In a 6-3 decision released this morning, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Third Friday after Pentecost), the United States Supreme Court has overturned both Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), the infamous decisions which claimed to find a “right” to abortion in the U.S. Constitution.
The Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, affirms on the contrary:
The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.
Alito was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan filed a joint dissenting opinion.
Thomas and Kavanaugh each filed concurring opinions in which they explain their respective reasons for agreeing with the Court’s decision. Thomas states he concurs with the decision “because it correctly holds that there is no constitutional right to abortion.” He further explains:
Because the Court properly applies our substantive due process precedents to reject the fabrication of a constitutional right to abortion, and because this case does not present the opportunity to reject substantive due process entirely, I join the Court’s opinion.”
Kavanaugh, for his part, chose to “write separately to explain my additional views about why Roe was wrongly decided, why Roe should be overruled at this time, and the future implications of today’s decision.”
He goes on:
When it comes to abortion, one interest must prevail over the other at any given point in a pregnancy. Many Americans of good faith would prioritize the interests of the pregnant woman. Many other Americans of good faith instead would prioritize the interests in protecting fetal life — at least unless, for example, an abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother. Of course, many Americans are conflicted or have nuanced views that may vary depending on the particular time in pregnancy, or the particular circumstances of a pregnancy.
The issue before this Court, however, is not the policy or morality of abortion. The issue before this Court is what the Constitution says about abortion. The Constitution does not take sides on the issue of abortion. The text of the Constitution does not refer to or encompass abortion. To be sure, this Court has held that the Constitution protects unenumerated rights that are deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition, and implicit in the concept of ordered liberty. But a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in American history and tradition, as the Court today thoroughly explains.
Chief Justice John Roberts filed a separate concurring opinion in which he says he would have taken “a more measured approach,” meaning he does not think it was necessary to overturn Roe and Casey. Regarding the Court’s decision, Roberts states:
The Court’s opinion is thoughtful and thorough, but those virtues cannot compensate for the fact that its dramatic and consequential ruling is unnecessary to decide the case before us.
And elsewhere in his text:
My point is that Roe adopted two distinct rules of constitutional law: one, that a woman has the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy; two, that such right may be overridden by the State’s legitimate interests when the fetus is viable outside the womb. The latter is obviously distinct from the former. I would abandon that timing rule, but see no need in this case to consider the basic right.
Celebrate, But Remain Vigilant
As I wrote earlier today on Twitter:
Providentially, June 24 is also the date for the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (observed June 25 this year, since the Feast of the Sacred Heart takes precedence) — the promised Forerunner who leaped in his mother’s womb in response to Our Lady’s voice and the Presence of the Incarnate Word (cf. Luke 1:39-45).
As we celebrate this great victory — a victory for Christ the King and His Most Sacred Heart — we must also remain vigilant in the face of threats from the enemies of Christ. Churches across the country must prepare for the coming wave of violence and vandalism, including the “Night of Rage” and “summer of rage” that pro-abortion activists have publicly announced.
Let us heed the following words of St. Peter — words which those who attend the Traditional Latin Mass will hear this coming Sunday (Third after Pentecost):
“Be you humbled therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in the time of visitation: Casting all your care upon Him, for He hath care of you. Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist ye, strong in faith: knowing that the same affliction befalls your brethren who are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will Himself perfect you and confirm you and establish you. To Him be glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Pet. 5:6-11)
And also, the following words of St. Paul:
“But thou, O man of God … pursue justice, godliness, faith, charity, patience, mildness. Fight the good fight of faith: lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art called, and hast confessed a good confession before many witnesses.” (1 Tim. 6:11-12)
Sacred Heart of Jesus, may Thy Kingdom come! Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, pray for us! St. John the Baptist, pray for us!