Roe v. Wade is Gone, Baby-Killing Will Continue


The day that many had prayed for and had worked to accomplish through the course of nearly five decades arrived on Friday, June 24, 2022, the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: The Supreme Court of the United States of America’s horrific decision in the case of Roe v. Wade was reversed in a five to four decision in the case of Thomas E. Dobbs, Mississippi State Health Officer v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization with the Court’s opinion authored by Associate Justice Samuel Alito.

Roe v. Wade, which was a dreadful exercise in what the late Associate Justice Byron White called “raw judicial power” in his dissenting opinion in that case, unleashed a torrent of violence against the innocent preborn and it also miseducate millions upon millions of Americans, including millions of Catholics, in the past forty-nine years into believing that the Supreme Court of the United States of America can manufacture “rights” out of thin air that must bind forever bind citizens without any dissent.

In this case, however, the so-called “right” was invented by a seven- justice majority (Chief Justice Warren Earl Burger and Associate Justices William O. Douglas, Potter Stewart, William Brennan, Thurgood Marshall, Lewis Powell, and Harry Blackmun, who authored the decision) as a judicially positivistic “response” to the carnal licentiousness that was unleashed and celebrated in the 1960s. As the late Father John Anthony Hardon, S.J., noted in a lecture in 1987, “The Protestant Revolution was all about sex and divorce,” and, in like manner, I would add, that the whole issue of the surgical and chemical execution of the innocent preborn has been and will forever continue to be all about the misuse of the gift of procreation that God has given to men to be used only within the context of a sacramentally valid marriage. Sins against Holy Purity are rebellious acts of violence against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments and, when left unconfessed and absolved in the Sacred Tribunal of Penance, create an insatiable desire within the disordered souls of those who commit them, which is why we are witnessing such violence in the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision.

Ultimately, however, the degeneracy of the so-called “civilized” West is but the product of the Protestant Revolution’s overthrow of the Divine Plan that God Himself instituted to effect man’s return to Him through His Catholic Church. Men need Holy Mother Church to teach them the truth and to nourish them with the sacraments to abide in it and thus to persist in virtue as they climb the latter of personal sanctity with the graces won for them by her Divine Founder, Invisible Head, and Mystical Bridegroom, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and that flow into their  hearts and souls by the working of God the Holy Ghost through the loving hands of Our Lady, she who is the Mediatrix of All Graces.

Absent this, though, men must return to a state of barbarism, and the ready acceptance of contraception, the surgical execution of the innocent preborn, the killing of “deformed” children after birth in some European countries, sodomy, and its growing list of unspeakably perverse mutations, “brain death” and human organ vivisection, the starvation and dehydration of “brain damaged” human beings, and “palliative care”/hospice are nothing other examples of the sort of barbarism into which men must fall in “civilized” nations that do not live under the sweet yoke of Christ the King as He has revealed Himself to us exclusively through His Holy Catholic Church. There is no way to curb the mindless acceptance of this violence, to which has been added the violent barbarism of the vaccinators and their evil agenda to sicken and kill people while lining their own pockets with billions upon billions of dollars in loot, except by praying and fasting for the conversion of all men to the true Faith as we, conscious of our own many sins, strive to make reparation for our sins by offering up everything we suffer in this passing, mortal vale of tears to the Throne of the Most Blessed Trinity as the consecrated slaves of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

No Room for the Fifth Commandment in American Constitutional Jurisprudence

It is with this preface, therefore, that I offer an analysis of Associate Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion for the Court in the case of Thomas E. Dobbs, Mississippi State Health Officer v. Jackson Women’s Organization, beginning with some overall comments.

First, although the Alito opinion debunked and thoroughly demolished the longstanding fraud that abortion was “deeply rooted” in American history and tradition to the point that not even the three rabidly pro-abortion justices in the minority could offer any refutation, forcing them to make advertence to Hegelian sleights of hand about how “tradition” is not defined by any particular epoch in history, the fact of this actual history delineated in the Alito opinion changes nothing about its utter irrelevance. The history Alito documented, while very useful and interesting in and of itself, is very much apart from the point when one considers the simple truth that it is beyond the authority of mere mortals, whether actually individually on their own or collectively with others in the institutions of civil governance, to do anything about the binding precepts of the Divine and Natural Laws other than determine the specific penalties to be imposed upon those involved in procuring, performing, and assisting in the surgical execution of innocent preborn babies.

Second, Justice Alito twice explained in his opinion that the Court was not attempting to resolve when life begins even though the science a new human being is brought into existence at conception. Every human being has a rational, immortal soul created in the very image and likeness of God, and he has a distinctive, unrepeatable genetic code to which the only things that are added after conception until death are nutrition and hydration. Yet it is that Alito, an American jurist trained to consider the Divine and Natural Laws as matters of indifference to constitutional decision-making, claimed that it is up to the “people” to determine this matter for themselves and whether what he turned is “fetal life” has legal rights:

Here are some examples:

One may disagree with this belief (and our decision is not based on any view about when a State should regard prenatal life as having rights or legally cognizable interests).  . . .

Our opinion is not based on any view about if and when prenatal life is entitled to any of the rights enjoyed after birth. The dissent, by contrast, would impose on the people a particular theory about when the rights of personhood begin.

Samuel Alito knows full well when life begins. He is an observant Catholic, albeit one deceived into thinking that that the Catholic Church is synonymous with the false entity headed at present by Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

Third, however, even well-meaning justices such as Samuel Alito must work with the parameters of a secular constitution that forces them to engage in feats of sophistry to prove that what they know to be true does not conflict with various legal precedents and/or is consonant with what the late Associate Justice Benjamin Cardozo called “ordered liberty.”

Moreover, Catholic jurists such as Alito are infected with the spirit of American “popular sovereignty,” which is such a firmly held myth that Alito based his whole overturning of Roe v. Wade and William Casey v. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania on the “right” of the “people” to decide a matter upon which they have nothing to “decide”:

We end this opinion where we began. Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.

Pope Leo XIII put the lie to popular sovereignty, and he explained that Catholics had an obligation to oppose to civil ordinances that conflicted with moral truth and/or the rights of Holy Mother Church:

The sovereignty of the people, however, and this without any reference to God, is held to reside in the multitude; which is doubtless a doctrine exceedingly well calculated to flatter and to inflame many passions, but which lacks all reasonable proof, and all power of insuring public safety and preserving order. Indeed, from the prevalence of this teaching, things have come to such a pass that may hold as an axiom of civil jurisprudence that seditions may be rightfully fostered. For the opinion prevails that princes are nothing more than delegates chosen to carry out the will of the people; whence it necessarily follows that all things are as changeable as the will of the people, so that risk of public disturbance is ever hanging over our heads.

To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name. Men who really believe in the existence of God must, in order to be consistent with themselves and to avoid absurd conclusions, understand that differing modes of divine worship involving dissimilarity and conflict even on most important points cannot all be equally probable, equally good, and equally acceptable to God. (Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, November 1, 1900.)

But in this same matter, touching Christian faith, there are other duties whose exact and religious observance, necessary at all times in the interests of eternal salvation, become more especially so in these our days. Amid such reckless and widespread folly of opinion, it is, as We have said, the office of the Church to undertake the defense of truth and uproot errors from the mind, and this charge has to be at all times sacredly observed by her, seeing that the honor of God and the salvation of men are confided to her keeping. But, when necessity compels, not those only who are invested with power of rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but, as St. Thomas maintains: "Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers." To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. Moreover, want of vigor on the part of Christians is so much the more blameworthy, as not seldom little would be needed on their part to bring to naught false charges and refute erroneous opinions, and by always exerting themselves more strenuously they might reckon upon being successful. After all, no one can be prevented from putting forth that strength of soul which is the characteristic of true Christians, and very frequently by such display of courage our enemies lose heart and their designs are thwarted. Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: "Have confidence; I have overcome the world." Nor is there any ground for alleging that Jesus Christ, the Guardian and Champion of the Church, needs not in any manner the help of men. Power certainly is not wanting to Him, but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His grace.

The chief elements of this duty consist in professing openly and unflinchingly the Catholic doctrine, and in propagating it to the utmost of our power. For, as is often said, with the greatest truth, there is nothing so hurtful to Christian wisdom as that it should not be known, since it possesses, when loyally received, inherent power to drive away error. (Pope Leo XIII, Sapientiae Christianae, January 10, 1890.)

A system of morality based exclusively on human reason robs man of his highest dignity and lowers him from the supernatural to the merely natural life. Not but that man is able by the right use of reason to know and to obey certain principles of the natural law. But though he should know them all and keep them inviolate through life-and even this is impossible without the aid of the grace of our Redeemer-still it is vain for anyone without faith to promise himself eternal salvation. "If anyone abide not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up and cast him into the fire, and he burneth" john xv., 6). "He that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark xvi., 16). We have but too much evidence of the value and result of a morality divorced from divine faith. How is it that, in spite of all the zeal for the welfare of the masses, nations are in such straits and even distress, and that the evil is daily on the increase? We are told that society is quite able to help itself; that it can flourish without the assistance of Christianity, and attain its end by its own unaided efforts. Public administrators prefer a purely secular system of government. All traces of the religion of our forefathers are daily disappearing from political life and administration. What blindness! Once the idea of the authority of God as the Judge of right and wrong is forgotten, law must necessarily lose its primary authority and justice must perish: and these are the two most powerful and most necessary bonds of society. Similarly, once the hope and expectation of eternal happiness is taken away, temporal goods will be greedily sought after. Every man will strive to secure the largest share for himself. Hence arise envy, jealousy, hatred. The consequences are conspiracy, anarchy, nihilism. There is neither peace abroad nor security at home. Public life is stained with crime.

So great is this struggle of the passions and so serious the dangers involved, that we must either anticipate ultimate ruin or seek for an efficient remedy. It is of course both right and necessary to punish malefactors, to educate the masses, and by legislation to prevent crime in every possible way: but all this is by no means sufficient. The salvation of the nations must be looked for higher. A power greater than human must be called in to teach men's hearts, awaken in them the sense of duty, and make them better. This is the power which once before saved the world from destruction when groaning under much more terrible evils. Once remove all impediments and allow the Christian spirit to revive and grow strong in a nation, and that nation will be healed. The strife between the classes and the masses will die away; mutual rights will be respected. If Christ be listened to, both rich and poor will do their duty. The former will realise that they must observe justice and charity, the latter self-restraint and moderation, if both are to be saved. Domestic life will be firmly established ( by the salutary fear of God as the Lawgiver. In the same way the precepts of the natural law, which dictates respect for lawful authority and obedience to the laws, will exercise their influence over the people. Seditions and conspiracies will cease. Wherever Christianity rules over all without let or hindrance there the order established by Divine Providence is preserved, and both security and prosperity are the happy result. The common welfare, then, urgently demands a return to Him from whom we should never have gone astray; to Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and this on the part not only of individuals but of society as a whole. We must restore Christ to this His own rightful possession. All elements of the national life must be made to drink in the Life which proceedeth from Him- legislation, political institutions, education, marriage and family life, capital and labour. Everyone must see that the very growth of civilisation which is so ardently desired depends greatly upon this, since it is fed and grows not so much by material wealth and prosperity, as by the spiritual qualities of morality and virtue. (Pope Leo XIII, Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus, November 1, 1900.)

. . . . for there is no true civilization without a moral civilization, and no true moral civilization without the true religion; it is a proven truth, a historical fact. (Pope Saint Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1950.)

The words of our true popes are either true or they are not. If they are true, which they are, of course, then they are merely expressions of what is in fact true and thus binding upon all men in all places at all times.

Fourth, Justice Alito’s view that the Constitution of the United States of America makes no mention about abortion is the canard that was repeated endlessly by the late admirer of the Talmud, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, and this canard is nothing more than yet another example of one of the Constitution’s chief inherent weaknesses. As has been noted thousands of times of this site, a constitution that admits of no higher than the text of its own words as the final arbiter of jurisprudence is as malleable in the hands of judicial positivists as are the words of Holy Writ in the hands of Protestants and Modernists.

Moreover, jurists who are trained to ignore the Divine and Natural Laws in their legal reasoning must resort to all manner of sophistry to argue merely that it is not unreasonable for civil law to prohibit that which, of course, is prohibited in the nature of things while at the same time making the Faustian concession that it is eminently “reasonable” for men to “permit” that which is prohibited in the nature of things. This, in a nutshell, is precisely what Samuel Alito did, when arguing repeatedly and at length that the “people” are free to prohibit, restrict, or permit the slicing and dicing of innocent human beings within their mothers’ wombs.

Although perhaps a moot point given the fact that no justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America has never been willing to make it, a sound case has been made been made by many constitutional scholars that the innocent unborn life is protected by the due process of law clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Justice Alito’s belief that the Constitution of the United States leaves the matter of abortion to the people is gratuitous. More to the point, however, a constitution that is capable of leaving to the “people” that over which they have no authority to “decide” is in direct conflict with the Divine Lawgiver Himself, and those who defend a document that does so must answer to the Divine Judge, Christ the King, Himself.

Fifth, it should be remembered that the decriminalization of surgical baby-killing began with the vaunted elected representatives of the “people” in various state legislatures in the 1960s, and many of those same states have enacted trigger laws to permit baby-killing until the day of birth in the even that Roe v. Wade was ever overturned, which has now happened. This means that there will be endless battles engendered by George Soros’s well-financed “community organizers” will use violence, intimidation and election fraud to turn the partially “pro-life,” partially pro-death “red” states into completely pro-death states even if it means encouraging “blue” state residents to establish residency in those “red” states and the enrolling of illegal immigrants, whose votes will then be harvested by the same “community organizers.” The battle lines have shifted, not than anything of substance has been accomplished by Congress in the past forty-nine years, and that is including the “partial birth abortion” ban that was premised upon the killing of babies in the latter stages of their prenatal growth by any means other than the crushed skull abortion method.

The battle lines have shifted, but the presence of “exceptions” in state laws will continue, as most of the thirty-three states that restricted the surgical killing of innocent preborn babies at the time that Roe v. Wade was decided on January 22, 1973, permitted one or more so-called “exceptions” to the inviolability of innocent human life, and it was through those “exceptions,” which the rich and famous were usually able to be granted with relative ease, that the pro-abort zealots of the 1960s drove their proverbial Mack truck all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States of America in 1972, when Roe v. Wade was argued before the Court. Most of the states that have trigger laws to prohibit most surgical abortions permit the “life of the mother exception.” There is nothing “pro-life” about “exceptions,” and the Dobbs decision will do nothing to prohibit the prescription and administration of baby-killing pills and potions marketed nor does it even address the fact that most contraceptives abort, and most contraceptives abort most of the time.

Indeed, Associate Justice Samuel Alito, seeking to calm the waters roiled by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas in his concurring opinion, explicitly ruled out the Court’s overturning of other “substantive due process” cases that Thomas believed should be overturned, most especially Griswold v. Connecticut, which established the false constitutional pretexts for a “right to marital privacy” that Alito had earlier  eviscerated in the Dobbs case when explaining the falsity of the Court’s reasoning in Roe v. Wade:

The most striking feature of the dissent is the absence of any serious discussion of the legitimacy of the States’ interest in protecting fetal life. This is evident in the analogy that the dissent draws between the abortion right and the rights recognized in Griswold (contraception), Eisenstadt (same), Lawrence (sexual conduct with member of the same sex), and Obergefell (same-sex marriage). Perhaps this is designed to stoke unfounded fear that our decision will imperil those other rights, but the dissent’s analogy is objectionable for a more important reason: what it reveals about the dissent’s views on the protection of what Roe called “potential life.” The exercise of the rights at issue in Griswold, Eisenstadt, Lawrence, and Obergefell does not destroy a “potential life,” but an abortion has that effect. So if the rights at issue in those cases are fundamentally the same as the right recognized in Roe and Casey, the implication is clear: The Constitution does not permit the States to regard the destruction of a “potential life” as a matter of any significance. (Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Opinion of the Court, Thomas E. Dobbs, Mississippi State Health Officer v. Jackson Women’s Organization, June 24, 2022.)

This is fallacious reasoning on the part of Justice Alito as the teleology of error is such that the erroneous principles established in Griswold v. Connecticut, June 7, 1965, that struck down a long-unenforced Connecticut statute banning the sale of contraceptive pills and devices to married couples were used once again in Roe v. Wade, and it can be argued very successfully that the justices (Associate Justice William O. Douglas, Chief Justice Earl Warren, Associate Justices William Brennan, John Marshal Harlan, Byron White, and Thomas Clark) meant to lay the groundwork for the “legalization” of abortion up to and including the day of birth (with limitations of an unspecified nature made “possible” by in the second and third trimesters). Alito’s effort to separate Griswold’s false principles from those used in Roe v. Wade is intellectually dishonest, which is why Associate Justice Clarence Thomas was bold enough to claim that the matters are inseparable.

Contraception is a denial of the Sovereignty of God over the sanctity and fecundity of marriage, and its mentality leads to directly to the acceptance of surgical baby-killing as well the full panoply of unnatural vices of rank perversity that keep mutating before our very eye, and as noted just above, most contraceptives are abortifacients and thus killing innocent human life, a little fact that Samuel Alito was entirely unwilling to mention no less admit.

Sixth, nothing in the Court’s opinion in the case of Thomas E. Dobbs, Mississippi State Health Officer v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization will stop the killing of innocent human babies by means of the immoral practice known as in vitro fertilization nor and it will not stop the use of embryonic stem cells in monstrous pseudo-scientific experiments and in the testing of various pharmaceutical products or food additives. Roe v. Wade opened up the vista for such monstrous developments, but Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Organization will not stop them as it is strictly limited to the surgical execution of innocent preborn children.

Seventh, perhaps the most important contribution that Associate Justice Samuel Alito made was to term Chief Justice John Glover Roberts’s unprincipled desire for a “middle ground” that would put off until some undetermined “another day” the overturning of Roe v. Wade:

We now turn to the concurrence in the judgment, which reproves us for deciding whether Roe and Casey should be retained or overruled. That opinion (which for convenience we will call simply “the concurrence”) recommends a “more measured course,” which it defends based on what it claims is “a straightforward stare decisis analysis.” Post, at 1 (opinion of ROBERTS, C. J.). The concurrence would “leave for another day whether to reject any right to an abortion at all,” post, at 7, and would hold only that if the Constitution protects any such right, the right ends once women have had “a reasonable opportunity” to obtain an abortion, post, at 1. The concurrence does not specify what period of time is sufficient to provide such an opportunity, but it would hold that 15 weeks, the period allowed under Mississippi’s law, is enough—at least “absent rare circumstances.” Post, at 2, 10.

