So, What Does the Dobbs Decision Mean?
The Dallas County Republican Party (DCRP) is thankful for today's decision by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson that overrules Roe v. Wade and sends the matter of abortion to the states for legislative solutions.
After 49 years of our pro-life efforts being hamstrung by a wrong-decided judicial fiat, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down both Roe v. Wade and Casey v Planned Parenthood on Friday, June 24, 2022, in a 6-3 decision as laid out in a 213-page decision styled as Dobbs v. Jackson.
After the abortions that were allowed in Roe and Casey resulted in the killing of approximately 63 million babies in the womb, the Supreme Court finally overturned both Roe and Casey and returned the highly-charged issues of abortions to the states. As a result of Dobbs, the question of abortion will be ultimately and properly decided by the people and their elected representatives rather than by judicial activism from the bench acting improperly as faux-legislature.
Already, many states either have ended abortion in their state or are in the process of doing so. Yes, unfortunately, other states will be protecting abortions within their states.
As many have long held, both Roe and Casey were incorrectly decided, damaging and lacked any basis showing abortion as a constitutional right in the United States Constitution. The justices of the Court decided that they had no choice but to overrule both of the past cases (Roe and Casey) and return the question of abortion to the individual States, ultimately to the people and their elected representatives.
Rather than nine justices in Washington, DC, the issue of abortion will be decided by the will of the people. The Dobbs decision upholds the concept that amending the Constitution CAN NOT be accomplished by judicial fiat, even by a majority of the justices on the Supreme Court. In Dobbs, the Supreme Court holds that there is no abortion right enumerated in the Constitution so any right to abortions or prohibition of abortions must be decided by laws enacted in legislation by duly elected representatives of the people. In the absence of any federal statute enacted in the last 49 years, the issue reverts to the individual states and their legislators.
We applaud this decision and the bravery of the justices writing and concurring in the majority decision and taking the necessary action. We also rejoice that we can protect the lives of all unborn children in Texas.
Statement From the Texas Republican Party
Austin, TX, Release: June 24, 2022 — For Immediate Release
The United States Supreme Court issued their final opinion today in Dobbs v. Jackson, which reversed Roe v Wade and Casey v Planned Parenthood and will allow the voters of each state to decide whether to give legal protection to their unborn children. The Texas Legislature has already passed HB1280, commonly known as the triggering bill, which will outlaw all abortion in Texas in 30 days.
Republican Party of Texas Chairman Matt Rinaldi said, “Today is a historic day which Republicans and Pro-Life advocates have waited for a generation. It will be remembered in history as the day the United States of America reversed one of the most unjust, damaging and plainly incorrect judicial decisions in it’s history. Thankfully, the left’s egregious attack on our government institutions failed, and justice was done. We also are grateful for the work of Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, Sen. Angela Paxton, and the Republican and Democrat legislators who passed the law which will now protect the lives of all unborn children in Texas.
“The Republican Party of Texas continues to support facilitating adoptions and providing assistance to mothers in need both during and after their pregnancies. During the 87th Texas Legislature funding was greatly increased for the Alternatives to Abortion program, which received a total of $100 million for the biennium. This program gives mothers access to needed resources during and after their pregnancy. The program assists new mothers and their children by providing items like diapers, formula, car seats, and classes on pregnancy and parenting. Additionally, private nonprofit crisis pregnancy centers like Birth Choice in Dallas, the Trotter House in Austin, and Houston Pregnancy Help Center in Houston provide services to assist mothers both during and after pregnancy.”
Yes, This is a Very Political Issue and Will Remain So!
As easily imagined, the Democrats are using Friday's Supreme Court decision on abortion to rally their base. Nancy Pelosi started fund-raising off of the Supreme Court decision by Friday afternoon. Facing strong headwinds on many issues and pushback from the public on a very unpopular Joe Biden himself, Democrats are hoping that they finally have an issue that will fire up their base and turn them out in November. Their deepest wish is to pick up some additional independent voters so they can hold onto Congress in November.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has already suggested on social media that voters should remove pro-life Democrats from office at municipal, state and federal levels.
The Democrats HOPE(!) they can keep control of their majorities in Congress. We should fully expect they will do everything they can, including over-the-top rhetoric and misinformation that fits their narrative. From some quarters, they will likely even encourage violence.
It remains to be seen how effective the Democrats will be in getting their voters to the polls. It is too soon to see if the desperate rhetoric and tactics will move the needle.
In reality, the issue of abortion SHOULD be decided at the ballot box one way or the other.
This is a very important issue in protecting children in the womb BUT it is also an important political issue. The Democrats would love to get control of Congress in order to pass a sweeping national abortion bill and get it signed into law by a compliant President.
Yes, what the Democrats will hope to accomplish will be an uphill battle because they have NOT been able to accomplish codifying abortion into federal law since Roe was first decided. However, that doesn't mean that the abortion issue won't be used to at least try to win at the ballot box in November. If they do, there will then be a battle in Congress that will attempt to assert federal control over abortion in a bill put forth by the Democrats.
