WASHINGTON, D.C., January 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A recent amicus brief in which more than 200 members of Congress ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the legitimacy of Roe v. Wade isn’t sitting well with the Democrats hoping to defeat President Donald Trump this year, or with scores of pro-abortion activists and left-wing pundits.
In March, the nation’s highest court will hear arguments in June Medical Services LLC v. Gee, which concerns Louisiana’s requirement that abortion centers make arrangements for admitting women to nearby hospitals in cases of life-threatening complications. The abortion industry’s attorneys argue that the law is not at all different from the Texas law the Supreme Court struck down in 2016’s Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt; pro-lifers argue that not only was Hellerstedt wrongly decided, but the Louisiana law is different from the Texas one.
The case is likely to at the very least impact the Hellerstedt precedent, which has been used to invalidate a broad range of modest abortion regulations as “undue burdens” on women. It remains to be seen whether the Court will take the opportunity to make a broader determination on the underlying legitimacy of Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which force all 50 states to permit most abortions, which is what the amicus brief signed by 205 Republican congressmen and two Democrats calls on the justices to do so.
“[We] respectfully suggest that the court’s struggle — similar to dozens of other courts’ herculean struggles in this area — illustrates the unworkability of the ‘right to abortion’ found in Roe and the need for the Court to take up the issue of whether Roe and [Planned Parenthood v.] Casey should be reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled,” it reads.
Several candidates for the Democrat presidential nomination, including former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, condemned the brief, as did other prominent Democrats, the nation’s leading pro-abortion organizations, and pro-abortion celebrities:
Donald Trump stacked the Supreme Court with justices to try to overturn Roe v. Wade—and now Republicans are seizing the opportunity to restrict a woman's constitutional right to choose. We have to fight these attacks and ensure this choice remains between a woman and her doctor. https://t.co/5goWP2Bkuv
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 3, 2020
Republicans want to turn back the clock, outlaw abortion, and deny people reproductive health care—and they're hoping the Supreme Court will back their radical play. We need to take back the Senate and pass federal laws protecting our reproductive rights. https://t.co/PVlS8imk7X
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 3, 2020
A woman's access to abortion isn't a privilege. It's a fundamental right—and the law of the land. That's why I've supported reproductive health as a mayor & as a philanthropist. As president, I will appoint judges who would preserve Roe, not take it away.https://t.co/3v3GLooY1I
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) January 3, 2020
39 GOP Senators just said they want to overturn a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.
That’s why I joined 196 Democrats to urge the Supreme Court to protect women and NOT legitimize efforts to pass laws creating significant burdens with no medical benefit. https://t.co/vgo5XYJlis
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 3, 2020
— Senate Democrats (@dscc) January 3, 2020
Anti-abortion politicians are using every trick in the book to ban abortion. Asking the Supreme Court to reconsider overturning Roe is an assault on our basic rights, plain and simple.
Abortion is safe and legal, and we're doing everything we can to keep it that way. https://t.co/7rATmkTbxd
— Alexis McGill Johnson (@alexismcgill) January 2, 2020
Get ready to fight like hell, ladies and the men who love them.
Are you ready?!
Roll Call! I’ll go first.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) January 3, 2020
Just when you think the Republican Party couldn’t be any more out of it – they pull this shit. We are coming for you ALL in November – take more seats in the House, control of the Senate and the White House. Thanks for the further motivation misogynistic pigs!
— Amy Siskind ��️�� (@Amy_Siskind) January 2, 2020
Opposing legal abortion has been a well known Republican position since the 1980s, yet former NARAL president Ilyse Hogue issued a statement trying to suggest that the brief marked some sort of contrast to a goal Republicans had supposedly been trying to keep secret.
“The anti-choice movement is no longer trying to hide their real agenda,” she declared. “They are gunning to end Roe, criminalize abortion and punish women. If it wasn’t clear why we fought like hell to stop Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation before, it should be crystal clear now. They gamed the system and stacked the Supreme Court just for this moment.”
Roe is largely defended not on its legal merits (numerous pro-abortion legal minds, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, have acknowledged the ruling’s flaws), but on its status as precedent, with the modern interpretation of the stare decisis doctrine holding that Roe’s lengthy history staying on the books grants it added weight. Justice Clarence Thomas has forcefully rejected such arguments. It remains to be seen how Chief Justice John Roberts and President Trump’s two SCOTUS appointees, Neil Gorscuh and Brett Kavanaugh, will weigh Roe’s precedent versus its substance.
Either way, a ruling in the case is likely to be handed down during this already contentious election year, in which abortion and judicial nominations will be major issues for both Trump and the Democrat nominee.