NASHVILLE (BP) – In a monumental case that strikes down a constitutional basis for abortion, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Dobbs v. Jackson on June 24 that the issue of abortion is returned to the states. Specifically, the court held that “Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”
The ERLC applauds today’s landmark ruling and is grateful for the long-awaited overturn to the court’s disastrous abortion precedent. This ruling is a culmination of nearly 50 years of focused work by the pro-life movement to overturn Roe v. Wade and protect the unborn.
By overturning Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Dobbs ruling sends the question of abortion back to the states. This decision, rather than marking the end of the pro-life movement, will instead launch a new chapter as advocates turn their attention to protecting life in state capitals and working to build a true culture of life across the nation.
Justice Alito wrote the majority opinion joined by Justices Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett. Justices Thomas and Kavanaugh wrote separate concurring opinions. Chief Justice Roberts wrote an opinion concurring in the judgment. Justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan authored the dissenting opinion together.
Below are key quotes from the majority opinion, concurrence and dissent, highlighting how the court reached its decision. Page numbers from the court’s decision are given for each quote, but legal citations are omitted for clarity of reading.
For more details on the life and human dignity issues present in this case, see an ERLC explainer here.
From the Syllabus
“The critical question is whether the Constitution, properly understood, confers a right to obtain an abortion. Casey’s controlling opinion skipped over that question and reaffirmed Roe solely on the basis of stare decisis.” (1)
“The Constitution makes no express reference to a right to obtain an abortion, but several constitutional provisions have been offered as potential homes for an implicit constitutional right.” (2)
“The Court finds that the right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition. The underlying theory on which Casey rested—that the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause provides substantive, as well as procedural, protection for ‘liberty’—has long been controversial.” (2)
“Instead of seriously pressing the argument that the abortion right itself has deep roots, supporters of Roe and Casey contend that the abortion right is an integral part of a broader entrenched right. Roe termed this a right to privacy, and Casey described it as the freedom to make ‘intimate and personal choices’ that are ‘central to personal dignity and autonomy.’” (3)
“Like the infamous decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, Roe was also egregiously wrong and on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided.” (5)
“The arbitrary viability line, which Casey termed Roe’s central rule, has not found much support among philosophers and ethicists who have attempted to justify a right to abortion.” (5)
“Roe and Casey have led to the distortion of many important but unrelated legal doctrines, and that effect provides further support for overruling those decisions.” (6)
“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. The Court overrules those decisions and returns that authority to the people and their elected representatives.” (8)
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Source: Baptist Press