A Yankee Down Under: US Supreme Court abortion news? It’s about damn time

How does an American Down Under feel about the revelation that the US Supreme Court is poised to reverse Roe v. Wade?

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A pro-life advocate prays near the US Supreme Court in 2021. Photo: CNS, Tyler Orsburn

On 22 January 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) passed its decision on the landmark case Roe v. Wade. The Court’s decision stated that the states have no right to interfere with a woman’s “right” to an abortion during the first trimester. Additionally, the states have limited rights based on the interests of the woman’s health to regulate abortion in the second and third trimesters.

Now, almost 50 years later, in a leaked initial first draft majority opinion written by Judge Samuel Alito, the SCOTUS appears set to overturn the decision of Roe v. Wade. And, it’s about damn time.

As an American, I’m enthusiastic and hopeful about this draft opinion; it gives confidence that the SCOTUS is willing and courageous enough to revisit past rulings on abortion that, as Alito writes in the opinion, were “egregiously wrong from the start.”

It sidesteps the politics and speaks of a court willing to set the record straight on a previous court’s intellectual dishonesty that persisted for nearly five decades. Quoting one constitutional law scholar, Alito writes, “Roe was ‘not constitutional law’ at all and gave almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.”

As an American, I’m enthusiastic and hopeful about this draft opinion; it gives confidence that the SCOTUS is willing and courageous enough to revisit past rulings on abortion that, as Alito writes in the opinion, were “egregiously wrong from the start.”

This is only a draft opinion, but it will return the power to regulate abortions to the individual states if formally published.  There are many states that would like to restrict abortion to the rare instances of when the mother’s life is in danger.

Ironically, Democrats are scrambling with the likes of Bernie Sanders insisting that Congress codify the right to abortion in federal law immediately. Yet, Congress has had almost 50 years to do this but failed even when Democrats controlled the House, Senate and Presidency.

As a Catholic, I cannot be more excited if this draft opinion becomes the formal decision of the Court. It speaks to the reality of the sanctity of life at its earliest stages. The reversal of Roe gives testimony to the power of patient prayer, like Saint Monica’s lifetime of prayer for her son Saint Augustine.  It reminds us that God does not abandon His faithful people.

The reversal of Roe gives testimony to the power of patient prayer, like Saint Monica’s lifetime of prayer for her son Saint Augustine

As a Catholic American living in Australia, I must ask: why is abortion a burning issue in the US but not in Australia? Do Australians just accept abortion as a fait-accomplit?

An Australian federal election is weeks away and there is virtually no discussion surrounding abortion.  Where is the comparable March for life? Where are the all-night prayer vigils?  Why is the government afraid of sidewalk counsellors or people praying out front of abortion clinics? Are the pro-choice arguments so frail that the only way to keep abortion a regular occurrence is to ban pro-lifers from the Australian public forum?

A golden calf

Why is abortion the golden calf for so many?

Yet, in Australia, States regulate abortion. There is no Australian constitutional right to an abortion.

A decision to overturn Roe gives Americans what Australians already have – so why are Americans leading the moral charge to defend the unborn? I pray that if this landmark decision becomes a watershed moment, it reignites Australian pro-life activism.

I never thought I’d see the day …

I never thought I’d see the day the SCOTUS overrules the Roe decision.

I’ve heard whispering from long-time sidewalk counsellors that Roe would be overturned in our lifetime, but I only took those whispering with a grain of salt. Like many Australians, I suspect, I had aligned myself to a reality of praying outside abortion clinics for the rest of my life.

America may be one step closer to the day when all pro-life protestors can bin their signs, hang up their marching shoes, and sidewalk counsellors can retire.

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