If Abortion Goes Back To The States

If SCOTUS overturns Roe v. Wade, this is widely believed to have the effect of giving States the role of legislating on abortion. Then, it is assumed, conservative States would choose to outlaw abortion almost entirely, while liberal States would allow abortion almost without restriction. Prolifers are in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade (Roe). But I think that the results of such a SCOTUS decision would be worse than not overturning it.

My Position

Overturning Roe will likely cause the Congress, once they are able, to pass a bill making abortion legal in all three trimesters throughout the U.S. This would remove restrictions on abortion in many conservative States, leading to abortion on demand. That’s worse, not better. And if Congress is not able to do so, they will as soon as they are able. The Democrats will eventually have a majority in both houses. The individual conservative States might fight such a federal law, under States Rights, but a win on that point is unlikely.

The midterm elections are this year, and many conservative Republicans are nevertheless against outlawing abortion. This is a very emotional issue. The Media are already claiming, falsely, that overturning Roe will lead to banning contraception, IVF, and even to an end to same-sex marriage. People often vote based on emotion. If Roe is overturned, it seems very likely that the Democrats will win the midterm elections by a landslide, possibly having 60 or more Democrats in the Senate, allowing them to end debate on any issue and bring any bill to a vote. This could have negative repercussions, from a conservative as well as Catholic point of view, on many issues.

The same could happen in many red States. Democrats could increase in power in the States, worsening the abortion situation further, and reducing the influence of Catholic conservatives over State as well as federal politics.

The issue is so emotional and so weighty to politicians and voters that a plan to pack the Court, and add multiple new Supreme Court Justices, after the midterms, might pass. The result would be a quick end to the current new conservative dominance of the Court.

Another problem, even if much of the above does not happen, is that abortion has so much strong support among many persons in healthcare, even in conservative States, that abortion might move from clinics into hospitals. Would doctors and nurses really perform abortions in a State where it is outlawed? Yes, I think many of them would. It will be like Prohibition, where the Constitutional amendment and subsequent laws against drinking alcohol were widely and systematically undermined, opposed, and violated.

Direct abortion is intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral. But we cannot force a nation to adhere to Catholic teaching. The U.S. population is not mostly Catholic, and many Catholics do not adhere to Catholic teaching on contraception, abortifacient contraception, and even abortion. Instead, we must change hearts and minds. Only by repentance and conversion can abortion end.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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1 Response to If Abortion Goes Back To The States

  1. James Belcher says:

    I agree that abortion will only lessen when people have a change in hearts and minds. Only the citizens of the USA can obliterate this grave and evil act by electing the representatives giving their support to end this immorality. Will this ever happen? Probably not. It most probably will lessen when the Warning and Miracle occurs.
    SCOTUS is only trying to right the wrong in 1973 when the supreme court ruled in favor of Roe versus Wade. Several justices had come forth many years later and said we tried to legislate this hot-button issue and were wrong in doing so.
    The possible outcomes you have stated might and probably will happen but SCOTUS must only adhere to the constitution. It is only the people and their government representatives pushing for this horrific, misguided evil act. I hope that I am wrong but it seems to me. the USA, a once proud nation might be on the verge of a civil war again to right the wrongs of the past 60 years, This would include abortion, decline of civil liberties; government protecting a chosen few and not all citizens. The breakdown of society as a whole has become a cesspool of immorality. I fear, should the Warning and Miracle not occur soon, the USA will not be recognizable to its prior generations of citizens..

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