There are serious problems with this approach, and it is revealing that nothing like it was recommended by either party. As we have recounted, both parties and the Solicitor General have urged us either to reaffirm or overrule Roe and Casey. See supra, at 4–5. And when the specific approach advanced by the concurrence was broached at oral argument, both respondents and the Solicitor General emphatically rejected it. Respondents’ counsel termed it “completely unworkable” and “less principled and less workable than viability.” Tr. of Oral Arg. 54. The Solicitor General argued that abandoning the viability line would leave courts and others with “no continued guidance.” Id., at 101. What is more, the concurrence has not identified any of the more than 130 amicus briefs filed in this case that advocated its approach. The concurrence would do exactly what it criticizes Roe for doing: pulling “out of thin air” a test that “[n]o party or amicus asked the Court to adopt.” Post, at 3.


The concurrence’s most fundamental defect is its failure to offer any principled basis for its approach. The concurrence would “discar[d]” “the rule from Roe and Casey that a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy extends up to the point that the fetus is regarded as ‘viable’ outside the womb.” Post, at 2. But this rule was a critical component of the holdings in Roe and Casey, and stare decisis is “a doctrine of preservation, not transformation,” Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n, 558 U. S. 310, 384 (2010) (ROBERTS, C. J., concurring). Therefore, a new rule that discards the viability rule cannot be defended on stare decisis grounds.

The concurrence concedes that its approach would “not be available” if “the rationale of Roe and Casey were inextricably entangled with and dependent upon the viability standard.” Post, at 7. But the concurrence asserts that the viability line is separable from the constitutional right they recognized, and can therefore be “discarded” without disturbing any past precedent. Post, at 7–8. That is simply incorrect.

It is always good to see a judicial weasel such as John Glover Roberts, Jr., get taken down a notch as his tenure as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America has been marked by his resort to rank political opportunism to save the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Protection Act (ObamaDeathCare) and who has excoriated efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade in June Medical Services v. Russo, June 29, 2020, and in Whole Woman’s Health v. Austin Reeve Jackson, September 1, 2021. Rather than reinvent the wheel here, I will simply provide the following passage from part two of Supreme Masters of Sophistry, which was written after Dobbs case had been argued before the Court on December 1, 2021:

Predicting the outcome of cases once they have been argued before the Supreme Court of the United States of America is not an easy task, and I would normally not venture to make any prediction except that I think the outline of the outcome in Thomas E. Dobbs, Mississippi State Health Officer, et al. v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is somewhat clear.

To wit, I think that, given the questioning, Mississippi HB 1510 will be upheld as constitutional by a vote of 6-3 (Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Michael Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett in favor; Associate Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan in dissent), although, much like the case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. William Casey, there will be a number of “concurring in part and dissenting part” opinions within the six person majority depending upon the specific sophistic grounds used in the principal opinion of the Court.

As to the fate of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, I believe that Chief Justice John Glover Roberts will do everything imaginable to convince either Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch and/or Associate Justice Brett Michael Kavanaugh to join him in preventing the “precedent” established in Roe v. Wade from being overturned. If Roberts is unsuccessful, however, Roe and Casey could go by a vote of five to four (Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Michael Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett in favor; Chief Justice John Glover Roberts, Jr., and Associate Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan in dissent.)

I have long contended that John Glover Roberts, Jr., would never vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, and I based that contention originally on what he said during his Senate confirmation hearings to succeed the late Chief Justice William Hobbs Rehnquist in 2005:

Chairman SPECTER. When you and I met on our first so-called courtesy call, I discussed with you the concept of a super-stare decisis. And this was a phrase used by Circuit Judge Luttig in Richmond Medical Center v. Governor Gilmore in the year 2000, when he refers to Casey being a super-stare decisis decision with respect to the fundamental right to choose, and a number of the academics—Professor Farber has talked about super-stare decisis, and Professor Estrich has, as it applies to statutory lines. Do you think that the cases which have followed Roe fall into the category of a super-stare decisis designation?

Judge ROBERTS. Well, it’s a term that hasn’t found its way into the Supreme Court opinions yet. I think—

Chairman SPECTER. Well, there is an opportunity for that. [Laughter.]

Judge ROBERTS. I think one way to look at it is that the Casey decision itself, which applied the principles of stare decisis to Roe v. Wade, is itself a precedent of the Court, entitled to respect under principles of stare decisis. And that would be the body of law that any judge confronting an issue in his care would begin with, not simply the decision in Roe v. Wade but its reaffirmation in the Casey decision. That is itself a precedent. It’s a precedent on whether or not to revisit the Roe v. Wade precedent. And under principles of stare decisis, that would be where any judge considering the issue in this area would begin.

Chairman SPECTER. When you and I talked informally, I asked you if you had any thought as to how many opportunities there were in the intervening 32 years for Roe to be overruled, and you said you did not really know, and you cited a number. And I said, ‘‘Would it surprise you to know that there have been 38 occasions where Roe has been taken up, not with a specific issue raised but all with an opportunity for Roe to be overruled?’’ One of them was Rust v. Sullivan, where you participated in the writing of the brief, and although the case did not squarely raise the overruling of Roe, it involved the issue of whether Planned Parenthood units funded with Federal money could counsel on abortion. And in that brief, you again raised the question about Roe being wrongly decided, and then I pointed out to you that there had been some 38 cases where the Court had taken up Roe. I am very seldom a user of charts, but on this one I prepared a chart because it speaks—a little too heavy to lift, but it speaks louder than just—thank you, Senator Grassley. Thirty-eight cases where Roe has been taken up, and I don’t want to coin any phrases on super precedents. We will leave that to the Supreme Court. But would you think that Roe might be a super-duper precedent in light— [Laughter.]

Chairman SPECTER.—of 38 occasions to overrule it?

Judge ROBERTS. The interesting thing, of course, is not simply the opportunity to address it, but when the Court actually considers the question. And that, of course, is in the Casey decision where it did apply the principles of stare decisis and specifically addressed it. And that I think is the decision that any judge in this area would begin with.

Chairman SPECTER. Judge Roberts, in your confirmation hearing for circuit court, your testimony read to this effect, and it has been widely quoted: ‘‘Roe is the settled law of the land.’’ Do you mean settled for you, settled only for your capacity as a circuit judge, or settled beyond that?

Judge ROBERTS. Well, beyond that, it’s settled as a precedent of the Court, entitled to respect under principles of stare decisis. And those principles, applied in the Casey case, explain when cases should be revisited and when they should not. And it is settled as a precedent of the Court, yes.

Chairman SPECTER. You went on then to say, ‘‘It’s a little more than settled. It was reaffirmed in the face of a challenge that it should be overruled in the Casey decision.’’ So it has that added precedential value.

Judge ROBERTS. I think the initial question the judge confronting an issue in this area, you don’t go straight to the Roe decision; you begin with Casey, which modified the Roe framework and reaffirmed its central holding.

Chairman SPECTER. And you went on to say, ‘‘Accordingly, it is the settled law of the land,’’ using the term ‘‘settled’’ again. Then your final statement as to this quotation, ‘‘There is nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying the precedent as well as Casey.’’ There had been a question raised about your personal views, and let me digress from Roe for just a moment because I think this touches on an issue which ought to be settled. When you talk about your personal views, and as they may relate to your own faith, would you say that your views are the same as those expressed by John Kennedy when he was a candidate and he spoke to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in September of 1960, ‘‘I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me’’?

Judge ROBERTS. I agree with that, Senator, yes.

Chairman SPECTER. And did you have that in mind when you said, ‘‘There is nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying the precedent as well as Casey’’?

Judge ROBERTS. Well, I think people’s personal views on this issue derive from a number of sources, and there’s nothing in my personal views based on faith or other sources that would prevent me from applying the precedents of the Court faithfully under principles of stare decisis. (Roberts Confirmation Hearing.)

John Glover Roberts, Jr., meant what he said sixteen years ago as this is what he said just today, Friday, December 10, 2021, in a dissenting opinion in the case of Whole Women’s Health, et al. v. Austin Reeves Jackson, Judge, et al. as the Court, by a 5-4 margin, let Texas SB 8 continue to stand while, at the same time, permitting lawsuits to be filed in Federal and Texas State courts to challenge its constitutionality:

Texas has passed a law banning abortions after roughly six weeks of pregnancy. See S. B. 8, 87th Leg., Reg. Sess. (2021). That law is contrary to this Court’s decisions in Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113 (1973), and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U. S. 833 (1992). It has had the effect of denying the exercise of what we have held is a right protected under the Federal Constitution.1

Texas has employed an array of stratagems designed to shield its unconstitutional law from judicial review. To cite just a few, the law authorizes “[a]ny person,” other than a government official, to bring a lawsuit against anyone who “aids or abets,” or intends to aid or abet, an abortion performed after roughly six weeks; has special preclusion rules that allow multiple lawsuits concerning a single abortion; and contains broad venue provisions that allow lawsuits to be brought in any of Texas’s 254 far flung counties, no matter where the abortion took place. See Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. §§171.208(a), (e)(5), 171.210 (West Cum. Supp. 2021). The law then provides for minimum liability of $10,000 plus costs and fees, while barring defendants from recovering their own costs and fees if they prevail. §§171.208(b), (i). It also purports to impose backward-looking liability should this Court’s precedents or an injunction preventing enforcement of the law be overturned. §§171.208(e)(2), (3). And it forbids many state officers from directly enforcing it. §171.207.

These provisions, among others, effectively chill the provision of abortions in Texas. Texas says that the law also blocks any pre-enforcement judicial review in federal court. On that latter contention, Texas is wrong. As eight Members of the Court agree, see ante, at 11, petitioners may bring a pre-enforcement suit challenging the Texas law in federal court under Ex parte Young, 209 U. S. 123 (1908), because there exist state executive officials who retain authority to enforce it. See, e.g., Tex. Occ. Code Ann. §164.055(a) (West 2021). Given the ongoing chilling effect of the state law, the District Court should resolve this litigation and enter appropriate relief without delay. . . .

The clear purpose and actual effect of S. B. 8 has been to nullify this Court’s rulings. It is, however, a basic principle that the Constitution is the “fundamental and paramount law of the nation,” and “[i]t is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.” Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 177 (1803). Indeed, “[i]f the legislatures of the several states may, at will, annul the judgments of the courts of the United States, and destroy the rights acquired under those judgments, the constitution itself becomes a solemn mockery.” United States v. Peters, 5 Cranch 115, 136 (1809). The nature of the federal right infringed does not matter; it is the role of the Supreme Court in our constitutional system that is at stake. (21-463 Whole Woman's Health v. Jackson (12/10/2021).)

What a shame.

Texas SB 8 might “chill” the execution of innocent babies here in Texas. John Glover Roberts, Jr., will never vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, not, as noted just above, its overturning will “settle” anything, of course, as babies will still continue to be killed surgically in every state, either because of state “trigger” laws permitting baby-killing upon demand without restrictions or the sort of “robust exceptions of which Mississippi State Solicitor General Scott Stewart boasted on December 1, 2021. Moreover, innocent babies will still be killed chemically not only so-called “abortion pills” (human pesticides) but also by contraceptive pills and devices.

Insofar as the “paramount law” of the United States of America is concerned, a civil constitution that takes no account of Christ the King and His true Church becomes an instrument to enshrine evil as it is has been the longstanding goal of the adversary to dethrone Christ the King and to enshrine himself as the leader of men and nations, and he does not care whether he gets any kind of “credit” from men as the only thing he wants is pull their souls and bodies down into hell with him to be tortured for all eternity. (From: (The Supreme Masters of Sophistry: Unable to Admit the Fifth Commandment Exists, Combined Parts One and Two.)

Thus, Samuel Alito is to be commended for calling out John Glover Roberts, Jr., for what has always been, is now, and will forever be: a judicial hack who is concerned about the politics of his court and its standing with the editorial ideologues of the Washington Post. Not insignificantly, of course, John Glover Roberts, Jr., a swamp creature of longstanding, has always been concerned about the “public esteem” in which his court is held, especially with Washington, District of Columbia, cocktail set. He now stands emasculated as one of the most ineffective chief justices of modern times, and with very good reason.

Eighth, although Associate Justice Samuel Alito’s detailed opinion for the Court, which is appended below almost in its entirety except for a few paragraphs dealing with the history of state statutes prohibiting the surgical slaughter of babies in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, definitively refutes the spurious “constitutional” reasoning in Roe v. Wade, its ultimate weakness is that of the Constitution itself: a refusal to take any judicial note that the Fifth Commandment exists, that its precepts are perpetually binding upon all men and that they take precedence over all statutes, ordinances, and judicial decisions issued by contingent beings whose bodies are destined one day for the dust of the grave until the Last Day at the General Judgment of the Living and the Dead. Truth Himself is the biggest loser when it is argued that the inarguable is arguable.

As the Killing of Babies Continues

Although Roe v. Wade is gone, the chemical execution of babies by means of contraceptives and overt abortifacient pills and devices will continue in every state, and even those so-called “pro-life” states with “trigger laws” will continue to “permit” the execution of innocent preborn until one or more exceptions.

A list of such states was featured on Lifesite News, although its editors gave no indication that the presence of “exceptions” in each of the states with laws banning most surgical executions of unborn babies that are or will soon go into effect is any way objectionable:


Abortion is illegal at all stages of pregnancy in Alabama as of Friday.

A federal court lifted an injunction on the state’s near-total abortion ban enacted in 2019, Attorney General Steve Marshall announced within hours of the Dobbs ruling. The 2019 law, known as the Human Life Protection Act, makes abortion a Class A felony that can result in life imprisonment.

The act includes exceptions in cases of “serious health risk” to the mother or fatal fetal anomalies. Alabama has another 1951 pre-Roe ban on the books that outlaws abortion except to preserve a mother’s life or health.

The last three abortion facilities in Alabama halted all procedures Friday.


Abortion is also illegal in Louisiana. A 2006 trigger law protecting unborn babies from fertilization went into effect Friday immediately after the Supreme Court’s ruling, Attorney General Jeff Landry announced.

The Louisiana Department of Health has notified the three outpatient abortion clinics in the state to adhere to Louisiana’s restrictions, local news reported. All scheduled abortions are reportedly cancelled.

Besides the mother, anyone who commits an abortion or intentionally provides a pregnant woman with substances to kill her unborn baby can face up to 10 years imprisonment and $100,000 in fines. Late-term abortions (15+ weeks) can result in up to 15 years in prison and $200,000 in fines, and performing an abortion can lead to a maximum of 50 years in prison.

The Louisiana trigger law includes exceptions to prevent the death of the mother “due to a physical condition,” to avoid “serious, permanent impairment of a life-sustaining organ of a pregnant woman,” or if two doctors agree that an unborn baby would not survive after birth.

“However, the physician shall make reasonable medical efforts under the circumstances to preserve both the life of the mother and the life of her unborn child in a manner consistent with reasonable medical practice,” the law states.


With the reversal of Roe, abortion is now illegal in Kentucky except if the mother faces “substantial risk of death” or permanent injury to a “life-sustaining organ.”

The state’s trigger law declares an embryo and a fetus to be an “unborn human being” from fertilization and prohibits any procedure “with the specific intent of causing or abetting” the death of an unborn child.

“No person shall knowingly administer to, prescribe for, procure for, or sell to any pregnant woman any medicine, drug, or other substance with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of an unborn human being,” the law states.

Like Louisiana’s trigger law, Kentucky’s requires a physician to “make reasonable medical efforts under the circumstances to preserve both the life of the mother and the life of the unborn human being.”

Performing abortions can result in Class D felony charges and up to five years in prison for anyone other than the mother.

An amendment on the ballot in Kentucky this November would declare that there is no right to abortion in the state constitution.


Missouri became the first state to criminalize abortion Friday morning, Republican Gov. Mike Parson announced.

Parson and Attorney General Eric Schmitt signed proclamations activating Missouri’s Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act within minutes of the decision.

The law prohibits all abortions unless the mother is allegedly at risk of death or “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function,” according to a physician’s judgement. Illegally inducing an abortion in Missouri is a Class B felony that carries up to 15 years in prison.

Planned Parenthood has ceased abortions at the state’s last mill.


Oklahoma’s trigger law took effect Friday, banning abortion at fertilization, Attorney General John O’Connor confirmed.

The law allows exceptions only if “necessary to preserve [the mother’s] life.”

The state had already criminalized virtually all abortions last month with a law enforced by civil lawsuits that took effect despite Roe v. Wade. That measure, modeled after Texas’ heartbeat bill, allowed abortion in cases of incest or sexual assault reported to police.

“Law enforcement is now activated in respect to any effort to aid, abet or solicit any abortions,” O’Connor warned Friday.

Anyone who commits an illegal abortion or prescribes, administers, or “advises” a woman to take abortion-inducing substances or procures the substances for her can face between two and five years in prison.


In Ohio, abortion is now illegal when a baby’s heartbeat is first detectable – typically at around six weeks of pregnancy.

On Friday, a federal judge dissolved an injunction on the state’s 2019 heartbeat bill following a request from Attorney General Dave Yost, The Columbus Dispatch reported. The injunction was based on Roe and later pro-abortion Supreme Court ruling Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Yost said. The high court also overturned Casey on Friday.

“The Heartbeat Bill is now the law,” Yost declared.

Illegal abortion providers risk felony charges and up to one year in prison except in cases of “medical emergency or medical necessity.”


Texas has prohibited abortion at approximately six weeks since September 2021 through the Texas Heartbeat Act, which state and federal courts let stand for months despite Roe. The law escaped injunction due to a unique enforcement mechanism that relies on civil lawsuits brought by private citizens as opposed to prosecution by the government.

A trigger ban will take effect in Texas 30 days after the reversal of Roe, criminalizing abortion from the moment of conception. Anyone other than the mother who commits, attempts, or induces an abortion can face life imprisonment and up to $100,000 in fines under the law, according to The Texas Tribune.

The Texas heartbeat and trigger laws both have exemptions to save the mother’s life, and the latter permits abortions to prevent “substantial impairment” of  a “major bodily function” of the mother.

The Lone Star State still has pre-Roe restrictions as well, including another near-total ban and a law that makes it a crime to “furnish the means for procuring an abortion.” Attorney General Ken Paxton argues that the state’s pre-Roe laws could be enforced, The Texas Tribune reported.

“Abortion is now illegal in Texas,” Paxton said Friday.

Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses have halted abortions in the state in response.

South Dakota

Abortion is illegal in South Dakota under the state’s trigger law, which took effect Friday.

The 2005 law makes inducing an abortion or prescribing or procuring abortion-causing substances for a pregnant woman a felony punishable by up to two years in prison and $4,000 in fines. The only exception is to “preserve the life” of the mother based on “appropriate and reasonable medical judgment.”

The last abortion facility in South Dakota had already shut down earlier this month.

Gov. Kristi Noem and legislative leaders said Friday that they plan to call a special legislative session to further boost pro-life protections in the state.


Elective abortion is now illegal in Utah.

A trigger law went into effect in the Beehive State Friday evening after the state legislature’s general counsel certified to the Legislative Management Committee that the Supreme Court reversed Roe, Deseret News reported.

Utah’s ban outlaws abortion at all stages of pregnancy with exceptions for rape, incest, to save the mother’s life, or if two doctors who practice “maternal fetal medicine” conclude that the baby “has a defect that is uniformly diagnosable and uniformly lethal” or “has a severe brain abnormality that is uniformly diagnosable,” according to Deseret News.

“Violating Utah’s trigger law is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. And any clinic or physician involved could lose their license,” KCPW reported.

West Virginia

In West Virginia, the state’s pre-Roe ban is enforceable as of Friday and criminalizes abortion except to preserve the mother’s life.

“We do not have a ‘trigger ban’ for abortion, but it is now a felony (§61-2-8) w 3-10 years,” tweeted West Virginia Delegate Kayla Young.

Republican Gov. Jim Justice on Friday praised the Dobbs decision and declared that he “will not hesitate to call a special session after consulting with the Legislature and my legal team if clarification in our laws needs to be made.”

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey also announced that he will issue a legal opinion informing state lawmakers how to proceed “to save as many babies’ lives as humanly and legally possible,” The Center Square reported.

West Virginia’s only abortion mill stopped killing babies Friday. (Abortion is now illegal in at least 10 states, more to follow.)

While it is indeed wonderful that abortuaries in the above-named states have shut their doors, none of this represents any kind of victory, especially when one considers that laws delineating at what age baby-killing can be prohibited makes it appear that his life is fully negotiable and thus expendable before that age. A human being is a human being at conception, and all the talk of gestational age is simply sophistry upon sophistry.

Moreover, do we really think that those who kill for a living are going to scrupulously observe all the terms of these laws even if they have to be confined to the space of a hospital rather than an abortuary to do so?

The Fifth Commandment admits of no exceptions to the inviolability of innocent human life, which can be targeted deliberately for execution. The laws listed above have such "exceptions" and are thus nothing to celebrate.

Am I saying that Roe v. Wade should not have been overturned or that its being overturned is meaningless?

No, I am not saying such a thing.

It is very good that Roe v. Wade and its false reasoning have now been consigned to the proverbial dustbin of history.

Roe v. Wade has, as noted earlier, miseducated generations of people, including many Catholics, that they had a “right” to innocent unborn babies, whose own “crime” was to be conceived as the natural consequence of that which is used properly in the married state alone for the procreation and education of children according to the mind of Holy Mother Church. Those who created that “right” did so illicitly as it is not given unto men to dispose of the binding precepts of the Fifth Commandments, but it remains to be seen whether the overturning of Roe v. Wade will correct the errors that have become deep-seated in a world where men act as beasts and do not fear the just judgment of Our Divine King and Judge, Christ the King.

However, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is itself based on false premises, and false premises can never be the foundation of anything but continued conflict and confusion as attempting to fight evil on the natural level will aways fail. The use of natural means to fight supernatural battles involves the use of the devil’s own tailor-made program of refusing to admit that the Catholic Church is the true Church and that it is only Catholicism that can provide the foundation for a just social order. Such is the recipe of frustration and failure as it will not be until men quit their sins and are converted or return to the Holy Faith that the moral evils of the day can be retarded.

Men must love God as He has revealed Himself to us through His true Church, and to love God we must obey His Commandments:

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God. And every one that loveth him who begot, loveth him also who is born of him. In this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the charity of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not heavy. (1 John 5: 1-3)

To keep God’s Commandments, of course, we need the help of Our Lady, the very Mother of God, without whose blessed intercession and support we are lost and could very well descend to the depths of barbarism ourselves, which is why we must be assiduous in praying her Most Holy Rosary as well as possible every day of our lives without fail.

Part two of this commentary will focus principally on the dissenting opinion of Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, which does not differ substantially from the one she issued in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Austin Reeve Jackson, September 1, 2021.

Remembering the Role of the Conciliar Officials of Opposing Roe v. Wade on False Premises

Most of the early efforts to all oppose all abortions without any exceptions in the immediate aftermath of Roe v. Wade were blunted by the so-called Family Life Bureau of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) and its policy arm, the so-called United States Catholic Conference (USCC), which has been known as the misnamed United States Conference of Catholic Bishop since 2001, were premised upon a “strategic” decision in the 1960s to support legislation that conceded the nonexistent “right” of a mother

It is upon that false premise that the conciliar "bishops" have embraced a ready acceptance of the "right to life mother exception" in legislative proposals without even attempting to pressure supposedly pro-life members of various legislatures, including those in both houses of the Congress of the United States of America, believing that doing so will help to convince "reasonable" people that they and the politicians they support are not "radicals" or "extremists," that such concessions are "necessary" to make in the realm prudence.

This is, of course, the exact same moral casuistry that gave us "natural family planning" and explicit classroom instruction in matters pertaining to the Sixth and Ninth Commandments that has corrupted what passes for Catholic moral theology in so many places that high level officials in the Vatican itself can speak of "therapeutic" abortions as being within the moral law (see So Long to the Fifth Commandment and Rotten To The Very Roots).

Some tried very hard to warn the "bishops" as early as the first years after the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States of America in the cases of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, January 2, 1973, that the acceptance of "exceptions" would lead to the further institutionalization of baby-killing under the cover of the civil law in the mistaken belief that some killings would be prevented.

One of those who did so was Mrs. Randy Engel, the Director of the U.S. Coalition for Life, who testified in 1974. before the Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments of the United States Senate Committee for the Judiciary. Mrs. Engel saw things with prophetic clarity: there could never be any compromise with the binding precepts of the Fifth Commandment, and for this, of course, she has been hated by the "pro-life establishment" ever since:

I am Randy Engel, National Director of the United States Coalition for Life, an international research center and clearing- house specializing in domestic federal anti-life programs within the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and the Agency for International Development. Thank you for your invitation to appear before the sub-committee today in order that I may express the views of the Coalition, its distinguished national and international board of advisors, some of whom have already testified at earlier Senate hearings on the Human Life Amendment, and that of thousands of grassroots people whom we have had the honor of serving on a day to day basis since the Coalition opened its offices almost two years ago.

Mr. Chairman, about four months ago, the Coalition filed with your office, the transcript of a speech made by Louise Tyrer , M.D. , Family Planning Division of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, before the Association of Planned Parenthood Physicians' 12th Annual Meeting, Memphis, Tennessee on Tuesday, April 16, 1974, on the status of the various Human Life Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. (Attachment A) According to Dr. Tyrer' s assessment of the Congressional scene there are two basic approaches. One - a "state's rights" approach which would return the power of lawmaking in the area of abortion to the individual States. The second - which would guarantee the full protection of the law to the unborn child from the moment of fertilization. The "State's rights" approach she states, and correctly so, is unacceptable to the majority of Pro-Life people yet very attractive to the legislators because " it sought of takes the ones off their backs from making any decisions."

The remainder of her talk stresses the necessity of stalling the hearings of this sub-committee by having Planned Parenthood physicians flood the sub-committee with requests to testify. This, Dr. Tyrer suggests would be politically expedient and politically NECESSARY for you Mr. Chairman, in order to keep the amendments bottled up in sub-committee until you had gone through the election process in the Fall. Now, Mr. Chairman, I have no desire to embarrass you in any manner. Not because I fell Dr. Tyrer was incorrect in her judgment of the political realities of the Senate and House Committees dealing with the abortion issue or her assessment that stalling these subcommittee hearings by dragging them out month by month would be politically expedient for you and others who might prefer not to have a roll call vote on a Human Life Amendment before election time. But rather, because with few exceptions, almost every Senator and Representative in Congress would like nothing better than to get rid of the abortion issue tomorrow, if not before, or at least dump the matter back into the lap of the State legislatures.

This is not our affair - they say.

The massive slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent unborn children is not a federal matter - they say.

We are not responsible for the Supreme Court decision of January 22, 1972 which is now the law of the land - they say.

Well, I am here Mr. Chairman to tell you and every other Senator and Congressman that like it or not - Abortion IS your affair. That the massive slaughter of unborn children in this country IS a proper matter of federal concern. Moreover that this Congress IS directly responsible for the almost inevitable Supreme Court decision which stripped unborn children of their inalienable right to life. Congress IS responsible because over the last ten years it has permitted an anti-life philosophy and anti-life programs and policies to become matters of NATIONAL POLICY , promoted and supported by tax dollars.

It is the Federal Government - at all levels - Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches - which has posed the greatest threat to unborn children in recent years. The Executive Branch because it has failed to correct the anti-life abuses primarily within the bureaucracies of HEW and AID and has permitted key anti-life leaders such as Dr. Louis Hellman the Office of Population Affairs and Dr. R. T. Ravenholt, Director Population Bureau for Population and Humanitarian Affairs [and the man who coined the phrase "Natural Family Planning"] to remain in office. The Legislative Branch, because it has authorized legislation and appropriated funds year after year to initiate, promote and sustain anti-life programs in virtually every conceivable federal bureaucracy including the Office of Economic Opportunity, Office of Environmental Education, Office of Education, Department of Defense Office of Population Affairs (HEW), National Institutes of Health, Agriculture Department, Food and Drug Administration, Public Health Service Social Security, MedicAID, Aid to Dependent Children, U.S. Information Agency Population Office(AID). Contraceptive Research Branch (NIH) Federal Communication Commission).

As I said the Supreme Court abortion decision was an inevitable one. All the cliches of that decision - terms like "unwanted children", "a woman's right to control her own body.", the population explosion stem from the Sangerite ethic. It represented the culmination of more than half a century of dedication and tireless efforts by the Sangerites and the Malthusians to convince the American public of the righteousness of the CAUSE and to elevate the SANGERITE-MALTHUSIAN philosophy to that of Public Policy .

This final achievement is portrayed quite candidly in this book Breeding Ourselves to Death - the Story of the Hugh Moore Fund by abortion leader Lawrence Lader. In the section on gaining Congressional Support, former N.Y. Senator Kenneth Keating, then newly appointed National Director of the Population Crisis Committee tells about eating in the Senate Dining Room where he could spread the gospel of family planning among old friends, particularly among the Republican leadership. This fight to influence by other population control leaders in Congress goes on today.

But what does all this have to do with this subcommittee hearing on the Human Life Amendment? Simply this:

For more than a year the Hogan-Helms Human Life Amendment and similar bills have been buried in the House, where Representative Don Edwards has refused to hold hearings, and in the Senate - hearings are dragged out month after month to get Senators and Representatives through the November watershed without a floor vote on such as the HLA.

Obviously there is no sense of urgency about the matter, with the exception of a handful of dedicated men, the Congress doesn't appear to be the least concerned that its inaction will result in the death of hundreds of thousands of unborn children. The fact that millions of federal tax dollars are used to promote a myriad of anti-life schemes- from direct abortion payments (Medicaid-ADC; to the research development and promoting of new abortion techniques to the indoctrination of young children of an anti-life ethic appears to raise no particular concern at family planning authorization or appropriation hearings.

Equally obvious is the fact that under these conditions we will have a difficult time getting a Human Life Amendment passed by both Houses. of Congress and on its way to the states for ratification. My purpose here today is to point out the current commitment of the Federal Government including this Congress to the anti-life establishment, and briefly how such a commitment was obtained and at what price.

Mr. Chairman, this Congress OWES its vigorous support for a Human Life Amendment which would protect Human Life from conception until natural death to the American people. The Coalition would agree that the Hogan-Helms Amendment or the newer Roncallo Amendment would provide such protection.

Apart from the merit of these amendments themselves, we feel that Congress should recognize the fact that through its indifference, ignorance and its inability to withstand the pressures of the anti-life movement, it must bear its share of guilt for the 1972 Abortion decision, and its share of responsibility in seeing a Human Life Amendment is passed to protect the unborn child.

Your responsibility, Mr. Chairman, in this matter is very plain. As for our part, I believe the Coalition and the Pro-Life Movement in the U. S. will continue to fight at all levels - including the Halls of Congress and yes, even in Senate dining rooms - to educate and to promote an ideal that is as revolutionary in our day as the Sangerite ideal was fifty years ago. That ideal is based on the sanctity and innate goodness of all human life. (Full text of "Abortion : hearings before the Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments.)

Even though the efforts made by Mrs. Engel and others were valiant, we can see now with perfect hindsight that which was not understood by very many at the time: that these noble efforts were doomed to failure precisely because the "pro-life establishment," headed by the National Not-So-Right to Life Committee, rallied around the constitutional amendment that had been proposed by United States Senator James Buckley (C-New York; the "c" reflects Buckley's election in a three-way race in 1970 as the candidate of the Conservative Party of the State of New York) that permitted the "life of the mother" exception.

Only four American bishops, Timothy Cardinal Manning of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, John Cardinal Krol of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Humberto Medeiros of the Archdiocese of Boston and John Cardinal Cody of the Archdiocese of Chicago testified against the Buckley Amendment on the grounds that the civil law could never permit the direct taking of a single, solitary innocent human life from the first moment of conception through all subsequent stages until natural death. These cardinals, however, although part of the conciliar church by that time, were opposed by the entire "pro-life" establishment whose machinations were being orchestrated, at least to a very large extent, by the then Monsignor James Timothy McHugh of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. McHugh did not have a qualm of conscience whatsoever about the "life of the mother exception" as a matter of legislative expedience or as a core moral principle of the National Right to Life Committee his work at the then named Family Life Bureau of the United States Catholic Conference helped to launch.

While there exists a division amongst the conciliar “bishops” at this time concerning the sanctions that should be imposed upon the likes of the feeble, senile, intellectually hollow, heartless, shameless heretic and subservient fool of statism, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., the very existence of such a division speaks volumes in and of itself about the state of apostasy that is rife in the conciliar sect, which has not been, is not now and can never be the Catholic Church.

Despite their many differences, the Jacobin/Bolshevik “bishops” in the United States of America (Blase Cupich, Sean O’Malley, John Stowe, Wilton Gregory, Robert McElroy, Joseph Tobin) and the Girondist/Menshevik “bishops” (Raymond Burke, who is still a powerful “conservative” force in the United States of America from his perch in the conciliar-occupied Vatican, Joseph Strickland, Thomas Tobin, who is no relation to Joseph Tobin, Jose Tomas Gomez, James Wall, Charles Cupich, David Ricken, Donald Hyden, Thomas Olmsted, Liam Carey, James Conley, Robert Vasa, Salvatore Cordileone, Michael Barber, Alexander Sample, John Doerfler, Samuel Aquila, Thomas Paprocki, Joseph Naumann), each of them is united in rejecting the clear teaching about the true purposes of civil governance as enunciated succinctly by Pope Saint Pius X in Vehementer Nos, February 11, 1906:

That the State must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error. Based, as it is, on the principle that the State must not recognize any religious cult, it is in the first place guilty of a great injustice to God; for the Creator of man is also the Founder of human societies, and preserves their existence as He preserves our own. We owe Him, therefore, not only a private cult, but a public and social worship to honor Him. Besides, this thesis is an obvious negation of the supernatural order. It limits the action of the State to the pursuit of public prosperity during this life only, which is but the proximate object of political societies; and it occupies itself in no fashion (on the plea that this is foreign to it) with their ultimate object which is man's eternal happiness after this short life shall have run its course. But as the present order of things is temporary and subordinated to the conquest of man's supreme and absolute welfare, it follows that the civil power must not only place no obstacle in the way of this conquest, but must aid us in effecting it. The same thesis also upsets the order providentially established by God in the world, which demands a harmonious agreement between the two societies. Both of them, the civil and the religious society, although each exercises in its own sphere its authority over them. It follows necessarily that there are many things belonging to them in common in which both societies must have relations with one another. Remove the agreement between Church and State, and the result will be that from these common matters will spring the seeds of disputes which will become acute on both sides; it will become more difficult to see where the truth lies, and great confusion is certain to arise. Finally, this thesis inflicts great injury on society itself, for it cannot either prosper or last long when due place is not left for religion, which is the supreme rule and the sovereign mistress in all questions touching the rights and the duties of men. Hence the Roman Pontiffs have never ceased, as circumstances required, to refute and condemn the doctrine of the separation of Church and State. (Pope Saint Pius X, Vehementer Nos, February 11, 1906.)

The fact that the conditions favorable to a Catholic state do not exist at this time does nothing to detract from the immutability of the Catholic teaching explicated so clearly by Pope Saint Pius X.

Indeed, the fact that the conditions favorable to a Catholic state do not exist at this time is the result of the proliferation of a deliberate, planned attack by the adversary himself upon it by using the combined, interrelated errors of Protestantism and Judeo-Masonry to uproot the Holy Cross as the foundation of personal and social order in Europe and to make sure it was not the foundation of such order here in the United States of America.

