A leaked draft opinion has turned attention to the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case.
Based on the draft opinion, it appears that a majority of the Court is ready to reverse its ruling in Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that struck down restrictions on abortion across the country.
As a strong supporter of the right to life, I would welcome such a ruling by the Court. The tragic consequences of Roe v. Wade have been millions of babies that were never brought into the world and millions of lives never given a chance.
I’ve read the draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito. I believe it makes a well-reasoned and persuasive argument that Roe was a bad decision that took power out of the hands of the states and the people, where it belongs.
Unsurprisingly, the astonishing event of a leaked Supreme Court opinion has been used by progressives from President Biden down to stoke fear about the consequences of reversing Roe, portraying its reversal as an undoing of women’s rights generally.
But this argument by the Left and President Biden ignores the numerous laws and court cases with no relation to Roe protecting women today. Pregnancy, motherhood, and single parenting do not restrict women today as they did fifty years ago.
In the decade immediately prior to Roe, Congress enacted a spate of civil rights laws, including the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1971, and Title IX in 1972, that protected women from discrimination in employment, education, housing, and federally funded activities, among other areas. These laws predated Roe, have no basis in it, and would not be affected by its reversal.
Pregnancy, too, has more legal protections in our day, thus removing penalties cited by abortion supporters as justification for upholding Roe.
Title IX was passed in 1972 to ban sex discrimination in education. Among the forms of discrimination prohibited were those based on pregnancy or childbirth.
In 1974, the Supreme Court ruled in Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur that a teacher could not be forced to leave her job due to pregnancy. Roe is mentioned only once in the majority opinion among a laundry list of previous Supreme Court cases, so reversing Roe would not overturn the basis of this particular decision.
In 1978, the Pregnancy Protection Act applied prohibitions on discrimination based on pregnancy and childbirth to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, thus covering employers with 15 or more employees, employment agencies, labor organizations, and the government.
These measures limit potentially negative economic consequences for pregnancy, and they are here to stay no matter what happens to Roe.
Alternatives to abortion are also more readily available than they once were for women with an unintended pregnancy. Justice Alito notes in his draft opinion the increased prevalence of state “safe haven” laws allowing women to drop off babies anonymously under certain circumstances.
As the author of Virginia’s 2003 safe haven law, I know how meaningful these changes to the law can be for expectant and new mothers grappling with their future and that of their babies.
Single parenthood has also become more common. Furthermore, the percentage of newborn children put up for adoption appears to have declined over recent decades. In fact, the couples looking to adopt young infants likely outnumber those available for adoption in the United States. If a mother believes she cannot keep her baby, a loving adoptive family is likely available.
The bleak depiction of the future of women painted by abortion supporters simply defies the progress made for women in this country wholly apart from Roe v. Wade, and of course it also ignores the tragic consequences of abortion: the taking of human life.
As a pro-life individual, I would celebrate the reversal of Roe. It is important for those of us who call ourselves pro-life to be ready to support mothers, children, and adoptive families. Since 1973, the Federal Government offers more programs to aid adoptive families. We should also be ready to help as private citizens and members of our communities.
If Roe is reversed, our country can move on from this grave constitutional and moral error and make progress on fulfilling the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness endowed by our Creator to all, born and unborn.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405, my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671, or my Washington office at 202-225-3861. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov.