WASHINGTON, D.C., July 29, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An academic observer believes the U.S. Supreme Court will seriously revise, or even repeal, Roe v. Wade within the next two years because the American people do not believe viability is the only criterion that should limit when a woman can procure an abortion.
American University political science professor Karen O'Connor, who supports abortion-on-demand, told ABC News, “I think we are going to see Roe overturned.”
“I'm thinking 2015,” she added.
O'Connor said the number of cases “pending in the circuit court” makes it more likely the justices will take up a challenge to Roe. “I would say the year after next is going to be a blockbuster year for the court,” she said.
The 1973 landmark ruling stated that the right to privacy, although not explicitly found in the Constitution, emanates from “the penumbras of the Bill of Rights,” and “is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.” But that right was not unlimited and came into conflict with a child's right to be born once he was viable outside the womb.
Roe defined viability at 28 weeks, which 1992's Planned Parenthood v. Casey revised to 24 weeks. Casey added that any new restrictions must not impose an “undue burden” on the “right” to obtain an abortion.
But recent polls show that a majority of the American people believe abortion should not be allowed if the child is capable of feeling pain, something scientists have testified takes place no later than 20 weeks. Bills forbidding abortion after that point have already passed in 13 states and the U.S. House of Representatives.
“There are four members of the court now who feel that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided,” said American history professor Peter Hoffa of the University of Georgia. He strongly hinted that Justice Anthony Kennedy leaned that way, as well.
If the viability standard is thrown out, justices could allow a broader – and earlier – array of state restrictions, or overturn Roe altogether, which would allow states to set their own policies.
While not unduly confident, pro-life legal experts agree the justices may revisit the divisive Nixon-era case.
“While it is difficult to predict what this Court will do, I think Ms. O’Connor could be correct,” Dana Cody, executive director of Life Legal Defense Foundation, told LifeSiteNews.com.
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“And if Roe falls, its progeny will most likely fall with it. After all, didn’t the dissenting justices in Casey say of the 'undue burden standard' that 'it is inherently manipulable and will prove hopelessly unworkable in practice'?”
She credited public outcry over the Kermit Gosnell “house of horrors” abortion facility and the gruesome practices of other late-term abortionists for changing public opinion.
“With all that has come to light in Gosnell, it would be a cold-hearted group of justices who can ignore the pain of unborn children, even pre-viability, so that women won’t suffer a so-called 'undue burden.'
“Even Justice Blackmun’s clerk, Edward Lazarus, has said of Roe, 'It borders on the indefensible,'” Cody said.
“It is time for the Court to admit that Roe and its progeny are wrongly decided,” she said.