United States

U.S. Supreme Court debates decisive battle for life

The leak of the possible end of the "constitutional right to abortion" in the United States, established by the 1973 Supreme Court ruling, known as the Roe vs. Wade can be an opportunity for the Church, pro-life groups and different Christian denominations to pray and join efforts to raise awareness of the need to protect human life.

Gonzalo Meza-May 12, 2022-Reading time: 4 minutes
right to life

Photo:©CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters

Translation of the article into German

"There is no right in the U.S. Constitution that protects abortion. It is time to pay attention to the Magna Carta and leave that matter in the hands of the elected representatives in each state". This is one of the sentences of the opinion of Justice Samuel Alito, one of the 9 justices of the Supreme Court of Justice of the United States (SCJ), whose text was leaked by the website Politico on May 2.

The Supreme Court noted that this is an authentic text, illegally subtracted, but does not constitute a verdict of the Court, but only reflects Justice Alito's opinion on the "Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization" case, which challenges a Mississippi state law prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

However, even if it is not a unanimous or final verdict, Justice Alito's leaked text could essentially summarize the opinion of the other 5 conservative Supreme Court justices on abortion.

If this opinion were to be finalized, and adopted, it would mark the end of the "constitutional right to abortion" in the United States, established by the 1973 Supreme Court opinion known as the Roe vs. Wade.

The judges' verdict at the end of their deliberations in the coming days or weeks could overturn a series of landmark rulings that have been used to portray abortion as a "constitutionally protected human right. These verdicts include Roe v. Wade (1973), Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) and other lower court rulings.

The key: the right to life

Since Politico leaked this document, numerous pro-abortion contingents have demonstrated in various parts of the country, from Capitol Hill to the headquarters of pro-life groups and even in churches. Many of these demonstrations have not been peaceful.

Likewise, media outlets, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, have devoted dozens of pages and entire sections to the abortion issue defending "a woman's right to choose".

For their part, dozens of American multinational companies have indicated that, if the right to abortion were revoked, they would offer financial support to their employees to guarantee access to the procedure. Democratic Party politicians have also expressed their "indignation" and their fierce defense of "a woman's right to choose".

In fact, a few days ago, Democratic senators introduced a bill to make abortion a federal right. That initiative failed miserably, hampered by the opposition of the Republican majority in the Upper House.

 In addition, President Joe Biden - a staunch defender of abortion despite being a self-professed Catholic - and his administration have opened another battle front. After the release of Judge Alito's document, President Biden stated: "My administration has ardently defended the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. It is a precedent that recognizes the Fourteenth Amendment concept of personal liberty, which protects citizens from government interference in deeply personal decisions. I believe that a woman's right to choose is fundamental. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs Wade, The country's elected officials at all levels of government will be tasked with protecting this right.

Pandora's Box

Justice Alito's opinion and his conclusion that would override the "constitutional right" to abortion to let each state in the nation decide that question addresses one of the pillars of American federalism. Under the federalist system each state is independent. They have their own executive, legislative and judicial branches and have their own constitution that cannot contravene the Magna Carta.

In a country so geographically, socially and demographically diverse, with states so dissimilar in their history and traditions, the federalist system is the only one capable of guaranteeing the functioning of such a complex and diverse nation. Such divergences also include moral-legal issues, among them abortion. Traditionalist states such as Texas, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina restrict and even prohibit abortion. While in other liberal states such as California, Colorado and New York, abortion is protected.

The work of the churches

José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, California, has invited Catholics to a day of prayer and fasting on May 13, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, to ask that Roe v. Wade be overturned and that the hearts of those who defend abortion be converted.

The bishops have also asked the faithful to pray for the integrity of the Judicial System, "so that the three powers may seek to protect the dignity and rights of the human person, from conception to natural death".

One of the fronts on which the Church and the different Christian denominations should work is the conversion of the hearts of those who defend abortion.

A primary task will be to unmask the pro-abortion narrative, widely disseminated by the media and social networks, which present abortion as "a fundamental human right, a constitutional right: a woman's right to decide about her body".

Justice Alito in his text is blunt: "Abortion does not fall under the category of constitutional right since, until the latter part of the twentieth century, such a right was totally unknown in American law.

In fact, when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted (1868), three-fourths of the states listed abortion as a crime at any stage of gestation."

Although this illegally leaked document is an opinion of Justice Alito and does not represent a verdict of all Supreme Court justices, it does touch on perhaps the most sensitive issue in American public opinion: abortion. This could open a pandora's box that would further exacerbate the extreme polarization in the country.

However, it can also be an opportunity for the Church, pro-life groups and different Christian denominations to pray and join efforts to raise awareness of the need to protect human life from conception to natural death, thus unmasking the false abortionist narrative that for half a century has presented abortion as a "constitutional right: a woman's right to decide over her body." According to Justice Alito, such a right does not exist and never was. Abortion is simply the elimination of a human life in the womb.

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