Father Denis Fahey made this exact point in The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World:

By the grace of the Headship of the Mystical Body, our Lord Jesus Christ is both Priest and King of redeemed mankind and, as such, exercises a twofold influence upon us. Firstly, as a Priest, He communicates to us the supernatural life of grace by which we, while ever remaining distinct from God, can enter into the vision and love of the Blessed Trinity. We can thus become one with God, not, of course, in the order of substance or being, but in the order of operation, of the immaterial union of vision and love. The Divine Nature is the principle of the Divine Vision and Love, and by grace we are ‘made partakers of the Divine Nature.’ This pure Catholic doctrine is infinitely removed from Masonic pantheism. Secondly, as King, our Lord exercises an exterior influence on us by His government of us. As King, He guides and directs us socially and individually, in order to dispose all things for the reception of the Supernatural Life which He, as Priest, confers.

Society had been organized in the thirteenth century and even down to the sixteenth, under the banner of Christ the King. Thus, in spite of deficiencies and imperfections, man’s divinization, through the Life that comes from the sacred Humanity of Jesus, was socially favoured. Modern society, under the influence of Satan, was to be organized on the opposite principle, namely, that human nature is of itself divine, that man is God, and, therefore, subject to nobody. Accordingly, when the favourable moment had arrived, the Masonic divnization of human nature found its expression in the Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789The French Revolution ushered in the struggle for the complete organization of the world around the new divinity–Humanity. In God’s plan, the whole organization of a country is meant to aid the development of a country is meant to aid the development of the true personality of the citizens through the Mystical Body of Christ. Accordingly, the achievement of true liberty for a country means the removal of obstacles to the organized social acceptance of the Divine Plan. Every revolution since 1789 tends, on the contrary, to the rejection of that plan, and therefore to the enthronement of man in the place of God. The freedom at which the spirit of the revolution aims is that absolute independence which refuses submission to any and every order. It is the spirit breathed by the temptation of the serpent: ‘For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened; and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’ Man decided then that he would himself lay down the order of good and evil in the place of God; then and now it is the same attitude. (Father Denis Fahey, The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World, p. 27.)   

The era of modernity has given us the likes of men who hated Christ the King such as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Woodrow Wilson, each of whom helped to plant the seeds for the triumph of the deification of “man” and his “rights.” The degeneration has been such that we are now governed by various shades of statists who do not believe that it is necessary to govern according to the binding precepts of the Divine Positive Law and the Natural Law as they have been entrusted to the Catholic Church for their authoritative explication.

Thus it is that men of good will, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, find themselves fighting endless rear-guard efforts on the devil’s terms by making immoral, unnecessary and ultimately counterproductive compromises with moral truth that only embolden the forces of darkness, who will always find allies among the supreme masters of sophistry in the Federal judiciary.

It is thus entirely unsurprising that the Argentine Apostate, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has said nary a word about the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States of America in the case of Thomas E. Dobbs, Mississippi State Health Officer v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, June 24, 2022, but the conciliar Vatican’s editorial director wrote an editorial that downplayed  the decision by making the standard Bergoglian moral equivalence between willful murder and all manner of agenda items of the false opposite of the naturalist “left” (opposition to the death penalty, support for illegal immigration, massive statist taxation to redistribute wealth in the name of “social justice,” global programs to combat “man-made climate change,” and “gun control,” which is a new item of the ever growing list of issues that are said to be morally equivalent to the deliberate, willful killing of innocent human beings:  

The Vatican hailed the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, but said it is imperative that people who identify as “pro-life” also fight for critical life-protecting issues like gun control.

“Being for life always means defending it against the threat of firearms, which unfortunately have become a leading cause of death of children and adolescents in the U.S.,” the Vatican’s editorial director, Andrea Tornielli, chided Saturday in an essay.

“Pro-life” is not just about opposing abortion, he pointed out. Anti-abortion activists must be concerned with all issues that threaten life, such as easy access to guns, poverty and rising maternity mortality rates, which are alarmingly high in the U.S., Tornielli emphasized.

The maternal mortality rate in the U.S. has climbed from 20.1 deaths of women per 100,000 live births in 2019 to 23.8 per 100,000 in 2020, he noted, citing statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And “strikingly,” maternal mortality rates are three times higher for Black women in the U.S., Tornielli added.

“Being for life, always, means asking how to help women welcome new life,” he added, noting that that 75% of women in America who have abortions live in poverty or are low-wage earners. And only 16% of workers in private industry have paid parental leave, he added.

“We can hope ... that the debate on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling will not be reduced to an ideological confrontation, but will prompt all of us ... to reflect on what it means to welcome life, to defend it, and to promote it with appropriate legislation,” Tornielli emphasized.

The U.S. Conference of Bishops and the Vatican’s Academy for Life praised the Supreme Court ruling on Friday. But the Academy for Life also called for social changes to help women keep their children. (Vatican Says 'Pro Life' Activists Must Fight For Gun Control.)

We all now how very reliable the statistics from the United States Centers for Disease Control are, don’t we?

Tornielli’s false statistics are meant to provide utilitarian excuses for those who have killed their babies and will continue to do so even after the Dobbs decision, and it makes it appear that those who have been working to overturn Roe v. Wade have not been in the least concerned about mothers even though many of them have opened crisis pregnancy centers, have established homes for unwed mothers and donate thousands upon thousands of hours of their own time and treasure to care for their temporal needs and to nurture the ignorant among them in the truths of the Holy Faith.

As explained in Merchants of Murder and Mendacity, part two, last month, the feminization of poverty is the direct result of contraception and ready divorce, to say nothing of the influence of licentious programs that educate young children in ways to sin against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments and the influence exercised by the greedy profiteers of the film and music industries to popularize lust and violence as the reason for which humans live.

Indeed, as noted at the beginning of this commentary, American cities are awash with all manner of violence, including that caused by people shooting guns, because the shedding of innocent blood unleashed by the Roe mentality, coupled with the lack of a superabundance of Sanctifying and Actual Graces in the world caused by the liturgically barren rites of the counterfeit church of conciliarism, have made it easier than ever for people to live as barbarians steeped in a nihilistic narcissism the likes of which the world has not seen heretofore.

Andrea Tornielli understands none of this because he is a leftist ideologue who parrots falsehoods while downplaying one of the four sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance: willful murder.

Yet it is, of course, that conciliarism itself is founded in endless acts of violence against Catholic Faith, Morals, and Worship, and it is this, perhaps more than anything else that has caused the world and so many people in it to go mad and for so many Catholics, including the likes of Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., and Nancy Patricia D’Alesandro Pelosi, to rend their garments about the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization as they remain in perfectly good standing within the confines of false religious sect whose leaders see fit to minimize child-killing as they worship the dirt of the earth to which their mortal bodies will one day return.

Concluding Remarks

Without minimizing the significance of the Dobbs decision nor the fact that it would not have been made possible without then President Donald John Trump’s appointments of Neil Gorsuch, Bret Michael Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, it is nevertheless true that the reality facing us is far more complex than what even the supposedly “conservative” pro-life websites seem to understand. A “little bit” of abortion is not acceptable in the eyes of God, and it should not be acceptable to us, and the fact that the unseen killing of the innocent by means of contraception, openly-marketed abortifacients, infanticide after birth, euthanasia, suicide, “assisted-suicide,” physician “assisted suicide,” “brain death”/human organ vivisection, the daily starvation and dehydration of brain damaged human beings carried out with the full support of family members, “palliative care”/hospice, and the untold thousands upon thousands of people who have injured or killed by gene therapy jabs and other poisons injected under the pretense of “preventing” disease is not even a subject of conversation, no less concern, for many “pro-life” Catholics provides stark testimony about the many insidious ways in which the adversary has laid traps for people to participate in what Dr. Paul A. Byrne calls the “system of death.”

The most important battle for life that we fight every day, however, is the one we fight for the salvation of our immortal souls, which have been the beneficiaries of the mercies of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Pope Pius XI explained that we must make reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus for our own sins and those of the whole world:

Now, how great is the necessity of this expiation or reparation, more especially in this our age, will be manifest to every one who, as we said at the outset, will examine the world, “seated in wickedness” (1 John v, 19), with his eyes and with his mind. For from all sides the cry of the peoples who are mourning comes up to us, and their princes or rulers have indeed stood up and met together in one against the Lord and against His Church (Cf. Psalm ii, 2). Throughout those regions indeed, we see that all rights both human and Divine are confounded. Churches are thrown down and overturned, religious men and sacred virgins are torn from their homes and are afflicted with abuse, with barbarities, with hunger and imprisonment; bands of boys and girls are snatched from the bosom of their mother the Church, and are induced to renounce Christ, to blaspheme and to attempt the worst crimes of lust; the whole Christian people, sadly disheartened and disrupted, are continually in danger of falling away from the faith, or of suffering the most cruel death. These things in truth are so sad that you might say that such events foreshadow and portend the “beginning of sorrows,” that is to say of those that shall be brought by the man of sin, “who is lifted up above all that is called God or is worshipped” (2 Thessalonians ii, 4).

But it is yet more to be lamented, Venerable Brethren, that among the faithful themselves, washed in Baptism with the blood of the immaculate Lamb, and enriched with grace, there are found so many men of every class, who laboring under an incredible ignorance of Divine things and infected with false doctrines, far from their Father’s home, lead a life involved in vices, a life which is not brightened by the light of true faith, nor gladdened by the hope of future beatitude, nor refreshed and cherished by the fire of charity; so that they truly seem to sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Moreover, among the faithful there is a greatly increasing carelessness of ecclesiastical discipline, and of those ancient institutions on which all Christian life rests, by which domestic society is governed, and the sanctity of marriage is safeguarded; the education of children is altogether neglected, or else it is depraved by too indulgent blandishments, and the Church is even robbed of the power of giving the young a Christian education; there is a sad forgetfulness of Christian modesty especially in the life and the dress of women; there is an unbridled cupidity of transitory things, a want of moderation in civic affairs, an unbounded ambition of popular favor, a depreciation of legitimate authority, and lastly a contempt for the word of God, whereby faith itself is injured, or is brought into proximate peril.

But all these evils as it were culminate in the cowardice and the sloth of those who, after the manner of the sleeping and fleeing disciples, wavering in their faith, miserably forsake Christ when He is oppressed by anguish or surrounded by the satellites of Satan, and in the perfidy of those others who following the example of the traitor Judas, either partake of the holy table rashly and sacrilegiously, or go over to the camp of the enemy. And thus, even against our will, the thought rises in the mind that now those days draw near of which Our Lord prophesied: “And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold” (Matth. xxiv, 12).

Now, whosoever of the faithful have piously pondered on all these things must need be inflamed with the charity of Christ in His agony and make a more vehement endeavor to expiate their own faults and those of others, to repair the honor of Christ, and to promote the eternal salvation of souls. And indeed that saying of the Apostle: “Where sin abounded, grace did more abound” (Romans v, 20) may be used in a manner to describe this present age; for while the wickedness of men has been greatly increased, at the same time, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, a marvelous increase has been made in the number of the faithful of both sexes who with eager mind endeavor to make satisfaction for the many injuries offered to the Divine Heart, nay more they do not hesitate to offer themselves to Christ as victims. For indeed if any one will lovingly dwell on those things of which we have been speaking, and will have them deeply fixed in his mind, it cannot be but he will shrink with horror from all sin as from the greatest evil, and more than this he will yield himself wholly to the will of God, and will strive to repair the injured honor of the Divine Majesty, as well by constantly praying, as by voluntary mortifications, by patiently bearing the afflictions that befall him, and lastly by spending his whole life in this exercise of expiation. (Pope Pius XI, Miserentissimus Redemptor, May 8, 1928.)

As noted before in this commentary, we need the help of the August Queen of Heaven, Our Lady, to save our souls, and we need to be consecrated to her Divine Son’s Most Sacred Heart through her own Sorrowful and Immaculate as we seek to make our own the call to the supernatural arms of expiation by Pope Pius XI ninety-four years ago.

This age of error and deceit, this age when men celebrated as victories decisions and policies founded on error that make no room for Christ the King, His Holy Commandments nor His true Church in all that pertains to the good of souls will pass in God’s good time.

Until that time, therefore, we have work to do as soldiers in the Army of Christ to plant a few seeds for the restoration of a true pope on the Throne of Saint Peter and thus, in turn, the restoration of the Social Reign of Christ the King and the inauguration of the Age of Mary, Our Immaculate Queen.

Every Rosary we pray helps to plant these seeds, which is why the best use of our time is not to be immersed in the babbling blathering of naturalist nincompoops, but in being on our knees, where possible, to beseech Our Lady of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, she who is the treasurer of the graces He won for us during His Passion and Death on the wood of the Holy Cross on Good Friday, to help us perpetually against the enemies of our salvation now, and at the hour our of our death.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.

Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.

Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.

Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.

Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.

Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.


Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.


Appendix A

Text of Associate Justice Samuel Alito's Opinion for the Court in the Case of Thomas E. Dobbs, Mississippi State Health Officer v. Jackson Women's Health Organization


Abortion presents a profound moral issue on which Americans hold sharply conflicting views. Some believe fervently that a human person comes into being at conception and that abortion ends an innocent life. Others feel just as strongly that any regulation of abortion invades a woman’s right to control her own body and prevents women from achieving full equality. Still others in a third group think that abortion should be allowed under some but not all circumstances, and those within this group hold a variety of views about the particular restrictions that should be imposed.

For the first 185 years after the adoption of the Constitution, each State was permitted to address this issue in accordance with the views of its citizens. Then, in 1973, this Court decided Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113. Even though the Constitution makes no mention of abortion, the Court held that it confers a broad right to obtain one. It did not claim that American law or the common law had ever recognized such a right, and its survey of history ranged from the constitutionally irrelevant (e.g., its discussion of abortion in antiquity) to the plainly incorrect (e.g., its assertion that abortion was probably never a crime under the common law). After cataloging a wealth of other information having no bearing on the meaning of the Constitution, the opinion concluded with a numbered set of rules much like those that might be found in a statute enacted by a legislature.

Under this scheme, each trimester of pregnancy was regulated differently, but the most critical line was drawn at roughly the end of the second trimester, which, at the time, corresponded to the point at which a fetus was thought to achieve “viability,” i.e., the ability to survive outside the womb. Although the Court acknowledged that States had a legitimate interest in protecting “potential life,”1 it found that this interest could not justify any restriction on previability abortions. The Court did not explain the basis for this line, and even abortion supporters have found it hard to defend Roe’s reasoning. One prominent constitutional scholar wrote that he “would vote for a statute very much like the one the Court end[ed] up drafting” if he were “a legislator,” but his assessment of Roe was memorable and brutal: Roe was “not constitutional law” at all and gave “almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.”2

At the time of Roe, 30 States still prohibited abortion at all stages. In the years prior to that decision, about a third of the States had liberalized their laws, but Roe abruptly ended that political process. It imposed the same highly restrictive regime on the entire Nation, and it effectively struck down the abortion laws of every single State.3 As Justice Byron White aptly put it in his dissent, the decision represented the “exercise of raw judicial power,” 410 U. S., at 222, and it sparked a national controversy that has embittered our political culture for a half century.4 Eventually, in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U. S. 833 (1992), the Court revisited Roe, but the Members of the Court split three ways. Two Justices expressed no desire to change Roe in any way.5 Four others wanted to overrule the decision in its entirety.6 And the three remaining Justices, who jointly signed the controlling opinion, took a third position.7 Their opinion did not endorse Roe’s reasoning, and it even hinted that one or more of its authors might have “reservations” about whether the Constitution protects a right to abortion.8 But the opinion concluded that stare decisis, which calls for prior decisions to be followed in most instances, required adherence to what it called Roe’s “central holding”—that a State may not constitutionally protect fetal life before “viability”—even if that holding was wrong.9 Anything less, the opinion claimed, would undermine respect for this Court and the rule of law.

Paradoxically, the judgment in Casey did a fair amount of overruling. Several important abortion decisions were overruled in toto, and Roe itself was overruled in part.10 Casey threw out Roe’s trimester scheme and substituted a new rule of uncertain origin under which States were forbidden to adopt any regulation that imposed an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to have an abortion.11 The decision provided no clear guidance about the difference between a “due” and an “undue” burden. But the three Justices who authored the controlling opinion “call[ed] the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division” by treating the Court’s decision as the final settlement of the question of the constitutional right to abortion.12

As has become increasingly apparent in the intervening years, Casey did not achieve that goal. Americans continue to hold passionate and widely divergent views on abortion, and state legislatures have acted accordingly. Some have recently enacted laws allowing abortion, with few restrictions, at all stages of pregnancy. Others have tightly restricted abortion beginning well before viability. And in this case, 26 States have expressly asked this Court to overrule Roe and Casey and allow the States to regulate or prohibit pre-viability abortions.

Before us now is one such state law. The State of Mississippi asks us to uphold the constitutionality of a law that generally prohibits an abortion after the 15th week of pregnancy—several weeks before the point at which a fetus is now regarded as “viable” outside the womb. In defending this law, the State’s primary argument is that we should reconsider and overrule Roe and Casey and once again allow each State to regulate abortion as its citizens wish. On the other side, respondents and the Solicitor General ask us to reaffirm Roe and Casey, and they contend that the Mississippi law cannot stand if we do so. Allowing Mississippi to prohibit abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, they argue, “would be no different than overruling Casey and Roe entirely.” Brief for Respondents 43. They contend that “no half-measures” are available and that we must either reaffirm or overrule Roe and Casey. Brief for Respondents 50.

We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.” Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U. S. 702, 721 (1997) (internal quotation marks omitted).

Until the latter part of the 20th century, such a right was entirely unknown in American law. Indeed, when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, three quarters of the States made abortion a crime at all stages of pregnancy. The abortion right is also critically different from any other right that this Court has held to fall within the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection of “liberty.” Roe’s defenders characterize the abortion right as similar to the rights recognized in past decisions involving matters such as intimate sexual relations, contraception, and marriage, but abortion is fundamentally different, as both Roe and Casey acknowledged, because it destroys what those decisions called “fetal life” and what the law now before us describes as an “unborn human being.”13

Stare decisis, the doctrine on which Casey’s controlling opinion was based, does not compel unending adherence to Roe’s abuse of judicial authority. Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.

It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives. “The permissibility of abortion, and the limitations, upon it, are to be resolved like most important questions in our democracy: by citizens trying to persuade one another and then voting.” Casey, 505 U. S., at 979 (Scalia, J., concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part). That is what the Constitution and the rule of law demand.


