On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal published an editorial urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
And two states—Oklahoma and Ohio—joined about two dozen others in introducing legislation that would ban abortion immediately if the Supreme Court obliges.
Since 1973, Roe has forced states to legalize abortions up to viability and allowed abortions up to birth. But, the WSJ editorial says, the court has an excellent opportunity through the Mississippi case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health to correct its 1973 abortion ruling and restore the contentious issue to the states.
In the Dobbs case, Mississippi lawyers asked the high court to overturn Roe or, at the very least, allow states to protect unborn babies from abortion by 15 weeks, as most other countries do. The justices are expected to issue a ruling this summer, and many believe the conservative majority will grant Mississippi’s request.
“Far better for the court to leave the thicket of abortion regulation and return the issue to the states,” the Journal’s editorial said. “A political uproar would ensue, but then voters would decide on abortion policy through elections—starting in November.”
Abortion would not likely disappear across the country if Roe is overturned. It may go away in some states, but in many of those, there are already relatively few clinics that perform abortions, the WSJ said. “The likeliest result is a multiplicity of laws depending on how the debate and elections go. California might allow abortion until the moment of birth. Mississippi might ban it except in cases of rape or incest.”
The Guttmacher Institute, which favors abortion rights, estimates that 26 states “are certain or likely to ban abortion without Roe,” the editorial said. “But that means 24 states would allow it, including some of the most populous. Based on a Guttmacher analysis from 2017 on abortions performed in various states, the majority of those abortions would remain legal.”
“This is how the American system is supposed to work, as the late Justice Antonin Scalia often wrote,” the WSJ editorial pointed out. “After a series of elections, abortion law will sort itself out democratically. That had started to happen before the Supreme Court intervened in Roe, embittering the abortion debate and damaging the court.
“In Dobbs, the Court can say that such a profound moral question should be decided by the people, not by nine unelected judges.”
In Oklahoma, Senate Bill 1555 is now heading to Gov. Kevil Stitt’s desk, and the pro-life governor is expected to sign it soon. The legislation is a trigger bill that would ban abortion immediately as soon as the Supreme Court overturns Roe.
Rep. Jon Echols is a strong supporter of the bill.
“One of the things we agree on in this debate is that we have a moral obligation to protect every Oklahoman,” said Echols (R-Oklahoma City). “But I would say one of the differences is when I say every Oklahoman, I mean every Oklahoman and that means [even those caught up in] the abortion. What this bill does is make sure, in the event portions of Roe v. Wade [are] overturned, we continue to have our pro-life laws.”
Ohio representatives held their first hearing Wednesday on House Bill 598—the Human Life Protection Act—which bans abortions and also would go into effect immediately if Roe is overturned.
The legislation is the House counterpart to Senate Bill 123.
“Life begins at conception and continues until natural death,” said Rep. Jean Schmidt, who sponsored the bill. “We cannot deny the unborn their natural, God-given, and constitutional right to life.”
The measure has the support of Ohio Right to Life, which called it “a good bill that would provide protection for women and unborn children.”
Also, according to LifeNews, the state of Florida just passed a 15-week abortion ban that would save thousands of unborn babies from abortion every year, and the Idaho legislature passed a heartbeat bill. Other states, including Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Arizona, are advancing pro-life legislation this spring.
Meanwhile, the article says, pro-life advocates also are working to expand support services for families in need, through pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and even programs to help pregnant mothers in prison choose life for their babies.
Photo: Allison Bailey/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom