For half a century, Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113 (1973), and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U. S. 833 (1992), have protected the liberty and equality of women. Roe held, and Casey reaffirmed, that the Constitution safeguards a woman’s right to decide for herself whether to bear a child. Roe held, and Casey reaffirmed, that in the first stages of pregnancy, the government could not make that choice for women. The government could not control a woman’s body or the course of a woman’s life: It could not determine what the woman’s future would be.
Dobbs v. Jackson; DISSENT; Justice Breyer, Justice Sotomayor, and Justice Kagan
“One of the tragedies of today is that this decision destabilises the Court,” said Joyce Vance on MSNBC this morning. And, in a sense, I agree. But while she is viewing and analysing this decision from a legal perspective—that of a former DA and a constitutional law professor, to be more precise—I am looking at today’s decision from a human perspective. I am not a lawyer, I am not a scholar. I am not a woman. But I am a person with personal morals, a code of ethics, empathy, and compassion. And I understand that this decision, as much as it proclaims not to do so, has grave implications for the personal privacy rights which have been constitutionally protected through the precedent of Roe and the 14th Amendment. From that perspective, I would say that the destabilisation of the Court is one of many tragedies accompanying the Dobbs decision, but it is far, far down the list of lesser evils.
Just yesterday, the Court held in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen that the right to carry a gun is so fundamental that it cannot be regulated by the states through concealed carry permitting. And then today, the Court has, for the first time in its history, stripped away a many-times-reaffirmed constitutional right. This is the height of the “judicial activism” the Right has been screaming and bellyaching about for decades. This is radical. This is dangerous. This will—no mistake, it will—kill people. Women will die from ectopic pregnancies, complications, and suicide.
I’ve said as much as I can say about this opinion for now already. I’m too exhausted, too tired, too upset to opine about the final decision again, yet. And I’d like to reread the text of the opinion at least one more time before I speak on its reasoning at all. Again, I am not a scholar…
What I will say for now is that this decision is very, very dangerous. And it’s only the beginning of right-wing activism from the bench that we can expect to see for the foreseeable future, thanks to the Trumplican war machine and our own lack of focus and engagement over the last 40 years on the Left. In the decision, there is the very real implication that other Privacy Rights cases like Obergefell, Lawrence, and Griswold should and will be reconsidered—Justice Thomas practically begging the Right to challenge these settled cases anew—so that the Court can overturn them as well. We are not safe. So, we must fight.