The law at issue in this case, Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, see Miss. Code Ann. §41–41–191 (2018), contains this central provision: “Except in a medical emergency or in the case of a severe fetal abnormality, a person shall not intentionally or knowingly perform . . . or induce an abortion of an unborn human being if the probable gestational age of the unborn human being has been determined to be greater than fifteen (15) weeks.” §4(b).14

To support this Act, the legislature made a series of factual findings. It began by noting that, at the time of enactment, only six countries besides the United States “permit[ted] nontherapeutic or elective abortion-on-demand after the twentieth week of gestation.”15 §2(a). The legislature then found that at 5 or 6 weeks’ gestational age an “unborn human being’s heart begins beating”; at 8 weeks the “unborn human being begins to move about in the womb”; at 9 weeks “all basic physiological functions are present”; at 10 weeks “vital organs begin to function,” and “[h]air, fingernails, and toenails . . . begin to form”; at 11 weeks “an unborn human being’s diaphragm is developing,” and he or she may “move about freely in the womb”; and at 12 weeks the “unborn human being” has “taken on ‘the human form’ in all relevant respects.” §2(b)(i) (quoting Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U. S. 124, 160 (2007)). It found that most abortions after 15 weeks employ “dilation and evacuation procedures which involve the use of surgical instruments to crush and tear the unborn child,” and it concluded that the “intentional commitment of such acts for nontherapeutic or elective reasons is a barbaric practice, dangerous for the maternal patient, and demeaning to the medical profession.” §2(b)(i)(8)

Respondents are an abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and one of its doctors. On the day the Gestational Age Act was enacted, respondents filed suit in Federal District Court against various Mississippi officials, alleging that the Act violated this Court’s precedents establishing a constitutional right to abortion. The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of respondents and permanently enjoined enforcement of the Act, reasoning that “viability marks the earliest point at which the State’s interest in fetal life is constitutionally adequate to justify a legislative ban on nontherapeutic abortions” and that 15 weeks’ gestational age is “prior to viability.” Jackson Women’s Health Org. v. Currier, 349 F. Supp. 3d 536, 539–540 (SD Miss. 2019) (internal quotation marks omitted). The Fifth Circuit affirmed. 945 F. 3d 265 (2019).

We granted certiorari, 593 U. S. ___ (2021), to resolve the question whether “all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional,” Pet. for Cert. i. Petitioners’ primary defense of the Mississippi Gestational Age Act is that Roe and Casey were wrongly decided and that “the Act is constitutional because it satisfies rational-basis review.” Brief for Petitioners 49. Respondents answer that allowing Mississippi to ban pre-viability abortions “would be no different than overruling Casey and Roe entirely.” Brief for Respondents 43. They tell us that “no halfmeasures” are available: We must either reaffirm or overrule Roe and Casey. Brief for Respondents 50.

We begin by considering the critical question whether the Constitution, properly understood, confers a right to obtain an abortion. Skipping over that question, the controlling opinion in Casey reaffirmed Roe’s “central holding” based solely on the doctrine of stare decisis, but as we will explain, proper application of stare decisis required an assessment of the strength of the grounds on which Roe was based. See infra, at 45–56

We therefore turn to the question that the Casey plurality did not consider, and we address that question in three steps. First, we explain the standard that our cases have used in determining whether the Fourteenth Amendment’s reference to “liberty” protects a particular right. Second, we examine whether the right at issue in this case is rooted in our Nation’s history and tradition and whether it is an essential component of what we have described as “ordered liberty.” Finally, we consider whether a right to obtain an abortion is part of a broader entrenched right that is supported by other precedents.



Constitutional analysis must begin with “the language of the instrument,” Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1, 186–189 (1824), which offers a “fixed standard” for ascertaining what our founding document means, 1 J. Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States §399, p. 383 (1833). The Constitution makes no express reference to a right to obtain an abortion, and therefore those who claim that it protects such a right must show that the right is somehow implicit in the constitutional text Roe, however, was remarkably loose in its treatment of the constitutional text. It held that the abortion right, which is not mentioned in the Constitution, is part of a right to privacy, which is also not mentioned. See 410 U. S., at 152–153. And that privacy right, Roe observed, had been found to spring from no fewer than five different constitutional provisions—the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Id., at 152

The Court’s discussion left open at least three ways in which some combination of these provisions could protect the abortion right. One possibility was that the right was “founded . . . in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people.” Id., at 153. Another was that the right was rooted in the First, Fourth, or Fifth Amendment, or in some combination of those provisions, and that this right had been “incorporated” into the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment just as many other Bill of Rights provisions had by then been incorporated. Ibid; see also McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U. S. 742, 763–766 (2010) (majority opinion) (discussing incorporation). And a third path was that the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments played no role and that the right was simply a component of the “liberty” protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. Roe, 410 U. S., at 153. Roe expressed the “feel[ing]” that the Fourteenth Amendment was the provision that did the work, but its message seemed to be that the abortion right could be found somewhere in the Constitution and that specifying its exact location was not of paramount importance.16 The Casey Court did not defend this unfocused analysis and instead grounded its decision solely on the theory that the right to obtain an abortion is part of the “liberty” protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.

We discuss this theory in depth below, but before doing so, we briefly address one additional constitutional provision that some of respondents’ amici have now offered as yet another potential home for the abortion right: the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. See Brief for United States as Amicus Curiae 24 (Brief for United States); see also Brief for Equal Protection Constitutional Law Scholars as Amici Curiae. Neither Roe nor Casey saw fit to invoke this theory, and it is squarely foreclosed by our precedents, which establish that a State’s regulation of abortion is not a sex-based classification and is thus not subject to the “heightened scrutiny” that applies to such classifications.17 The regulation of a medical procedure that only one sex can undergo does not trigger heightened constitutional scrutiny unless the regulation is a “mere pretex[t] designed to effect an invidious discrimination against members of one sex or the other.” Geduldig v. Aiello, 417 U. S. 484, 496, n. 20 (1974). And as the Court has stated, the “goal of preventing abortion” does not constitute “invidiously discriminatory animus” against women. Bray v. Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic, 506 U. S. 263, 273–274 (1993) (internal quotation marks omitted). Accordingly, laws regulating or prohibiting abortion are not subject to heightened scrutiny. Rather, they are governed by the same standard of review as other health and safety measures.18

With this new theory addressed, we turn to Casey’s bold assertion that the abortion right is an aspect of the “liberty” protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. 505 U. S., at 846; Brief for Respondents 17; Brief for United States 21–22.


The underlying theory on which this argument rests— that the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause provides substantive, as well as procedural, protection for “liberty”—has long been controversial. But our decisions have held that the Due Process Clause protects two categories of substantive rights. The first consists of rights guaranteed by the first eight Amendments. Those Amendments originally applied only to the Federal Government, Barron ex rel. Tiernan v. Mayor of Baltimore, 7 Pet. 243, 247–251 (1833) (opinion for the Court by Marshall, C. J.), but this Court has held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment “incorporates” the great majority of those rights and thus makes them equally applicable to the States. See McDonald, 561U. S., at 763–767, and nn. 12–13. The second category— which is the one in question here—comprises a select list of fundamental rights that are not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution.

In deciding whether a right falls into either of these categories, the Court has long asked whether the right is “deeply rooted in [our] history and tradition” and whether it is essential to our Nation’s “scheme of ordered liberty.” Timbs v. Indiana, 586 U. S. ___, ___ (2019) (slip op., at 3) (internal quotation marks omitted); McDonald, 561 U. S., at 764, 767 (internal quotation marks omitted); Glucksberg, 521 U. S., at 721 (internal quotation marks omitted).19 And in conducting this inquiry, we have engaged in a careful analysis of the history of the right at issue.

Justice Ginsburg’s opinion for the Court in Timbs is a recent example. In concluding that the Eighth Amendment’s protection against excessive fines is “fundamental to our scheme of ordered liberty” and “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition,” 586 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 7) (internal quotation marks omitted), her opinion traced the right back to Magna Carta, Blackstone’s Commentaries, and 35 of the 37 state constitutions in effect at the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment. 586 U. S., at ___–___ (slip op., at 3–7).

A similar inquiry was undertaken in McDonald, which held that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms. The lead opinion surveyed the origins of the Second Amendment, the debates in Congress about the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, the state constitutions in effect when that Amendment was ratified (at least 22 of the 37 States protected the right to keep and bear arms), federal laws enacted during the same period, and other relevant historical evidence. 561 U. S., at 767–777. Only then did the opinion conclude that “the Framers and ratifiers of the Fourteenth Amendment counted the right to keep and bear arms among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty.” Id., at 778; see also id., at 822–850 (THOMAS, J., concurring in part and concurring in judgment) (surveying history and reaching the same result under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities Clause).

Timbs and McDonald concerned the question whether the Fourteenth Amendment protects rights that are expressly set out in the Bill of Rights, and it would be anomalous if similar historical support were not required when a putative right is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. Thus, in Glucksberg, which held that the Due Process Clause does not confer a right to assisted suicide, the Court surveyed more than 700 years of “Anglo-American common law tradition,” 521 U. S., at 711, and made clear that a fundamental right must be “objectively, deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition,” id., at 720–721.

Historical inquiries of this nature are essential whenever we are asked to recognize a new component of the “liberty” protected by the Due Process Clause because the term “liberty” alone provides little guidance. “Liberty” is a capacious term. As Lincoln once said: “We all declare for Liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing.”20 In a well-known essay, Isaiah Berlin reported that “[h]istorians of ideas” had cataloged more than In interpreting what is meant by the Fourteenth Amendment’s reference to “liberty,” we must guard against the natural human tendency to confuse what that Amendment protects with our own ardent views about the liberty that Americans should enjoy. That is why the Court has long been “reluctant” to recognize rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution. Collins v. Harker Heights, 503 U. S. 115, 125 (1992). “Substantive due process has at times been a treacherous field for this Court,” Moore v. East Cleveland, 431 U. S. 494, 503 (1977) (plurality opinion), and it has sometimes led the Court to usurp authority that the Constitution entrusts to the people’s elected representatives. See Regents of Univ. of Mich. v. Ewing, 474 U. S. 214, 225– 226 (1985). As the Court cautioned in Glucksberg, “[w]e must . . . exercise the utmost care whenever we are asked to break new ground in this field, lest the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause be subtly transformed into the policy preferences of the Members of this Court.” 521 U. S., at 720 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

On occasion, when the Court has ignored the “[a]ppropriate limits” imposed by “‘respect for the teachings of history,’” Moore, 431 U. S., at 503 (plurality opinion), it has fallen into the freewheeling judicial policymaking that characterized discredited decisions such as Lochner v. New York, 198 U. S. 45 (1905). The Court must not fall prey to such an unprincipled approach. Instead, guided by the history and tradition that map the essential components of our Nation’s concept of ordered liberty, we must ask what the Fourteenth Amendment means by the term “liberty.” When we engage in that inquiry in the present case, the clear answer is that the Fourteenth Amendment does not protect the right to an abortion.22



Until the latter part of the 20th century, there was no support in American law for a constitutional right to obtain an abortion. No state constitutional provision had recognized such a right. Until a few years before Roe was handed down, no federal or state court had recognized such a right. Nor had any scholarly treatise of which we are aware. And although law review articles are not reticent about advocating new rights, the earliest article proposing a constitutional right to abortion that has come to our attention was published only a few years before Roe.23

Not only was there no support for such a constitutional right until shortly before Roe, but abortion had long been a crime in every single State. At common law, abortion was criminal in at least some stages of pregnancy and was regarded as unlawful and could have very serious consequences at all stages. American law followed the common law until a wave of statutory restrictions in the 1800s expanded criminal liability for abortions. By the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, three-quarters of the States had made abortion a crime at any stage of pregnancy, and the remaining States would soon follow. Roe either ignored or misstated this history, and Casey declined to reconsider Roe’s faulty historical analysis. It is therefore important to set the record straight.



We begin with the common law, under which abortion was a crime at least after “quickening”—i.e., the first felt movement of the fetus in the womb, which usually occurs between the 16th and 18th week of pregnancy.24

The “eminent common-law authorities (Blackstone, Coke, Hale, and the like),” Kahler v. Kansas, 589 U. S. ___, ___ (2020) (slip op., at 7), all describe abortion after quickening as criminal. Henry de Bracton’s 13th-century treatise explained that if a person has “struck a pregnant woman, or has given her poison, whereby he has caused abortion, if the foetus be already formed and animated, and particularly if it be animated, he commits homicide.” 2 De Legibus et Consuetudinibus Angliae 279 (T. Twiss ed. 1879); see also 1 Fleta, c. 23, reprinted in 72 Selden Soc. 60– 61 (H. Richardson & G. Sayles eds. 1955) (13th-century treatise).25

Sir Edward Coke’s 17th-century treatise likewise asserted that abortion of a quick child was “murder” if the “childe be born alive” and a “great misprision” if the “childe dieth in her body.” 3 Institutes of the Laws of England 50– 51 (1644). (“Misprision” referred to “some heynous offence under the degree of felony.” Id., at 139.) Two treatises by Sir Matthew Hale likewise described abortion of a quick child who died in the womb as a “great crime” and a “great misprision.” Pleas of the Crown 53 (P. Glazebrook ed. 1972); 1 History of the Pleas of the Crown 433 (1736) (Hale). And writing near the time of the adoption of our Constitution, William Blackstone explained that abortion of a “quick” child was “by the ancient law homicide or manslaughter” (citing Bracton), and at least a very “heinous misdemeanor” (citing Coke). 1 Commentaries on the Laws of England 129–130 (7th ed. 1775) (Blackstone).

English cases dating all the way back to the 13th century corroborate the treatises’ statements that abortion was a crime. See generally J. Dellapenna, Dispelling the Myths of Abortion History 126, and n. 16, 134–142, 188–194, and nn. 84–86 (2006) (Dellapenna); J. Keown, Abortion, Doctors and the Law 3–12 (1988) (Keown). In 1732, for example, Eleanor Beare was convicted of “destroying the Foetus in the Womb” of another woman and “thereby causing her to miscarry.”26 For that crime and another “misdemeanor,” Beare was sentenced to two days in the pillory and three years’ imprisonment.27

Although a pre-quickening abortion was not itself considered homicide, it does not follow that abortion was permissible at common law—much less that abortion was a legal right. Cf. Glucksberg, 521 U. S., at 713 (removal of “common law’s harsh sanctions did not represent an acceptance of suicide”). Quite to the contrary, in the 1732 case mentioned above, the judge said of the charge of abortion (with no mention of quickening) that he had “never met with a case so barbarous and unnatural.”28 Similarly, an indictment from 1602, which did not distinguish between a prequickening and post-quickening abortion, described abortion as “pernicious” and “against the peace of our Lady the Queen, her crown and dignity.” Keown 7 (discussing R. v. Webb, Calendar of Assize Records, Surrey Indictments 512 (1980)).
That the common law did not condone even prequickening abortions is confirmed by what one might call a proto-felony-murder rule. Hale and Blackstone explained a way in which a pre-quickening abortion could rise to the level of a homicide. Hale wrote that if a physician gave a woman “with child” a “potion” to cause an abortion, and the woman died, it was “murder” because the potion was given “unlawfully to destroy her child within her.” 1 Hale 429– 430 (emphasis added). As Blackstone explained, to “murder” a killing had to be done with “malice aforethought, . . . either express or implied.” 4 Blackstone 198 (emphasis deleted). In the case of an abortionist, Blackstone wrote, “the law will imply [malice]” for the same reason that it would imply malice if a person who intended to kill one person accidentally killed a different person:

“[I]f one shoots at A and misses him, but kills B, this is murder; because of the previous felonious intent, which the law transfers from one to the other. The same is the case, where one lays poison for A; and B, against whom the prisoner had no malicious intent, takes it, and it kills him; this is likewise murder. So also, if one gives a woman with child a medicine to procure abortion, and it operates so violently as to kill the woman, this is murder in the person who gave it.” Id., at 200– 201 (emphasis added; footnote omitted).29

Notably, Blackstone, like Hale, did not state that this proto-felony-murder rule required that the woman be “with quick child”—only that she be “with child.” Id., at 201. And it is revealing that Hale and Blackstone treated abortionists differently from other physicians or surgeons who caused the death of a patient “without any intent of doing [the patient] any bodily hurt.” Hale 429; see 4 Blackstone 197. These other physicians—even if “unlicensed”—would not be “guilty of murder or manslaughter.” Hale 429. But a physician performing an abortion would, precisely because his aim was an “unlawful” one.

In sum, although common-law authorities differed on the severity of punishment for abortions committed at different points in pregnancy, none endorsed the practice. Moreover, we are aware of no common-law case or authority, and the parties have not pointed to any, that remotely suggests a positive right to procure an abortion at any stage of pregnancy.


In this country, the historical record is similar. The “most important early American edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries,” District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. 570, 594 (2008), reported Blackstone’s statement that abortion of a quick child was at least “a heinous misdemeanor,” 2 St. George Tucker, Blackstone’s Commentaries 129–130 (1803), and that edition also included Blackstone’s discussion of the proto-felony-murder rule, 5 id., at 200–201. Manuals for justices of the peace printed in the Colonies in the 18th century typically restated the common-law rule on abortion, and some manuals repeated Hale’s and Blackstone’s statements that anyone who prescribed medication “unlawfully to destroy the child” would be guilty of murder if the woman died. See, e.g., J. Parker, Conductor Generalis 220 (1788); 2 R. Burn, Justice of the Peace, and Parish Officer 221–222 (7th ed. 1762) (English manual stating the same).30

The few cases available from the early colonial period corroborate that abortion was a crime. See generally Dellapenna 215–228 (collecting cases). In Maryland in 1652, for example, an indictment charged that a man “Murtherously endeavoured to destroy or Murther the Child by him begotten in the Womb.” Proprietary v. Mitchell, 10 Md. Archives 80, 183 (1652) (W. Browne ed. 1891). And by the 19th century, courts frequently explained that the common law made abortion of a quick child a crime. See, e.g., Smith v. Gaffard, 31 Ala. 45, 51 (1857); Smith v. State, 33 Me. 48, 55 (1851); State v. Cooper, 22 N. J. L. 52, 52–55 (1849); Commonwealth v. Parker, 50 Mass. 263, 264–268 (1845). . . .

In this country during the 19th century, the vast majority of the States enacted statutes criminalizing abortion at all stages of pregnancy. See Appendix A, infra (listing state statutory provisions in chronological order).33 By 1868, the year when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, threequarters of the States, 28 out of 37, had enacted statutes making abortion a crime even if it was performed before quickening.34 See ibid. Of the nine States that had not yet criminalized abortion at all stages, all but one did so by 1910. See ibid.

The trend in the Territories that would become the last 13 States was similar: All of them criminalized abortion at all stages of pregnancy between 1850 (the Kingdom of Hawaii) and 1919 (New Mexico). See Appendix B, infra; see also Casey, 505 U. S., at 952 (Rehnquist, C. J., concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part); Dellapenna 317–319. By the end of the 1950s, according to the Roe Court’s own count, statutes in all but four States and the District of Columbia prohibited abortion “however and whenever performed, unless done to save or preserve the life of the mother.” 410 U. S., at 139.35

This overwhelming consensus endured until the day Roe was decided. At that time, also by the Roe Court’s own count, a substantial majority—30 States—still prohibited abortion at all stages except to save the life of the mother. See id., at 118, and n. 2 (listing States). And though Roe discerned a “trend toward liberalization” in about “onethird of the States,” those States still criminalized some abortions and regulated them more stringently than Roe would allow. Id., at 140, and n. 37; Tribe 2. In short, the “Court’s opinion in Roe itself convincingly refutes the notion that the abortion liberty is deeply rooted in the history or tradition of our people.” Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 476 U. S. 747, 793 (1986) (White, J., dissenting).


The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions. On the contrary, an unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion on pain of criminal punishment persisted from the earliest days of the common law until 1973. The Court in Roe could have said of abortion exactly what Glucksberg said of assisted suicide: “Attitudes toward [abortion] have changed since Bracton, but our laws have consistently condemned, and continue to prohibit, [that practice].” 521 U. S., at 719.


Respondents and their amici have no persuasive answer to this historical evidence. Neither respondents nor the Solicitor General disputes the fact that by 1868 the vast majority of States criminalized abortion at all stages of pregnancy. See Brief for Petitioners 12–13; see also Brief for American Historical Association et al. as Amici Curiae 27–28, and nn. 14–15 (conceding that 26 out of 37 States prohibited abortion before quickening); Tr. of Oral Arg. 74–75 (respondents’ counsel conceding the same). Instead, respondents are forced to argue that it “does [not] matter that some States prohibited abortion at the time Roe was decided or when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted.” Brief for Respondents 21. But that argument flies in the face of the standard we have applied in determining whether an asserted right that is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution is nevertheless protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Not only are respondents and their amici unable to show that a constitutional right to abortion was established when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, but they have found no support for the existence of an abortion right that predates the latter part of the 20th century—no state constitutional provision, no statute, no judicial decision, no learned treatise. The earliest sources called to our attention are a few district court and state court decisions decided shortly before Roe and a small number of law review articles from the same time period.36

A few of respondents’ amici muster historical arguments, but they are very weak. The Solicitor General repeats Roe’s claim that it is “‘doubtful’ . . . ‘abortion was ever firmly established as a common-law crime even with respect to the destruction of a quick fetus.’” Brief for United States 26 (quoting Roe, 410 U. S., at 136). But as we have seen, great common-law authorities like Bracton, Coke, Hale, and Blackstone all wrote that a post-quickening abortion was a crime—and a serious one at that. Moreover, Hale and Blackstone (and many other authorities following them) asserted that even a pre-quickening abortion was “unlawful” and that, as a result, an abortionist was guilty of murder if the woman died from the attempt.

Instead of following these authorities, Roe relied largely on two articles by a pro-abortion advocate who claimed that Coke had intentionally misstated the common law because of his strong anti-abortion views.37 These articles have been discredited,38 and it has come to light that even members of Jane Roe’s legal team did not regard them as serious scholarship. An internal memorandum characterized this author’s work as donning “the guise of impartial scholarship while advancing the proper ideological goals.”39 Continued reliance on such scholarship is unsupportable. T

he Solicitor General next suggests that history supports an abortion right because the common law’s failure to criminalize abortion before quickening means that “at the Founding and for decades thereafter, women generally could terminate a pregnancy, at least in its early stages.”40 Brief for United States 26–27; see also Brief for Respondents 21. But the insistence on quickening was not universal, see Mills, 13 Pa., at 633; State v. Slagle, 83 N. C. 630, 632 (1880), and regardless, the fact that many States in the late 18th and early 19th century did not criminalize prequickening abortions does not mean that anyone thought the States lacked the authority to do so. When legislatures began to exercise that authority as the century wore on, no one, as far as we are aware, argued that the laws they enacted violated a fundamental right. That is not surprising since common-law authorities had repeatedly condemned abortion and described it as an “unlawful” act without regard to whether it occurred before or after quickening. See supra, at 16–21.

Another amicus brief relied upon by respondents (see Brief for Respondents 21) tries to dismiss the significance of the state criminal statutes that were in effect when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted by suggesting that they were enacted for illegitimate reasons. According to this account, which is based almost entirely on statements made by one prominent proponent of the statutes, important motives for the laws were the fear that Catholic immigrants were having more babies than Protestants and that the availability of abortion was leading White Protestant women to “shir[k their] maternal duties.” Brief for American Historical Association et al. as Amici Curiae 20.

Resort to this argument is a testament to the lack of any real historical support for the right that Roe and Casey recognized. This Court has long disfavored arguments based on alleged legislative motives. See, e.g., Erie v. Pap’s A. M., 529 U. S. 277, 292 (2000) (plurality opinion); Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. FCC, 512 U. S. 622, 652 (1994); United States v. O’Brien, 391 U. S. 367, 383 (1968); Arizona v. California, 283 U. S. 423, 455 (1931) (collecting cases). The Court has recognized that inquiries into legislative motives “are a hazardous matter.” O’Brien, 391 U. S., at 383. Even when an argument about legislative motive is backed by statements made by legislators who voted for a law, we have been reluctant to attribute those motives to the legislative body as a whole. “What motivates one legislator to make a speech about a statute is not necessarily what motivates scores of others to enact it.” Id., at 384.

Here, the argument about legislative motive is not even based on statements by legislators, but on statements made by a few supporters of the new 19th-century abortion laws, and it is quite a leap to attribute these motives to all the legislators whose votes were responsible for the enactment of those laws. Recall that at the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, over three-quarters of the States had adopted statutes criminalizing abortion (usually at all stages of pregnancy), and that from the early 20th century until the day Roe was handed down, every single State had such a law on its books. Are we to believe that the hundreds of lawmakers whose votes were needed to enact these laws were motivated by hostility to Catholics and women?

There is ample evidence that the passage of these laws was instead spurred by a sincere belief that abortion kills a human being. Many judicial decisions from the late 19th and early 20th centuries made that point. See, e.g., Nash v. Meyer, 54 Idaho 283, 301, 31 P. 2d 273, 280 (1934); State v. Ausplund, 86 Ore. 121, 131–132, 167 P. 1019, 1022–1023 (1917); Trent v. State, 15 Ala. App. 485, 488, 73 S. 834, 836 (1916); State v. Miller, 90 Kan. 230, 233, 133 P. 878, 879 (1913); State v. Tippie, 89 Ohio St. 35, 39–40, 105 N. E. 75, 77 (1913); State v. Gedicke, 43 N. J. L. 86, 90 (1881); Dougherty v. People, 1 Colo. 514, 522–523 (1873); State v. Moore, 25 Iowa 128, 131–132 (1868); Smith, 33 Me., at 57; see also Memphis Center for Reproductive Health v. Slatery, 14 F. 4th 409, 446, and n. 11 (CA6 2021) (Thapar, J., concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part) (citing cases).

One may disagree with this belief (and our decision is not based on any view about when a State should regard prenatal life as having rights or legally cognizable interests), but even Roe and Casey did not question the good faith of abortion opponents. See, e.g., Casey, 505 U. S., at 850 (“Men and women of good conscience can disagree . . . about the profound moral and spiritual implications of terminating a pregnancy even in its earliest stage”). And we see no reason to discount the significance of the state laws in question based on these amici’s suggestions about legislative motive.41



Instead of seriously pressing the argument that the abortion right itself has deep roots, supporters of Roe and Casey contend that the abortion right is an integral part of a broader entrenched right. Roe termed this a right to privacy, 410 U. S., at 154, and Casey described it as the freedom to make “intimate and personal choices” that are “central to personal dignity and autonomy,” 505 U. S., at 851. Casey elaborated: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Ibid. The Court did not claim that this broadly framed right is absolute, and no such claim would be plausible. While individuals are certainly free to think and to say what they wish about “existence,” “meaning,” the “universe,” and “the mystery of human life,” they are not always free to act in accordance with those thoughts. License to act on the basis of such beliefs may correspond to one of the many understandings of “liberty,” but it is certainly not “ordered liberty.” Ordered liberty sets limits and defines the boundary between competing interests. Roe and Casey each struck a particular balance between the interests of a woman who wants an abortion and the interests of what they termed “potential life.” Roe, 410 U. S., at 150 (emphasis deleted); Casey, 505 U. S., at 852. But the people of the various States may evaluate those interests differently. In some States, voters may believe that the abortion right should be even more extensive than the right that Roe and Casey recognized. Voters in other States may wish to impose tight restrictions based on their belief that abortion destroys an “unborn human being.” Miss. Code Ann. §41–41–191(4)(b). Our Nation’s historical understanding of ordered liberty does not prevent the people’s elected representatives from deciding how abortion should be regulated.

Nor does the right to obtain an abortion have a sound basis in precedent. Casey relied on cases involving the right to marry a person of a different race, Loving v. Virginia, 388 U. S. 1 (1967); the right to marry while in prison, Turner v. Safley, 482 U. S. 78 (1987); the right to obtain contraceptives, Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U. S. 479 (1965), Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U. S. 438 (1972), Carey v. Population Services Int’l, 431 U. S. 678 (1977); the right to reside with relatives, Moore v. East Cleveland, 431 U. S. 494 (1977); the right to make decisions about the education of one’s children, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U. S. 510 (1925), Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U. S. 390 (1923); the right not to be sterilized without consent, Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel. Williamson, 316 U. S. 535 (1942); and the right in certain circumstances not to undergo involuntary surgery, forced administration of drugs, or other substantially similar procedures, Winston v. Lee, 470 U. S. 753 (1985), Washington v. Harper, 494 U. S. 210 (1990), Rochin v. California, 342 U. S. 165 (1952). Respondents and the Solicitor General also rely on post-Casey decisions like Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U. S. 558 (2003) (right to engage in private, consensual sexual acts), and Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U. S. 644 (2015) (right to marry a person of the same sex). See Brief for Respondents 18; Brief for United States 23–24. These attempts to justify abortion through appeals to a broader right to autonomy and to define one’s “concept of existence” prove too much. Casey, 505 U. S., at 851. Those criteria, at a high level of generality, could license fundamental rights to illicit drug use, prostitution, and the like. See Compassion in Dying v. Washington, 85 F. 3d 1440, 1444 (CA9 1996) (O’Scannlain, J., dissenting from denial of rehearing en banc). None of these rights has any claim to being deeply rooted in history. Id., at 1440, 1445.

What sharply distinguishes the abortion right from the rights recognized in the cases on which Roe and Casey rely is something that both those decisions acknowledged: Abortion destroys what those decisions call “potential life” and what the law at issue in this case regards as the life of an “unborn human being.” See Roe, 410 U. S., at 159 (abortion is “inherently different”); Casey, 505 U. S., at 852 (abortion is “a unique act”). None of the other decisions cited by Roe and Casey involved the critical moral question posed by abortion. They are therefore inapposite. They do not support the right to obtain an abortion, and by the same token, our conclusion that the Constitution does not confer such a right does not undermine them in any way.


In drawing this critical distinction between the abortion right and other rights, it is not necessary to dispute Casey’s claim (which we accept for the sake of argument) that “the specific practices of States at the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment” do not “mar[k] the outer limits of the substantive sphere of liberty which the Fourteenth Amendment protects.” 505 U. S., at 848. Abortion is nothing new. It has been addressed by lawmakers for centuries, and the fundamental moral question that it poses is ageless.

Defenders of Roe and Casey do not claim that any new scientific learning calls for a different answer to the underlying moral question, but they do contend that changes in society require the recognition of a constitutional right to obtain an abortion. Without the availability of abortion, they maintain, people will be inhibited from exercising their freedom to choose the types of relationships they desire, and women will be unable to compete with men in the workplace and in other endeavors.

Americans who believe that abortion should be restricted press countervailing arguments about modern developments. They note that attitudes about the pregnancy of unmarried women have changed drastically; that federal and state laws ban discrimination on the basis of pregnancy;42 that leave for pregnancy and childbirth are now guaranteed by law in many cases;43 that the costs of medical care associated ciated with pregnancy are covered by insurance or government assistance;44 that States have increasingly adopted “safe haven” laws, which generally allow women to drop off babies anonymously;45 and that a woman who puts her newborn up for adoption today has little reason to fear that the baby will not find a suitable home.46 They also claim that many people now have a new appreciation of fetal life and that when prospective parents who want to have a child view a sonogram, they typically have no doubt that what they see is their daughter or son.

Both sides make important policy arguments, but supporters of Roe and Casey must show that this Court has the authority to weigh those arguments and decide how abortion may be regulated in the States. They have failed to make that showing, and we thus return the power to weigh those arguments to the people and their elected representatives. D 1 The dissent is very candid that it cannot show that a constitutional right to abortion has any foundation, let alone a “‘deeply rooted’” one, “‘in this Nation’s history and tradition.’” Glucksberg, 521 U. S., at 721; see post, at 12–14 (joint opinion of BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ.). The dissent does not identify any pre-Roe authority that supports such a right—no state constitutional provision or statute, no federal or state judicial precedent, not even a scholarly treatise. Compare post, at 12–14, n. 2, with supra, at 15–16, and n. 23. Nor does the dissent dispute the fact that abortion was illegal at common law at least after quickening; that the 19th century saw a trend toward criminalization of pre-quickening abortions; that by 1868, a supermajority of States (at least 26 of 37) had enacted statutes criminalizing abortion at all stages of pregnancy; that by the late 1950s at least 46 States prohibited abortion “however and whenever performed” except if necessary to save “the life of the mother,” Roe, 410 U. S., at 139; and that when Roe was decided in 1973 similar statutes were still in effect in 30 States. Compare post, at 12–14, nn. 2–3, with supra, at 23–25, and nn. 33–34.47

The dissent’s failure to engage with this long tradition is devastating to its position. We have held that the “established method of substantive-due-process analysis” requires that an unenumerated right be “‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’” before it can be recognized as a component of the “liberty” protected in the Due Process Clause. Glucksberg, 521 U. S., at 721; cf. Timbs, 586 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 7). But despite the dissent’s professed fidelity to stare decisis, it fails to seriously engage with that important precedent—which it cannot possibly satisfy. The dissent attempts to obscure this failure by misrepresenting our application of Glucksberg. The dissent suggests that we have focused only on “the legal status of abortion in the 19th century,” post, at 26, but our review of this Nation’s tradition extends well past that period. As explained, for more than a century after 1868—including “another half-century” after women gained the constitutional right to vote in 1920, see post, at 15; Amdt. 19—it was firmly established that laws prohibiting abortion like the Texas law at issue in Roe were permissible exercises of state regulatory authority. And today, another half century later, more than half of the States have asked us to overrule Roe and Casey. The dissent cannot establish that a right to abortion has ever been part of this Nation’s tradition.


Because the dissent cannot argue that the abortion right is rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition, it contends that the “constitutional tradition” is “not captured whole at a single moment,” and that its “meaning gains content from the long sweep of our history and from successive judicial precedents.” Post, at 18 (internal quotation marks omitted). This vague formulation imposes no clear restraints on what Justice White called the “exercise of raw judicial power,” Roe, 410 U. S., at 222 (dissenting opinion), and while the dissent claims that its standard “does not mean anything goes,” post, at 17, any real restraints are hard to discern.

The largely limitless reach of the dissenters’ standard is illustrated by the way they apply it here. First, if the “long sweep of history” imposes any restraint on the recognition of unenumerated rights, then Roe was surely wrong, since abortion was never allowed (except to save the life of the mother) in a majority of States for over 100 years before that decision was handed down. Second, it is impossible to defend Roe based on prior precedent because all of the precedents Roe cited, including Griswold and Eisenstadt, were critically different for a reason that we have explained: None of those cases involved the destruction of what Roe called “potential life.” See supra, at 32. So without support in history or relevant precedent, Roe’s reasoning cannot be defended even under the dissent’s proposed test, and the dissent is forced to rely solely on the fact that a constitutional right to abortion was recognized in Roe and later decisions that accepted Roe’s interpretation. Under the doctrine of stare decisis, those precedents are entitled to careful and respectful consideration, and we engage in that analysis below. But as the Court has reiterated time and time again, adherence to precedent is not “‘an inexorable command.’” Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, LLC, 576 U. S. 446, 455 (2015). There are occasions when past decisions should be overruled, and as we will explain, this is one of them.


The most striking feature of the dissent is the absence of any serious discussion of the legitimacy of the States’ interest in protecting fetal life. This is evident in the analogy that the dissent draws between the abortion right and the rights recognized in Griswold (contraception), Eisenstadt (same), Lawrence (sexual conduct with member of the same sex), and Obergefell (same-sex marriage). Perhaps this is designed to stoke unfounded fear that our decision will imperil those other rights, but the dissent’s analogy is objectionable for a more important reason: what it reveals about the dissent’s views on the protection of what Roe called “potential life.” The exercise of the rights at issue in Griswold, Eisenstadt, Lawrence, and Obergefell does not destroy a “potential life,” but an abortion has that effect. So if the rights at issue in those cases are fundamentally the same as the right recognized in Roe and Casey, the implication is clear: The Constitution does not permit the States to regard the destruction of a “potential life” as a matter of any significance.

hat view is evident throughout the dissent. The dissent has much to say about the effects of pregnancy on women, the burdens of motherhood, and the difficulties faced by poor women. These are important concerns. However, the dissent evinces no similar regard for a State’s interest in protecting prenatal life. The dissent repeatedly praises the “balance,” post, at 2, 6, 8, 10, 12, that the viability line strikes between a woman’s liberty interest and the State’s interest in prenatal life. But for reasons we discuss later, see infra, at 50–54, 55–56, and given in the opinion of THE CHIEF JUSTICE, post, at 2–5 (opinion concurring in judgment), the viability line makes no sense. It was not adequately justified in Roe, and the dissent does not even try to defend it today. Nor does it identify any other point in a pregnancy after which a State is permitted to prohibit the destruction of a fetus.

