Is Roe Unraveling?

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will take up a major abortion case in the next session. That means sometime between October 2021 and June or early July of 2022 we will have a decision on the following question: are all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions “unconstitutional?” 

This will be the first abortion-related case for Justice Amy Coney Barrett since she was confirmed. An article published May 17 on Slate, a website well known for a pro-choice editorial position, said, “Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that SCOTUS took up on Monday, is not a subtle threat to Roe. It is, rather, a direct challenge to decades of pro-choice precedent.”

That is exactly what we are counting on! The last major decision on abortion was Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992. 

At that time, many in the pro-life movement believed that Roe would be overturned. Instead, the central holding of Roe, a “right” to abortion, was upheld. There were two significant changes to how states could address abortion. “Replacing the trimester formula in Roe with an emphasis on viability, the plurality found that a fetus could become viable earlier than when Roe was decided, and it held that a state could ban abortion once a fetus becomes viable unless the health of the mother was at risk. Its other notable revision of Roe was its replacement of strict scrutiny with an undue burden standard that was more lenient to the state.” (Justia.com)

Since this decision, pro-life legislators and governors have worked on and, in some cases, passed numerous protective laws for the unborn. In fact, 2021 was a banner year for pro-life bills. According to Ms. Magazine, “Anti-abortion lawmakers have passed significantly more abortion restrictions in 2021 than in the first four months of 2011—the year previously regarded as the most hostile to abortion rights since Roe—when states enacted 42 restrictions by the end of April, including six bans.”

These legislative successes are the result of many years of work. A ruling that answers “yes” to the question taken up in the Mississippi case will open up even more opportunities to craft life-saving bills.

Here in Oregon, we have worked for decades to elect a pro-life legislature and a pro-life governor. We have put measures on the ballot only to be defeated. Before we can elect a majority or pass legislation, we need more voters who care about this issue in Oregon. That starts with you!

The upcoming case gives pro-life advocates an exciting opportunity to discuss abortion in our communities as news reports highlight the upcoming case. Let me rephrase that, it’s not just an opportunity — it is a responsibility! We can help equip you to be confident and prepared for these conversations with training to influence your family and friends in a profound way.

Equal Rights Insistute’s Equipped for Life course was developed after thousands of conversations with pro-choice people on college campuses across the country. We have invested in purchasing courses in bulk. That means for just a $5 donation to Oregon Right to Life, you can take the course and access some of the other excellent resources provided. If you are interested in learning more or just want to sign up, you can email Nickie at nickie@ortl.org.

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