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Could Roe v Wade be Overturned With a Conservative Supreme Court?


Ever since Amy Coney Barret was nominated to the Supreme Court, the question on everyone's mind is: could Roe v Wade be overturned with her addition to the bench? Her comments on the issue, including a 2006 newspaper ad she signed calling Roe v. Wade ‘barbaric’, have made many people concerned. There are abortion cases already a step away from the Supreme Court. Will a conservative Supreme Court overturn Roe v Wade?

There are many people hoping for Roe v Wade to be overturned and here is how it could happen: according to BuzzFeed reporter Addy Baird, “With Barrett on the court, Republicans will have appointed six of the nine current justices. While they don’t always vote together, those justices could rule in an abortion-related case to restrict access to the procedure or overturn Roe entirely”. (How the Supreme Court Could Overturn Roe v. Wade).  With 6 conservative judges on the court and only 3 liberal judges, the conservatives may vote similarly and overturn the case. It is possible these conservative judges might overturn Roe V Wade by claiming the previous court’s decision of legalizing abortion to incorrect. According to ACLU attorney Julia Kay, “[The court could] effectively say, yes, it's true that for over four decades, we have recognized that the Constitution prohibits the government from forcing people to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. But we were wrong,"(VERIFY: How does the Supreme Court overturn a case like Roe v. Wade?) She explains that the justices could state that the information originally given was wrong, and today we know differently. Julia Kay also states, “The court could avoid the explicit language above, but instead "allow states to regulate abortion out of existence” (VERIFY: How does the Supreme Court overturn a case like Roe v. Wade?)

Even though there is a conservative majority, many think that they still may not overturn it. According to professor Jack Weir, “According to the Court, the due process clause of the 14th Amendment presupposes a right to privacy. If we have a right to privacy, then we also have a right to abortion. We can’t have one without the other.” (Originalists on the Supreme Court may not overturn Roe v. Wade) The justices also might not overturn this ruling because banning abortion isn’t based in science, it is based in religion. Professor Weir claims, “For a conservative Supreme Court to support one controversial religious viewpoint over others would be a terrible precedent.” ((Originalists on the Supreme Court may not overturn Roe v. Wade)

So, what is most likely going to happen if  an abortion case gets to the Supreme Court? One of the options stated previously could happen; however, what’s most likely to happen is that they will not overturn it. According to Laura Temme “A complete overturn of Roe v. Wade is unlikely because of stare decisis. But abortion rights could change through subsequent decisions.” ( Could Roe v. Wade Be Overturned?)

The fact that the court tends to make decisions based on precedents (stare decisis), it will most likely protect Roe v Wade. If abortion cases do get to the Supreme Court, regardless of no reversal of Roe v Wade, it could change certain peoples rights to access abortion by allowing states to regulate abortion individually.  Another reason why Roe is likely safe, is that these Justices generally do not bring their political views to the court. According to Laura Temme However, it's important to remember that, at least in theory, the job of a Supreme Court justice is not a political one.” (Could Roe v. Wade Be Overturned?) These justices are not going to decide Roe v Wade in a political manner. 

So, will a conservative Supreme Court overturn Roe v Wade? Now that we have considered the various reasons that the judges might overturn Roe v. Wade, we can conclude that it is highly unlikely.  We know that even though there is a conservative majority, and that they may be personally opposed to abortion, the most likely outcome is that they will not let their political views get in the way of their job. Given their predisposition to use precedent and adhere closely to the constitution, they will probably not overturn it. People may worry about the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, but everyone needs to examine the most likely possibility and not stress on what might happen in the future.



Written by: Giacomo Lucchesi 

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