In one of the most highly-anticipated Supreme Court decisions in a generation, the nation’s high court sent shockwaves through the country Friday morning when it overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
The decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization puts an end to 50 years of federal protections for abortion, clearing the way for states to restrict or ban the practice. The decision in itself does not make abortion illegal but allows states to set their own laws.
“We do not pretend to know how our political system or society will respond to today’s decision overruling Roe and Casey. And even if we could foresee what will happen, we would have no authority to let that knowledge influence our decision. We can only do our job, which is to interpret the law, apply longstanding principles of stare decisis, and decide this case accordingly,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion.
“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,” he continued.
The case revolved around a 2018 Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, earlier than the court allowed in Roe v. Wade.
Pro-life groups across the state reacted in celebration to Friday’s decision, calling it a “monumental victory” for children, mothers, and the pro-life cause.
“The Constitution does not mandate abortion-on-demand, as Roe v. Wade falsely claimed. Today’s ruling returns to the American people the ability to decide their own abortion policies, restoring the constitutional separation of powers between the branches of government,” Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Executive Director Scott Fischbach said in a statement.
“Although Dobbs will not cause any immediate change in Minnesota, those of us in the pro-life movement will strive to protect the human rights of human beings in the womb and to support and empower their mothers. We will work harder than ever to love both mother and child,” he continued.
Minnesota’s Catholic bishops, representing one of the strongest allies to the pro-life movement, said they “give thanks to God on this historic day.”
“For almost 50 years, Roe grievously denied one of America’s founding principles: that all men and women — irrespective of their stage of development — are created equal, with God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Forgetting this self-evident truth has resulted in the death of over 60 million preborn children and the wounding of millions of mothers and fathers,” they said in a joint statement.
In Minnesota, the right to an abortion remains intact because of the 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision of Doe v. Gomez, which the bishops described as “our own version of Roe v. Wade.” It is unlikely to be overturned without the passage of a state constitutional amendment or a change in the makeup of the Minnesota Supreme Court.
“Abortion advocates want people to believe that abortion promises liberation, but instead, it leads to sadness, pain, and the death of a human being,” the bishops said. “We ask all Minnesotans to join our efforts to combat a throwaway culture, foster prenatal justice, and create a state where love prevails.”
Pro-Life Action Ministries and the Minnesota Family Council plan to host a rally Friday night at 5 p.m. outside the Warren E. Burger Federal Building and Courthouse, which is named for the man who served as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court when Roe v. Wade was decided.
“Abortion is a toxic act,” said Minnesota Family Council CEO John Helmberger. “Not only does it kill an innocent child and inflict lasting emotional and physical damage on women who undergo it, but it has a pernicious effect on our society as a whole. Our nation has been stained with the blood of innocent children, and like Lady Macbeth we have found that the stain will not come out without a dramatic change.”