The Wall Street Journal published a strong editorial Tuesday urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow voters to protect unborn babies’ lives again.
The newspaper editors said the court has an excellent opportunity through the Mississippi case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health to correct its 1973 abortion ruling and restore the contentious issue to the people.
“This is the moment for the Justices to turn the issue over to the voters,” the editors wrote.
Since 1973, Roe has forced states to legalize abortions up to viability and allowed abortions up to birth. In December, however, the Supreme Court heard a Mississippi case that directly challenges Roe and later abortion ruling Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
In the Dobbs case, Mississippi lawyers asked the high court to overturn Roe or, at the very least, allow states to protect unborn babies from abortion by 15 weeks, as most other countries do.
The justices are expected to issue a ruling this summer, and many believe the conservative majority will grant Mississippi’s request.
The Wall Street Journal editors said it is long past time that the court restores the issue to the people.
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“Far better for the Court to leave the thicket of abortion regulation and return the issue to the states,” the editors wrote. “A political uproar would ensue, but then voters would decide on abortion policy through elections—starting in November. . . . In Dobbs, the Court can say that such a profound moral question should be decided by the people, not by nine unelected judges.”
The editors speculated that pro-abortion lobbying groups are still trying to sway some of the justices, however, through a “ferocious lobbying campaign.”
They also wondered if Chief Justice John Roberts, a Republican appointee who sometimes sides with the leftist justices, may be trying to convince Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett to join him in a more narrow ruling that would not completely overturn Roe.
“… Chief Justice John Roberts tried during the oral argument to find a middle way,” the editors wrote.
Later, they continued:
If [Roberts] pulls another Justice to his side, he could write the plurality opinion that controls in a 6-3 decision. If he can’t, then Justice [Clarence] Thomas would assign the opinion and the vote could be 5-4. Our guess is that Justice [Samuel] Alito would then get the assignment.
The Justices first declare their votes on a case during their private conference after oral argument, but they can change their mind. That’s what the Chief did in the ObamaCare case in 2012, much to the dismay of the other conservatives. He may be trying to turn another Justice now.
Potentially, a Roberts ruling could allow states to ban or restrict abortions after 15 weeks but still force states to allow the unrestricted killing of unborn babies in abortions before that point. In contrast, many believe Thomas or Alito would completely overturn Roe.
“We hope [Roberts] doesn’t succeed—for the good of the Court and the country,” the Wall Street Journal editors wrote. “The Chief’s middle ground might be explainable with some legal dexterity, but it would prolong the Court’s abortion agony.”
Abortion activists still would be angry at the court for restricting abortions, and pro-life state leaders would continue passing pro-life laws in attempts to challenge Roe, they continued. Much better to overturn Roe completely and let American voters decide, the editors told the court.
“After a series of elections, abortion law will sort itself out democratically. That had started to happen before the Supreme Court intervened in Roe, embittering the abortion debate and damaging the Court,” they concluded. “In Dobbs, the Court can say that such a profound moral question should be decided by the people, not by nine unelected judges.”
Since 1973, more than 63 million unborn babies and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of mothers have died in supposedly “safe, legal” abortions. If Roe is overturned, researchers predict more than half of states would strongly restrict or ban abortions and hundreds of thousands of unborn babies’ lives would be saved from abortion every year.