Overturning Roe: The GOP sees an opening
“Finally, Republicans are saying what they have always meant about abortion,” said Lauren Rankin in NBCNews.com. Last week, 205 GOP members of Congress (plus two centrist Democrats) signed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, dropping their usual doublespeak about their concern for “the health and safety of women.” In the brief, Republicans said Roe had created an “unworkable standard” for states crafting their own abortion restrictions. With a firm 5-4 conservative majority, Republicans are seizing on the Supreme Court’s upcoming review of a Louisiana law that would require abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges—a rule designed to close the state’s abortion clinics. The justices struck down an “indistinguishable” Texas law just four years ago, said Mark Stern in Slate.com. “In a remarkable act of chutzpah,” Republicans are saying the Texas ruling left states confused about how to define an “undue burden” on abortion rights, so the court should simply overturn its precedents and remove the right to abortion altogether.
“The balance of the Supreme Court has tipped,” said CC Pecknold in the Catholic Herald, and it’s time to reconsider Roe and its companion decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The Republican brief lays out the “disturbingly high number of disciplinary actions” against abortion providers in Louisiana, which is why state legislators cracked down by requiring them to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Yet the law was blocked, thanks to the impossibly vague “undue burden” standard established in Casey. The court “has frequently overruled past judgments” found to be legally unworkable, and decades of evidence suggests it’s time to toss Roe and Casey. Doing so “will not ban abortion,” but it will put that decision before state legislatures and Congress, where it belongs.
In most red states, Roe “has long been more concept than reality,” said Katie McDonough in NewRepublic.com. Although 77 percent of Americans say they support Roe, abortion rights have been under assault for decades, as states made it “more expensive, more time consuming, and more humiliating to access.” But pro-choice organizers across the country have built “shadow infrastructures” to enable women in these states to cover the costs of abortion, travel out of state, or obtain medications for “self-managed abortion.” That work will continue “whether or not Roe holds.”