Our opinion is not based on any view about if and when prenatal life is entitled to any of the rights enjoyed after birth. The dissent, by contrast, would impose on the people a particular theory about when the rights of personhood begin. According to the dissent, the Constitution requires the States to regard a fetus as lacking even the most basic human right—to live—at least until an arbitrary point in a pregnancy has passed. Nothing in the Constitution or in our Nation’s legal traditions authorizes the Court to adopt that “‘theory of life.’” Post, at 8.


We next consider whether the doctrine of stare decisis counsels continued acceptance of Roe and Casey. Stare decisis plays an important role in our case law, and we have explained that it serves many valuable ends. It protects the interests of those who have taken action in reliance on a past decision. See Casey, 505 U. S., at 856 (joint opinion); see also Payne v. Tennessee, 501 U. S. 808, 828 (1991). It “reduces incentives for challenging settled precedents, saving parties and courts the expense of endless relitigation.” Kimble, 576 U. S., at 455. It fosters “evenhanded” decisionmaking by requiring that like cases be decided in a like manner. Payne, 501 U. S., at 827. It “contributes to the actual and perceived integrity of the judicial process.” Ibid. And it restrains judicial hubris and reminds us to respect the judgment of those who have grappled with important questions in the past. “Precedent is a way of accumulating and passing down the learning of past generations, a font of established wisdom richer than what can be found in any single judge or panel of judges.” N. Gorsuch, A Republic, If You Can Keep It 217 (2019).

We have long recognized, however, that stare decisis is “not an inexorable command,” Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U. S. 223, 233 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted), and it “is at its weakest when we interpret the Constitution,” Agostini v. Felton, 521 U. S. 203, 235 (1997). It has been said that it is sometimes more important that an issue “‘be settled than that it be settled right.’” Kimble, 576 U. S., at 455 (quoting Burnet v. Coronado Oil & Gas Co., 285 U. S. 393, 406 (1932) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)). But when it comes to the interpretation of the Constitution— the “great charter of our liberties,” which was meant “to endure through a long lapse of ages,” Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, 1 Wheat. 304, 326 (1816) (opinion for the Court by Story, J.)—we place a high value on having the matter “settled right.” In addition, when one of our constitutional decisions goes astray, the country is usually stuck with the bad decision unless we correct our own mistake. An erroneous constitutional decision can be fixed by amending the Constitution, but our Constitution is notoriously hard to amend. See Art. V; Kimble, 576 U. S., at 456. Therefore, in appropriate circumstances we must be willing to reconsider and, if necessary, overrule constitutional decisions.

 Some of our most important constitutional decisions have overruled prior precedents. We mention three. In Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U. S. 483 (1954), the Court repudiated the “separate but equal” doctrine, which had allowed States to maintain racially segregated schools and other facilities. Id., at 488 (internal quotation marks omitted). In so doing, the Court overruled the infamous decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U. S. 537 (1896), along with six other Supreme Court precedents that had applied the separate-but-equal rule. See Brown, 347 U. S., at 491.

In West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, 300 U. S. 379 (1937), the Court overruled Adkins v. Children’s Hospital of D. C., 261 U. S. 525 (1923), which had held that a law setting minimum wages for women violated the “liberty” protected by the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. Id., at 545. West Coast Hotel signaled the demise of an entire line of important precedents that had protected an individual liberty right against state and federal health and welfare legislation. See Lochner v. New York, 198 U. S. 45 (1905) (holding invalid a law setting maximum working hours); Coppage v. Kansas, 236 U. S. 1 (1915) (holding invalid a law banning contracts forbidding employees to join a union); Jay Burns Baking Co. v. Bryan, 264 U. S. 504 (1924) (holding invalid laws fixing the weight of loaves of bread). Finally, in West Virginia Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette, 319 U. S 624 (1943), after the lapse of only three years, the Court overruled Minersville School Dist. v. Gobitis, 310 U. S. 586 (1940), and held that public school students could not be compelled to salute the flag in violation of their sincere beliefs. Barnette stands out because nothing had changed during the intervening period other than the Court’s belated recognition that its earlier decision had been seriously wrong.

On many other occasions, this Court has overruled important constitutional decisions. (We include a partial list in the footnote that follows.48) Without these decisions, American constitutional law as we know it would be unrecognizable, and this would be a different country.

No Justice of this Court has ever argued that the Court should never overrule a constitutional decision, but overruling a precedent is a serious matter. It is not a step that should be taken lightly. Our cases have attempted to provide a framework for deciding when a precedent should be overruled, and they have identified factors that should be considered in making such a decision. Janus v. State, County, and Municipal Employees, 585 U. S. ___, ___–___ (2018) (slip op., at 34–35); Ramos v. Louisiana, 590 U. S. ___, ___–___ (2020) (KAVANAUGH, J., concurring in part) (slip op., at 7–9). In this case, five factors weigh strongly in favor of overruling Roe and Casey: the nature of their error, the quality of their reasoning, the “workability” of the rules they imposed on the country, their disruptive effect on other areas of the law, and the absence of concrete reliance.


The nature of the Court’s error. An erroneous interpretation of the Constitution is always important, but some are more damaging than others. The infamous decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, was one such decision. It betrayed our commitment to “equality before the law.” 163 U. S., at 562 (Harlan, J., dissenting). It was “egregiously wrong” on the day it was decided, see Ramos, 590 U. S., at ___ (opinion of KAVANAUGH, J.) (slip op., at 7), and as the Solicitor General agreed at oral argument, it should have been overruled at the earliest opportunity, see Tr. of Oral Arg. 92–93.

Roe was also egregiously wrong and deeply damaging. For reasons already explained, Roe’s constitutional analysis was far outside the bounds of any reasonable interpretation of the various constitutional provisions to which it vaguely pointed.

Roe was on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided, Casey perpetuated its errors, and those errors do not concern some arcane corner of the law of little importance to the American people. Rather, wielding nothing but “raw judicial power,” Roe, 410 U. S., at 222 (White, J., dissenting), the Court usurped the power to address a question of profound moral and social importance that the Constitution unequivocally leaves for the people. Casey described itself as calling both sides of the national controversy to resolve their debate, but in doing so, Casey necessarily declared a winning side. Those on the losing side—those who sought to advance the State’s interest in fetal life—could no longer seek to persuade their elected representatives to adopt policies consistent with their views. The Court short-circuited the democratic process by closing it to the large number of Americans who dissented in any respect from Roe. “Roe fanned into life an issue that has inflamed our national politics in general, and has obscured with its smoke the selection of Justices to this Court in particular, ever since.” Casey, 505 U. S., at 995–996 (opinion of Scalia, J.). Together, Roe and Casey represent an error that cannot be allowed to stand.

As the Court’s landmark decision in West Coast Hotel illustrates, the Court has previously overruled decisions that wrongly removed an issue from the people and the democratic process. As Justice White later explained, “decisions that find in the Constitution principles or values that cannot fairly be read into that document usurp the people’s authority, for such decisions represent choices that the people have never made and that they cannot disavow through corrective legislation. For this reason, it is essential that this Court maintain the power to restore authority to its proper possessors by correcting constitutional decisions that, on reconsideration, are found to be mistaken.” Thornburgh, 476 U. S., at 787 (dissenting opinion).


The quality of the reasoning. Under our precedents, the quality of the reasoning in a prior case has an important bearing on whether it should be reconsidered. See Janus, 585 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 38); Ramos, 590 U. S., at ___– ___ (opinion of KAVANAUGH, J.) (slip op., at 7–8). In Part II, supra, we explained why Roe was incorrectly decided, but that decision was more than just wrong. It stood on exceptionally weak grounds.

Roe found that the Constitution implicitly conferred a right to obtain an abortion, but it failed to ground its decision in text, history, or precedent. It relied on an erroneous historical narrative; it devoted great attention to and presumably relied on matters that have no bearing on the meaning of the Constitution; it disregarded the fundamental difference between the precedents on which it relied and the question before the Court; it concocted an elaborate set of rules, with different restrictions for each trimester of pregnancy, but it did not explain how this veritable code could be teased out of anything in the Constitution, the history of abortion laws, prior precedent, or any other cited source; and its most important rule (that States cannot protect fetal life prior to “viability”) was never raised by any party and has never been plausibly explained. Roe’s reasoning quickly drew scathing scholarly criticism, even from supporters of broad access to abortion. The Casey plurality, while reaffirming Roe’s central holding, pointedly refrained from endorsing most of its reasoning. It revised the textual basis for the abortion right, silently abandoned Roe’s erroneous historical narrative, and jettisoned the trimester framework. But it replaced that scheme with an arbitrary “undue burden” test and relied on an exceptional version of stare decisis that, as explained below, this Court had never before applied and has never invoked since.



The weaknesses in Roe’s reasoning are well-known. Without any grounding in the constitutional text, history, or precedent, it imposed on the entire country a detailed set of rules much like those that one might expect to find in a statute or regulation. See 410 U. S., at 163–164. Dividing pregnancy into three trimesters, the Court imposed special rules for each. During the first trimester, the Court announced, “the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman’s attending physician.” Id., at 164. After that point, a State’s interest in regulating abortion for the sake of a woman’s health became compelling, and accordingly, a State could “regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.” Ibid. Finally, in “the stage subsequent to viability,” which in 1973 roughly coincided with the beginning of the third trimester, the State’s interest in “the potentiality of human life” became compelling, and therefore a State could “regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.” Id., at 164–165.

This elaborate scheme was the Court’s own brainchild. Neither party advocated the trimester framework; nor did either party or any amicus argue that “viability” should mark the point at which the scope of the abortion right and a State’s regulatory authority should be substantially transformed. See Brief for Appellant and Brief for Appellee in Roe v. Wade, O. T. 1972, No. 70–18; see also C. Forsythe, Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade 127, 141 (2012).


Not only did this scheme resemble the work of a legislature, but the Court made little effort to explain how these rules could be deduced from any of the sources on which constitutional decisions are usually based. We have already discussed Roe’s treatment of constitutional text, and the opinion failed to show that history, precedent, or any other cited source supported its scheme.

Roe featured a lengthy survey of history, but much of its discussion was irrelevant, and the Court made no effort to explain why it was included. For example, multiple paragraphs were devoted to an account of the views and practices of ancient civilizations where infanticide was widely accepted. See 410 U. S., at 130–132 (discussing ancient Greek and Roman practices).49 When it came to the most important historical fact—how the States regulated abortion when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted—the Court said almost nothing. It allowed that States had tightened their abortion laws “in the middle and late 19th century,” id., at 139, but it implied that these laws might have rian social concern” about “illicit sexual conduct,” id., at 148. Roe’s failure even to note the overwhelming consensus of state laws in effect in 1868 is striking, and what it said about the common law was simply wrong. Relying on two discredited articles by an abortion advocate, the Court erroneously suggested—contrary to Bracton, Coke, Hale, Blackstone, and a wealth of other authority—that the common law had probably never really treated post-quickening abortion as a crime. See id., at 136 (“[I]t now appear[s] doubtful that abortion was ever firmly established as a common-law crime even with respect to the destruction of a quick fetus”). This erroneous understanding appears to have played an important part in the Court’s thinking because the opinion cited “the lenity of the common law” as one of the four factors that informed its decision. Id., at 165.

After surveying history, the opinion spent many paragraphs conducting the sort of fact-finding that might be undertaken by a legislative committee. This included a lengthy account of the “position of the American Medical Association” and “[t]he position of the American Public Health Association,” as well as the vote by the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates in February 1972 on proposed abortion legislation. Id., at 141, 144, 146 (emphasis deleted). Also noted were a British judicial decision handed down in 1939 and a new British abortion law enacted in 1967. Id., at 137–138. The Court did not explain why these sources shed light on the meaning of the Constitution, and not one of them adopted or advocated anything like the scheme that Roe imposed on the country.

Finally, after all this, the Court turned to precedent. Citing a broad array of cases, the Court found support for a constitutional “right of personal privacy,” id., at 152, but it conflated two very different meanings of the term: the right to shield information from disclosure and the right to make and implement important personal decisions without governmental interference. See Whalen v. Roe, 429 U. S. 589, 599–600 (1977). Only the cases involving this second sense of the term could have any possible relevance to the abortion issue, and some of the cases in that category involved personal decisions that were obviously very, very far afield. See Pierce, 268 U. S. 510 (right to send children to religious school); Meyer, 262 U. S. 390 (right to have children receive German language instruction).

What remained was a handful of cases having something to do with marriage, Loving, 388 U. S. 1 (right to marry a person of a different race), or procreation, Skinner, 316 U. S. 535 (right not to be sterilized); Griswold, 381 U. S. 479 (right of married persons to obtain contraceptives); Eisenstadt, 405 U. S. 438 (same, for unmarried persons). But none of these decisions involved what is distinctive about abortion: its effect on what Roe termed “potential life.”

When the Court summarized the basis for the scheme it imposed on the country, it asserted that its rules were “consistent with” the following: (1) “the relative weights of the respective interests involved,” (2) “the lessons and examples of medical and legal history,” (3) “the lenity of the common law,” and (4) “the demands of the profound problems of the present day.” Roe, 410 U. S., at 165. Put aside the second and third factors, which were based on the Court’s flawed account of history, and what remains are precisely the sort of considerations that legislative bodies often take into account when they draw lines that accommodate competing interests. The scheme Roe produced looked like legislation, and the Court provided the sort of explanation that might be expected from a legislative body.


What Roe did not provide was any cogent justification for the lines it drew. Why, for example, does a State have no authority to regulate first trimester abortions for the purpose of protecting a woman’s health? The Court’s only explanation was that mortality rates for abortion at that stage were lower than the mortality rates for childbirth. Id., at 163. But the Court did not explain why mortality rates were the only factor that a State could legitimately consider. Many health and safety regulations aim to avoid adverse health consequences short of death. And the Court did not explain why it departed from the normal rule that courts defer to the judgments of legislatures “in areas fraught with medical and scientific uncertainties.” Marshall v. United States, 414 U. S. 417, 427 (1974).

An even more glaring deficiency was Roe’s failure to justify the critical distinction it drew between pre- and postviability abortions. Here is the Court’s entire explanation:

“With respect to the State’s important and legitimate interest in potential life, the ‘compelling’ point is at viability. This is so because the fetus then presumably has the capability of meaningful life outside the womb.” 410 U. S., at 163.

As Professor Laurence Tribe has written, “[c]learly, this mistakes ‘a definition for a syllogism.’” Tribe 4 (quoting Ely 924). The definition of a “viable” fetus is one that is capable of surviving outside the womb, but why is this the point at which the State’s interest becomes compelling? If, as Roe held, a State’s interest in protecting prenatal life is compelling “after viability,” 410 U. S., at 163, why isn’t that interest “equally compelling before viability”? Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 492 U. S. 490, 519 (1989) (plurality opinion) (quoting Thornburgh, 476 U. S., at 795 (White, J., dissenting)). Roe did not say, and no explanation is apparent.

This arbitrary line has not found much support among philosophers and ethicists who have attempted to justify a right to abortion. Some have argued that a fetus should not be entitled to legal protection until it acquires the characteristics that they regard as defining what it means to be a “person.” Among the characteristics that have been offered as essential attributes of “personhood” are sentience, selfawareness, the ability to reason, or some combination thereof.50 By this logic, it would be an open question whether even born individuals, including young children or those afflicted with certain developmental or medical conditions, merit protection as “persons.” But even if one takes the view that “personhood” begins when a certain attribute or combination of attributes is acquired, it is very hard to see why viability should mark the point where “personhood” begins.

The most obvious problem with any such argument is that viability is heavily dependent on factors that have nothing to do with the characteristics of a fetus. One is the state of neonatal care at a particular point in time. Due to the development of new equipment and improved practices, the viability line has changed over the years. In the 19th century, a fetus may not have been viable until the 32d or 33d week of pregnancy or even later.51 When Roe was decided, viability was gauged at roughly 28 weeks. See 410 U. S., at 160. Today, respondents draw the line at 23 or 24 weeks. Brief for Respondents 8. So, according to Roe’s logic, States now have a compelling interest in protecting a fetus with a gestational age of, say, 26 weeks, but in 1973 States did not have an interest in protecting an identical fetus. How can that be?

Viability also depends on the “quality of the available medical facilities.” Colautti v. Franklin, 439 U. S. 379, 396 (1979). Thus, a 24-week-old fetus may be viable if a woman gives birth in a city with hospitals that provide advanced care for very premature babies, but if the woman travels to a remote area far from any such hospital, the fetus may no longer be viable. On what ground could the constitutional status of a fetus depend on the pregnant woman’s location? And if viability is meant to mark a line having universal moral significance, can it be that a fetus that is viable in a big city in the United States has a privileged moral status not enjoyed by an identical fetus in a remote area of a poor country?

In addition, as the Court once explained, viability is not really a hard-and-fast line. Ibid. A physician determining a particular fetus’s odds of surviving outside the womb must consider “a number of variables,” including “gestational age,” “fetal weight,” a woman’s “general health and nutrition,” the “quality of the available medical facilities,” and other factors. Id., at 395–396. It is thus “only with difficulty” that a physician can estimate the “probability” of a particular fetus’s survival. Id., at 396. And even if each fetus’s probability of survival could be ascertained with certainty, settling on a “probabilit[y] of survival” that should count as “viability” is another matter. Ibid. Is a fetus viable with a 10 percent chance of survival? 25 percent? 50 percent? Can such a judgment be made by a State? And can a State specify a gestational age limit that applies in all cases? Or must these difficult questions be left entirely to the individual “attending physician on the particular facts of the case before him”? Id., at 388.

