babies.
“You’re allowing five out of nine hotshot lawyers to run the country.”
Scalia said this in 2010 to point out the dangers of allowing the Supreme Court to create rights not enumerated by the Constitution – such as the so-called right to an abortion. He said the job of the high court justices is not to make law, as they did with Roe, but to interpret the Constitution.
On the push to govern America like countries in Europe, Scalia said, “I will become a believer in the ingenuousness, though never the propriety, of the Court’s newfound respect for the wisdom of foreign minds when it applies that wisdom in the abortion cases.”
During a 2010 conference sponsored by the Mississippi College School of Law, Scalia pointed out how those who advocate using foreign law do so selectively and ignore how many foreign laws oppose abortion and how foreign courts have issued decisions allowing pro-life laws and abortion restrictions. Scalia recognized that Roe v. Wade was extreme in allowing abortion for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy, something very few countries around the world allow.
“On controversial issues on stuff like … abortion, we debate with each other and persuade each other and vote on it either through representatives or a constitutional amendment.”
In a 2006 debate with ACLU President Nadine Strossen, Scalia made the point that unelected judges have no business in formulating public policy on highly-charged political issues like abortion. Instead, those decisions should be best left to lawmakers or the public. Discussing pro-abortion judges who created a right to abortion, Scalia warned Strossen, “Someday, you’re going to get a very conservative Supreme Court and regret that approach.”
Scalia’s unexpected death comes just a month before the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear an important abortion case out of Texas. In Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the high court will consider whether Texas House Bill 2 creates an “undue burden” for women to get abortions by requiring that abortion facilities meet certain health and safety standards. The law has been credited with saving the lives of more than 10,000 unborn children.