Now that the dust has begun to settle after the initial explosive news that the US supreme court is poised to overrule the right to abortion and that Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization represents what a majority of the court initially voted to do, among the most revealing ways to understand the devastation the court appears ready to wreak on America’s long march toward “liberty and justice for all” is to examine the kinds of arguments being made in the opinion’s defense.
The argument that such a ruling would simply return a divisive issue to the people had long since been widely dismantled. It certainly wouldn’t be returned to the people most profoundly affected once women were told they may have to remain pregnant despite whatever urgent reasons they might have for seeking a safe and legal abortion. It couldn’t be described as returning the abortion issue to the states, now that the possibility of a nationwide ban that the supreme court might uphold is on the horizon. And to the extent the issue is returned to the states, it would be returned to state legislatures so gerrymandered that they often represent the views of a distinct minority of the people anyway.