As Republicans, we cannot let this happen. Just as the Democrats hope to turn out their base on pro-choice issues (a.k.a. killing children any time up through birth), we MUST turn out our base for protecting the lives of the unborn and bring a lot of independents with us. This is a clarion call for Republicans to redouble our efforts in winning in November.
Yes, rejoice that we reached a major milestone in Dobbs but DO NOT think that the war is over. We must continue to fight to preserve the protection of unborn children for years to come.
The pro-life movement is entering a new phase; one that will shift to passing State legislation that protects unborn babies, build pro-family policies and build support systems for women. Yes, the process will be loud and indeed be messy. The States now clearly have the authority to follow the will of their people.
There has been a tremendous amount of disinformation, political rhetoric, or hype coming from Democrat elected officials and activists since Friday. We will attempt to answer some of the over-the-top misinformation below.
What did the Supreme Court say specifically?
The ruling of the Supreme Court was handed down on Friday, June 24, 2022, in the case styled "DOBBS, STATE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL. v. JACKSON WOMEN’S HEALTH ORGANIZATION ET AL. "
In shorthand, it is called "Dobbs v. Jackson" or just "Dobbs."
Page 1 (in the PDF) in the syllabus of the decision states:
"Held: The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives."
The whole ruling can be read and downloaded from the Supreme Court's website at https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/19-1392_6j37.pdf
We STRONGLY recommend you download the entire decision and read it carefully. It is clearly written and you don't have to be an attorney to follow its reasoning and understand the ruling.
On what basis was this decided?
The majority of the Justices in this decision could not find a basis in the Constitution that gave the power to the Court in either the Roe v. Wade or the Planned Parenthood v. Casey cases to uphold abortion as a constitutional right.
On page 76 (of the PDF) of the decision, the Court states:
"The Casey plurality also misjudged the practical limits of this Court’s influence. Roe certainly did not succeed in ending division on the issue of abortion. On the contrary, Roe “inflamed” a national issue that has remained bitterly divisive for the past half century. Casey, 505 U. S., at 995 (opinion of Scalia, J.); see also R. Ginsburg, Speaking in a Judicial Voice, 67 N. Y. U. L. Rev. 1185, 1208 (1992) (Roe may have “halted a political process,” “prolonged divisiveness,” and “deferred stable settlement of the issue”). And for the past 30 years, Casey has done the same. "
The reasoning was such a divisive issue and was never fought out in the political process that, while loud and emotional, would have at some point resulted in an up-or-down vote that would start the process of closure. By ruling solely by judicial fiat, the abortion issue was never settled among the people (as in "we the people.").
On page 77 (of the PDF) of the decision, the Court states:
"We therefore hold that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives. "
In addition to the Consitution not conferring a right to an abortion, note that there was no federal statute on which federal authority over abortion was codified. Have you ever wondered why the Democrat-controlled Congress and White House didn't make such a law in 2009 when Barack Obama was President and the Democrats controlled not only the House of Representatives but also held 60 seats in the Senate that provided a filibuster-proof path to pass any law they wished including a federal law that would legalize abortion?
It was not just that the Justices could not find any basis for federal control in the Constitution but also the lack of any federal law to codify abortion provided nothing for the Justices to review. Roe was handed down in 1973. Since then, 49 years have passed and there has never been a process of Congress passing a bill after what would have been a heated debate that would grant abortion rights and, therefore, one was never signed into law by an accommodating President. The ledger is blank and therefore nothing for the justices to review. The only authority for abortion was the incorrectly-decoded judicial constructs found in Roe and Casey and created solely by a majority of justices on the Supreme Court. In other words, all claims for abortion rights hung on only judicial fiat.
In short, the effect of Dobbs is that rather than abortion being decided by nine justices in Washington, the power to decide abortion rights was handed back to the States, their individual legislatures, and the tens of millions of people they represent. Or, alternatively, the U.S. Congress could take up the issue but until then, the individual States will decide.
This decision basically upholds the concept that amending the Constitution CAN NOT be accomplished by judicial fiat, even by the Supreme Court.
We strongly suggest that you read the full text of the decision where the majority of the Justices state their legal reasoning for their conclusions.
Is abortion outlawed in the United States?
Dobbs v. Jackson does NOT outlaw abortion in the United States. Instead, it refers to the issue of the States' legislatures passing state laws in accordance with the will of their people.
Yes, it does mean that there will be no one uniform national law (or holding) governing abortion in the United States. Yes, laws will most assuredly vary from state to state just as many other laws do. The will of the people will vary from state to state and the various state laws will reflect that.
Many states like Texas will have more restrictive laws and some states like California and New York will have more permissive laws. All will be in keeping with the will of the people in each state.
What is the current status in Texas?
