Supreme Court set to decide whether to hear case challenging Roe v. Wade

January 6, 2019

Supreme Court set to decide whether to hear case challenging Roe v. Wade PhilipR / Shutterstock.com

Democrats might be about to face one of their biggest fears.

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to soon decide whether to hear a case that challenges the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that rendered laws restricting abortions unconstitutional.

Challenging the decision

The case that the Supreme Court may choose to hear questions the constitutionality of an Indiana law that was first blocked from going into effect in 2016 after it was signed by then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R).

The law was set to prohibit abortions that would be performed “on the basis of race or sex or because [the parents] learn they will otherwise give birth to a baby with Down syndrome,” according to the Washington Examiner, but provided an exemption when it could be proven “with reasonable certainty” that a condition would “result in the death of the child not more than three months after the child’s birth.”

The legislation was shot down by federal judges who argued that under the precedent set by the Roe v. Wade decision, the law is unconstitutional.

But if the Supreme Court chooses to hear the case, that 45-year-old ruling could be overturned, a prospect that has liberals concerned — particularly since President Donald Trump has given the high court a conservative slant with the appointments of Justice Neil Gorsuch and the highly controversial Brett Kavanaugh.

A new hope

While many conservatives are against all abortions out of principal, many have argued that the moral implications of the ruling banning the Indiana law go beyond the pro-choice/pro-life debate. Indeed, Notre Dame law professor Carter Snead and Mary O’Callaghan of the Center for Ethics and Culture wrote in a joint essay that the Seventh Circuit Court’s decision discriminates against those with disabilities by allowing their removal from the gene pool.

“[The ruling as it stands] leaves the most vulnerable populations among us, born and unborn, susceptible to the view that we have a ‘moral duty’ to eradicate them, that we are ‘better off’ without them, and that their value can be calculated in dollars and cents,” they wrote.

Joining them in opinion is Seventh Circuit Court Judge Frank Easterbrook, who dubbed the provision of the law at issue the “eugenics statute.”

“None of the Court’s abortion decisions hold[] that states are powerless to prevent abortions designed to choose the sex, race, and other attributes of children,” Easterbrook wrote in a dissent before criticizing the Seventh Court for “imput[ing] to the [Supreme Court] Justices decisions they have not made about problems they have not faced.”

If at least four Supreme Court justices vote to hear it, this would be the first case questioning the rights of unborn since Kavanaugh joined the panel in 2018.

The justices privately reviewed the case on Friday and are expected to announce their decision as soon as this week.

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Robert Ayers

Robert Ayers is a writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Quinnipiac University and a JD from the University of Connecticut.