BERNARD COLUMN: Reversing Roe v Wade reverses progress

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, July 19, 2022

By Jack Bernard

Bernard is a retired corporate executive

Roe versus Wade was decided way back in 1973, nearly 50 years ago.  In 1973, as now, fringe conservatives wanted abortion to be totally outlawed in every state, even in cases of rape and incest. Those on the far left wanted it legal in all cases, with no legal restrictions at all. That has also not changed. However, the majority of people in America want a middle of the road position. This is also true nationally, per numerous polls. 

However, what conservative extremists refuse to acknowledge to this day is that Roe was a true compromise. It recognized the constitutional right of a woman to control her body, including her fetus. However, Roe also indicated that there could be some reasonable restrictions placed on that right. As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said a century ago, “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.” In other words, no right is unconditional. 

Roe was decided before the “me too” movement. And before American women began to be treated equally by men, a goal we have yet to achieve. The anti-abortion people (NRLC) say that there were 63 million abortions since 1973. If they are correct, there are tens of millions of American women out there who have taken advantage of what they thought was there constitutional right. Now, SCOTUS is suddenly telling them, “Oops, we made a very bad judicial mistake. You really don’t have that right.” In and of itself, that position is outrageous, based purely on ideology and politics. 

Roe was a compromise decision, reached by a respected bi-partisan Supreme Court (made up of justices nominated by both Republican and Democrat Presidents) who voted for the compromise.   

That was very much the opposite of the current court, which is composed of six people nominated by GOP Presidents — 5 of whom are clearly partisan and ideologically biased, letting their political and personal opinions carry over into their judicial decisions. This bias is shown by Roe as well as other recent decisions, such as the nonsensical New York gun carry case overturning a 100-year-old state law.   Further, this most recent decision on abortion will create chaos on the state level. There will be fighting in virtually every state house to determine how far that state should go in restricting abortion. Some states will attempt to stop people from leaving to get abortions in other states and countries.