Ken Paxton, the Attorney General of the State of Texas issued the following statement on Friday, June 24, 2022:
"Today the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), thus bringing an end to a half-century of the unconstitutional and unconscionable national “right” to abortion. Attorney General Paxton also released an official advisory setting forth Texas law in light of the Supreme Court’s decision. Additionally, he announced the statewide closure of his agency’s offices today in honor of the nearly 70 million unborn babies killed in the womb since 1973. June 24th will be an annual Office of the Attorney General holiday in recognition of this momentous decision—and the many lives lost before it. "
“Roe v. Wade and its successor case Planned Parenthood v. Casey have absolutely no basis in the U.S. Constitution,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Nevertheless, for half a century, Americans have had to live under these illegitimate, illegal, and unconstitutional dictates of a partisan, willful Supreme Court. No more. Today, the question of abortion returns to the states. And in Texas, that question has already been answered: abortion is illegal here. I look forward to defending the pro-life laws of Texas and the lives of all unborn children moving forward.”
“Further,” added Attorney General Paxton, “we cannot forget the extraordinary violence that Roe and Casey unleashed on our nation. Because of those decisions, almost 70 million babies have been killed in the womb. And so, today at noon, I am closing all my offices as a memorial to these babies. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of them. Never again should something like this happen in America.”
News media report that many (if not all) abortion providers have already ceased to provide abortions in the State of Texas. Some other States have stopped as well.
Will the reasoning in Dobbs lead to other "cancelation of Rights"?
Technically, this is a bit of a loaded question because the "right to abortion" never existed in the Consitution or any Federal statute. It has existed only from a wrongly-decided ruling of the Supreme Court in first the Roe opinion and then in the later Casey opinion.
However, to directly answer the question anyway, in its decision, the Court specifically says a loud, "NO!" The Dobbs decision DOES NOT call into question anything but abortion.
This alarmist message that Dobbs will be used to reverse other cases has been put forth falsely since Friday to cause fear.
On page 79 (of the PDF file) of the decision, the Court specifically states:
"Finally, the dissent suggests that our decision calls into question Griswold, Eisenstadt, Lawrence, and Obergefell. Post, at 4–5, 26–27, n. 8. But we have stated unequivocally that “[n]othing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” Supra, at 66. We have also explained why that is so: rights regarding contraception and same-sex relationships are inherently different from the right to abortion because the latter (as we have stressed) uniquely involves what Roe and Casey termed “potential life.” Roe, 410 U. S., at 150 (emphasis deleted); Casey, 505 U. S., at 852. Therefore, a right to abortion cannot be justified by a purported analogy to the rights recognized in those other cases or by “appeals to a broader right to autonomy.” Supra, at 32. It is hard to see how we could be clearer."
Why wasn't Roe considered "settled law" under the stare decisis doctrine?
The Court corrected Roe and Casey because stare decisis is NOT, and never has been, an absolute. The Supreme Court has broken with stare decisis 145 times in cases requiring interpretation of the Constitution. Dobbs is just the latest. So, it does happen relatively rarely, but it does happen.
Professor Orin Kerr of the University of California Berkeley School of Law writes:
"The argument against stare decisis is a simple one: It’s the Supreme Court’s job to get it right, and the Justices can’t get it right if they follow past decisions that may have gotten it wrong. As a result, the Supreme Court should always try to get it right, and it should only follow past cases to the extent the current Justices think the old decisions are correct. The goal should be loyalty to the Constitution, not loyalty to old cases by old courts."
If stare decisis was an absolute immutable doctrine to be applied blindly, one has to look no further to find absurdity in the also wrongly-decided Supreme Court's ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) where the Court held that the Constitution was not meant to include American citizenship for people of African descent, regardless of whether they were enslaved or free, and so the rights and privileges that the Constitution confers upon American citizens could not apply to them. That decision was egregious wrongly-decided and offensive.
Does anyone seriously suggest that through the blind application of stare decisis that Dred Scott should have remained the law of the land and even be applied today?
Of course not! The Supreme Court has the right and an obligation to correct itself to stay true to the Constitution.
By the way, Justice Antonin Scalia made the comparison between Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) and Dred Scott in an effort to see Roe v. Wade overturned. In his dissent in Casey, Justice Scalia wrote, "Dred Scott ... rested upon the concept of "substantive due process" that the Court praises and employs today. Indeed, Dred Scott was very possibly the first application of substantive due process in the Supreme Court, the original precedent for... Roe v. Wade."
In Friday's decision, the Court rejects the application of substantive due process in both Roe and Casey just as it was ultimately rejected in the Dred Scott decision.
Won't the new abortion laws hinder or make criminal birth control and medical care for women for things like ectopic pregnancies?
The Texas law defines what is considered "abortion" and then further protects certain medical treatments by specifically defining them as "NOT ABORTIONS."
The text of the Texas statute states:
"Abortion" means the act of using or prescribing an instrument, a drug, a medicine, or any other substance, device, or means with the intent to cause the death of an unborn child of a woman known to be pregnant.
The term does not include birth control devices or oral contraceptives. An act is not an abortion if the act is done with the intent to:
(A) save the life or preserve the health of an unborn child;
(B) remove a dead, unborn child whose death was caused by spontaneous abortion; or
(C) remove an ectopic pregnancy.
(4-a) "Ectopic pregnancy" means the implantation of a fertilized egg or embryo outside of the uterus.
The Texas law is pretty much the generally-accepted method of defining ectopic pregnancies and its treatment is not defined as an abortion.