Supreme Court not likely to end abortion

This is not what you want to hear: The Supreme Court is unlikely to overturn Roe vs Wade. America has lost more than a generation of preborn citizens since the decision to legalize abortion in 1973. The precedent of previous courts all the way back to 1973 is going to be a huge factor, as indicated by Chief Justice John Roberts’ words in the very latest case. In joining the pro-abortion liberal judges, Roberts wrote that the decision to strike down a Louisiana law requiring abortion performing doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals was “controlled by our decision four years ago invalidating a nearly identical Texas law.” Essentially, Roberts telegraphed that reversing Roe vs Wade is unlikely.

While not joining the SCOTUS liberals in their majority opinion, Roberts was the swing vote siding with those who wish to keep infanticide legal. In his concurrence with the decision, Roberts wrote: “The legal doctrine of stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike. The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore, Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.” Stare decisis is the legal doctrine of adhering to principles established by decisions in earlier cases. This means that once a determination on a law is established, it would take extraordinary circumstances to overturn it.

When Roberts was asked during his confirmation hearings in 2005 whether he would follow the doctrine of stare decisis, he answered in the affirmative. In responding to a question from Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA), he replied, “there is nothing in my personal view based on faith or other sources that would prevent me from applying the precedents of the court faithfully in accord with the principles of stare decisis.” Later, Roberts reiterated: “My faith and my religious beliefs do not play a role in my judging. I look to the law. I do not look to the Bible or other religious books.” I remember discussing this with several prominent religious and political leaders at the time. They said Roberts was just playing to the liberal Democrats to get confirmed. Not so. At the time, many of us believed that Roberts meant what he said. And it is showing now.

States should continue passing laws that restrict abortions. The result of the law in Louisiana was mentioned by Justice Stephen Breyer in his majority opinion: “Approximately 10,000 women obtain abortions in Louisiana each year. At the outset of this litigation, those women were served by six doctors at five abortion clinics. By the time the [district] court rendered its decision, two of those clinics had closed, and one of the doctors had retired.” States need to continue their creative approach toward ending abortion because the Supreme Court will not likely do it. Meantime, the church must continue to find loving and nonjudgmental ways to educate about and provide alternatives to abortion. Changing hearts is important. As in Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

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Bill Wilson

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