The ruling in the case Roe v. Wade of 1973 issued by the Supreme Court of the USA, considered abortion as a protected right without any legislation, and implied the imposition of abortion on request and without alleging cause in all states. Since then, more than 65 million abortions have been performed.
The sentence was based on two serious errors:
- The existence of the fetus was denied, alleging unfounded data on the origin of life. In this way, the real conflict between the surrogate mother and the scientifically verified life of the unborn child was avoided, which is why the sentence erroneously established a conflict between the individual and the public power, which turned abortion into a fundamental right of the individual.
- The case was based on a lie, as Norma McCorvey (using the pseudonym “Jane Roe”) recognized and was proven over time. She invented that she had been raped by a group of gang members. As a result, she became pregnant and demanded an abortion. Actually the father of her baby was a person she knew and loved, as she admitted fourteen years later (1987). Norma McCorvey never spoke before the judge, she never testified, nor was she present at any of the hearings in her case, limiting herself to signing what her lawyers gave her.
Subsequently, Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling of 1992, further strengthened abortion as a fundamental right, judicially imposed by confirming the doctrine of Roe v. Wade, although it allowed states to regulate access to abortion.
Now, the U.S. Supreme Court, in the “Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization” ruling of June 24, 2022, upholds a 2018 Mississippi law. It prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, except in a medical emergency or in the case of a severe fetal abnormality.
It argues that abortion poses a profound moral issue, that the Constitution does not prohibit state citizens from regulating or prohibiting abortion, and that the Roe v. Wade and Casey rulings upheld that authority. Now those sentences are overruled and authority is returned to the people and their elected representatives.
Consequently, in the absence of rulings that granted abortion the character of a fundamental right (Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey), from now on, each of the fifty states that make up the United States of America will have the authority to legislate on abortion or even ban it.
At least 26 states (Missouri, Wisconsin, Utah, Kentucky, Louisiana, Louisiana, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, etc.) are expected to ban abortion, while 24 states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, etc.) will maintain it with almost no restrictions, as had been the case.
Alejandro López Oliva
Bioethics Observatory – Institute of Life Sciences
Catholic University of Valencia