The viability line, which Casey termed Roe’s central rule, makes no sense, and it is telling that other countries almost uniformly eschew such a line.52 The Court thus asserted raw judicial power to impose, as a matter of constitutional law, a uniform viability rule that allowed the States less freedom to regulate abortion than the majority of western democracies enjoy.


All in all, Roe’s reasoning was exceedingly weak, and academic commentators, including those who agreed with the decision as a matter of policy, were unsparing in their criticism. John Hart Ely famously wrote that Roe was “not constitutional law and g[ave] almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.” Ely 947 (emphasis deleted). Archibald Cox, who served as Solicitor General under President Kennedy, commented that Roe “read[s] like a set of hospital rules and regulations” that “[n]either historian, layman, nor lawyer will be persuaded . . . are part of . . . the Constitution.” The Role of the Supreme Court in American Government 113– 114 (1976). Laurence Tribe wrote that “even if there is a need to divide pregnancy into several segments with lines that clearly identify the limits of governmental power, ‘interest-balancing’ of the form the Court pursues fails to justify any of the lines actually drawn.” Tribe 4–5. Mark Tushnet termed Roe a “totally unreasoned judicial opinion.” Red, White, and Blue: A Critical Analysis of Constitutional Law 54 (1988). See also P. Bobbitt, Constitutional Fate 157 (1982); A. Amar, Foreword: The Document and the Doctrine, 114 Harv. L. Rev. 26, 110 (2000).

Despite Roe’s weaknesses, its reach was steadily extended in the years that followed. The Court struck down laws requiring that second-trimester abortions be performed only in hospitals, Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, Inc., 462 U. S. 416, 433–439 (1983); that minors obtain parental consent, Planned Parenthood of Central Mo. v. Danforth, 428 U. S. 52, 74 (1976); that women give written consent after being informed of the status of the developing prenatal life and the risks of abortion, Akron, 462 U. S., at 442–445; that women wait 24 hours for an abortion, id., at 449–451; that a physician determine viability in a particular manner, Colautti, 439 U. S., at 390– 397; that a physician performing a post-viability abortion use the technique most likely to preserve the life of the fetus, id., at 397–401; and that fetal remains be treated in a humane and sanitary manner, Akron, 462 U. S., at 451– 452

Justice White complained that the Court was engaging in “unrestrained imposition of its own extraconstitutional value preferences.” Thornburgh, 476 U. S., at 794 (dissenting opinion). And the United States as amicus curiae asked the Court to overrule Roe five times in the decade before Casey, see 505 U. S., at 844 (joint opinion), and then asked the Court to overrule it once more in Casey itself.


When Casey revisited Roe almost 20 years later, very little of Roe’s reasoning was defended or preserved. The Court abandoned any reliance on a privacy right and instead grounded the abortion right entirely on the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. 505 U. S., at 846. The Court did not reaffirm Roe’s erroneous account of abortion history. In fact, none of the Justices in the majority said anything about the history of the abortion right. And as for precedent, the Court relied on essentially the same body of cases that Roe had cited. Thus, with respect to the standard grounds for constitutional decisionmaking—text, history, and precedent—Casey did not attempt to bolster Roe’s reasoning.

The Court also made no real effort to remedy one of the greatest weaknesses in Roe’s analysis: its much-criticized discussion of viability. The Court retained what it called Roe’s “central holding”—that a State may not regulate previability abortions for the purpose of protecting fetal life— but it provided no principled defense of the viability line. 505 U. S., at 860, 870–871. Instead, it merely rephrased what Roe had said, stating that viability marked the point at which “the independent existence of a second life can in reason and fairness be the object of state protection that now overrides the rights of the woman.” 505 U. S., at 870. Why “reason and fairness” demanded that the line be drawn at viability the Court did not explain. And the Justices who authored the controlling opinion conspicuously failed to say that they agreed with the viability rule; instead, they candidly acknowledged “the reservations [some] of us may have in reaffirming [that] holding of Roe.” Id., at 853.

The controlling opinion criticized and rejected Roe’s trimester scheme, 505 U. S., at 872, and substituted a new “undue burden” test, but the basis for this test was obscure. And as we will explain, the test is full of ambiguities and is difficult to apply. Casey, in short, either refused to reaffirm or rejected important aspects of Roe’s analysis, failed to remedy glaring deficiencies in Roe’s reasoning, endorsed what it termed Roe’s central holding while suggesting that a majority might not have thought it was correct, provided no new support for the abortion right other than Roe’s status as precedent, and imposed a new and problematic test with no firm grounding in constitutional text, history, or precedent.

As discussed below, Casey also deployed a novel version of the doctrine of stare decisis. See infra, at 64–69. This new doctrine did not account for the profound wrongness of the decision in Roe, and placed great weight on an intangible form of reliance with little if any basis in prior case law. Stare decisis does not command the preservation of such a decision.


Workability. Our precedents counsel that another important consideration in deciding whether a precedent should be overruled is whether the rule it imposes is workable—that is, whether it can be understood and applied in a consistent and predictable manner. Montejo v. Louisiana, 556 U. S. 778, 792 (2009); Patterson v. McLean Credit Union, 491 U. S. 164, 173 (1989); Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. v. Mayacamas Corp., 485 U. S. 271, 283–284 (1988). Casey’s “undue burden” test has scored poorly on the workability scale.

Problems begin with the very concept of an “undue burden.” As Justice Scalia noted in his Casey partial dissent, determining whether a burden is “due” or “undue” is “inherently standardless.” 505 U. S., at 992; see also June Medical Services L. L. C. v. Russo, 591 U. S. ___, ___ (2020) (GORSUCH, J., dissenting) (slip op., at 17) (“[W]hether a burden is deemed undue depends heavily on which factors the judge considers and how much weight he accords each of them” (internal quotation marks and alterations omitted)).

The Casey plurality tried to put meaning into the “undue burden” test by setting out three subsidiary rules, but these rules created their own problems. The first rule is that “a provision of law is invalid, if its purpose or effect is to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.” 505 U. S., at 878 (emphasis added); see also id., at 877. But whether a particular obstacle qualifies as “substantial” is often open to reasonable debate. In the sense relevant here, “substantial” means “of ample or considerable amount, quantity, or size.” Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary 1897 (2d ed. 2001). Huge burdens are plainly “substantial,” and trivial ones are not, but in between these extremes, there is a wide gray area.

This ambiguity is a problem, and the second rule, which applies at all stages of a pregnancy, muddies things further. It states that measures designed “to ensure that the woman’s choice is informed” are constitutional so long as they do not impose “an undue burden on the right.” Casey, 505 U. S., at 878. To the extent that this rule applies to previability abortions, it overlaps with the first rule and appears to impose a different standard. Consider a law that imposes an insubstantial obstacle but serves little purpose. As applied to a pre-viability abortion, would such a regulation be constitutional on the ground that it does not impose a “substantial obstacle”? Or would it be unconstitutional on the ground that it creates an “undue burden” because the burden it imposes, though slight, outweighs its negligible benefits? Casey does not say, and this ambiguity would lead to confusion down the line. Compare June Medical, 591 U. S., at ___–___ (plurality opinion) (slip op., at 1–2), with id., at ___–___ (ROBERTS, C. J., concurring) (slip op., at 5– 6).

The third rule complicates the picture even more. Under that rule, “[u]nnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion impose an undue burden on the right.” Casey, 505 U. S., at 878 (emphasis added). This rule contains no fewer than three vague terms. It includes the two already discussed—“undue burden” and “substantial obstacle”—even though they are inconsistent. And it adds a third ambiguous term when it refers to “unnecessary health regulations.” The term “necessary” has a range of meanings—from “essential” to merely “useful.” See Black’s Law Dictionary 928 (5th ed. 1979); American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 877 (1971). Casey did not explain the sense in which the term is used in this rule.

In addition to these problems, one more applies to all three rules. They all call on courts to examine a law’s effect on women, but a regulation may have a very different impact on different women for a variety of reasons, including their places of residence, financial resources, family situations, work and personal obligations, knowledge about fetal development and abortion, psychological and emotional disposition and condition, and the firmness of their desire to obtain abortions. In order to determine whether a regulation presents a substantial obstacle to women, a court needs to know which set of women it should have in mind and how many of the women in this set must find that an obstacle is “substantial.” Casey provided no clear answer to these questions. It said that a regulation is unconstitutional if it imposes a substantial obstacle “in a large fraction of cases in which [it] is relevant,” 505 U. S., at 895, but there is obviously no clear line between a fraction that is “large” and one that is not. Nor is it clear what the Court meant by “cases in which” a regulation is “relevant.” These ambiguities have caused confusion and disagreement. Compare Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, 579 U. S. 582, 627–628 (2016), with id., at 666–667, and n. 11 (ALITO, J., dissenting).


The difficulty of applying Casey’s new rules surfaced in that very case. The controlling opinion found that Pennsylvania’s 24-hour waiting period requirement and its informed-consent provision did not impose “undue burden[s],” Casey, 505 U. S., at 881–887, but Justice Stevens, applying the same test, reached the opposite result, id., at 920–922 (opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part). That did not bode well, and then-Chief Justice Rehnquist aptly observed that “the undue burden standard presents nothing more workable than the trimester framework.” Id., at 964–966 (dissenting opinion).

The ambiguity of the “undue burden” test also produced disagreement in later cases. In Whole Woman’s Health, the Court adopted the cost-benefit interpretation of the test, stating that “[t]he rule announced in Casey . . . requires that courts consider the burdens a law imposes on abortion access together with the benefits those laws confer.” 579 U. S., at 607 (emphasis added). But five years later, a majority of the Justices rejected that interpretation. See June Medical, 591 U. S. ___. Four Justices reaffirmed Whole Woman’s Health’s instruction to “weigh” a law’s “benefits” against “the burdens it imposes on abortion access.” 591 U. S., at ___ (plurality opinion) (slip op., at 2) (internal quotation marks omitted). But THE CHIEF JUSTICE—who cast the deciding vote—argued that “[n]othing about Casey suggested that a weighing of costs and benefits of an abortion regulation was a job for the courts.” Id., at ___ (opinion concurring in judgment) (slip op., at 6). And the four Justices in dissent rejected the plurality’s interpretation of Casey. See 591 U. S., at ___ (opinion of ALITO, J., joined in relevant part by THOMAS, GORSUCH, and KAVANAUGH, JJ.) (slip op., at 4); id., at ___–___ (opinion of GORSUCH, J.) (slip op., at 15–18); id., at ___–___ (opinion of KAVANAUGH, J.) (slip op., at 1–2) (“[F]ive Members of the Court reject the Whole Woman’s Health cost-benefit standard”).

This Court’s experience applying Casey has confirmed Chief Justice Rehnquist’s prescient diagnosis that the undue-burden standard was “not built to last.” Casey, 505 U. S., at 965 (opinion concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part).


The experience of the Courts of Appeals provides further evidence that Casey’s “line between” permissible and unconstitutional restrictions “has proved to be impossible to draw with precision.” Janus, 585 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 38).

Casey has generated a long list of Circuit conflicts. Most recently, the Courts of Appeals have disagreed about whether the balancing test from Whole Woman’s Health correctly states the undue-burden framework.53 They have disagreed on the legality of parental notification rules.54

They have disagreed about bans on certain dilation and evacuation procedures.55 They have disagreed about when an increase in the time needed to reach a clinic constitutes an undue burden.56 And they have disagreed on whether a State may regulate abortions performed because of the fetus’s race, sex, or disability.57

The Courts of Appeals have experienced particular difficulty in applying the large-fraction-of-relevant-cases test. They have criticized the assignment while reaching unpredictable results.58 And they have candidly outlined Casey’s many other problems.59

Casey’s “undue burden” test has proved to be unworkable. “[P]lucked from nowhere,” 505 U. S., at 965 (opinion of Rehnquist, C. J.), it “seems calculated to perpetuate give-ita-try litigation” before judges assigned an unwieldy and inappropriate task. Lehnert v. Ferris Faculty Assn., 500 U. S. 507, 551 (1991) (Scalia, J., concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part). Continued adherence to that standard would undermine, not advance, the “evenhanded, predictable, and consistent development of legal principles.” Payne, 501 U. S., at 827. D Effect on other areas of law. Roe and Casey have led to the distortion of many important but unrelated legal doctrines, and that effect provides further support for overruling those decisions. See Ramos, 590 U. S., at ___ (opinion of KAVANAUGH, J.) (slip op., at 8); Janus, 585 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 34).

Members of this Court have repeatedly lamented that “no legal rule or doctrine is safe from ad hoc nullification by this Court when an occasion for its application arises in a case involving state regulation of abortion.” Thornburgh, 476 U. S., at 814 (O’Connor, J., dissenting); see Madsen v. Women’s Health Center, Inc., 512 U. S. 753, 785 (1994) (Scalia, J., concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part); Whole Woman’s Health, 579 U. S., at 631–633 (THOMAS, J., dissenting); id., at 645–666, 678–684 (ALITO, J., dissenting); June Medical, 591 U. S., at ___–___ (GORSUCH, J., dissenting) (slip op., at 1–15).

The Court’s abortion cases have diluted the strict standard for facial constitutional challenges.60 They have ignored the Court’s third-party standing doctrine.61 They have disregarded standard res judicata principles.62 They have flouted the ordinary rules on the severability of unconstitutional provisions,63 as well as the rule that statutes should be read where possible to avoid unconstitutionality.64 And they have distorted First Amendment doctrines.65

When vindicating a doctrinal innovation requires courts to engineer exceptions to longstanding background rules, the doctrine “has failed to deliver the ‘principled and intelligible’ development of the law that stare decisis purports to secure.” Id., at ___ (THOMAS, J., dissenting) (slip op., at 19) (quoting Vasquez v. Hillery, 474 U. S. 254, 265 (1986)).


Reliance interests. We last consider whether overruling Roe and Casey will upend substantial reliance interests. See Ramos, 590 U. S., at ___ (opinion of KAVANAUGH, J.) (slip op., at 15); Janus, 585 U. S., at ___–___ (slip op., at 34– 35).


Traditional reliance interests arise “where advance planning of great precision is most obviously a necessity.” Casey, 505 U. S., at 856 (joint opinion); see also Payne, 501 U. S., at 828. In Casey, the controlling opinion conceded that those traditional reliance interests were not implicated because getting an abortion is generally “unplanned activity,” and “reproductive planning could take virtually immediate account of any sudden restoration of state authority to ban abortions.” 505 U. S., at 856. For these reasons, we agree with the Casey plurality that conventional, concrete reliance interests are not present here.


Unable to find reliance in the conventional sense, the controlling opinion in Casey perceived a more intangible form of reliance. It wrote that “people [had] organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society . . . in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail” and that “[t]he ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.” Ibid. But this Court is ill-equipped to assess “generalized assertions about the national psyche.” Id., at 957 (opinion of Rehnquist, C. J.). Casey’s notion of reliance thus finds little support in our cases, which instead emphasize very concrete reliance interests, like those that develop in “cases involving property and contract rights.” Payne, 501 U. S., at 828.

When a concrete reliance interest is asserted, courts are equipped to evaluate the claim, but assessing the novel and intangible form of reliance endorsed by the Casey plurality is another matter. That form of reliance depends on an empirical question that is hard for anyone—and in particular, for a court—to assess, namely, the effect of the abortion right on society and in particular on the lives of women. The contending sides in this case make impassioned and conflicting arguments about the effects of the abortion right on the lives of women. Compare Brief for Petitioners 34– 36; Brief for Women Scholars et al. as Amici Curiae 13–20, 29–41, with Brief for Respondents 36–41; Brief for National Women’s Law Center et al. as Amici Curiae 15–32. The contending sides also make conflicting arguments about the status of the fetus. This Court has neither the authority nor the expertise to adjudicate those disputes, and the Casey plurality’s speculations and weighing of the relative importance of the fetus and mother represent a departure from the “original constitutional proposition” that “courts do not substitute their social and economic beliefs for the judgment of legislative bodies.” Ferguson v. Skrupa, 372 U. S. 726, 729–730 (1963).

Our decision returns the issue of abortion to those legislative bodies, and it allows women on both sides of the abortion issue to seek to affect the legislative process by influencing public opinion, lobbying legislators, voting, and running for office. Women are not without electoral or political power. It is noteworthy that the percentage of women who register to vote and cast ballots is consistently higher than the percentage of men who do so.66 In the last election in November 2020, women, who make up around 51.5 percent of the population of Mississippi,67 constituted 55.5 percent of the voters who cast ballots.68 3 Unable to show concrete reliance on Roe and Casey themselves, the Solicitor General suggests that overruling those decisions would “threaten the Court’s precedents holding that the Due Process Clause protects other rights.” Brief for United States 26 (citing Obergefell, 576 U. S. 644; Lawrence, 539 U. S. 558; Griswold, 381 U. S. 479). That is not correct for reasons we have already discussed. As even the Casey plurality recognized, “[a]bortion is a unique act” because it terminates “life or potential life.” 505 U. S., at 852; see also Roe, 410 U. S., at 159 (abortion is “inherently different from marital intimacy,” “marriage,” or “procreation”). And to ensure that our decision is not misunderstood or mischaracterized, we emphasize that our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right. Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.


Having shown that traditional stare decisis factors do not weigh in favor of retaining Roe or Casey, we must address one final argument that featured prominently in the Casey plurality opinion. The argument was cast in different terms, but stated simply, it was essentially as follows. The American people’s belief in the rule of law would be shaken if they lost respect for this Court as an institution that decides important cases based on principle, not “social and political pressures.” 505 U. S., at 865. There is a special danger that the public will perceive a decision as having been made for unprincipled reasons when the Court overrules a controversial “watershed” decision, such as Roe. 505 U. S., at 866–867. A decision overruling Roe would be perceived as having been made “under fire” and as a “surrender to political pressure,” 505 U. S., at 867, and therefore the preservation of public approval of the Court weighs heavily in favor of retaining Roe, see 505 U. S., at 869.

This analysis starts out on the right foot but ultimately veers off course. The Casey plurality was certainly right that it is important for the public to perceive that our decisions are based on principle, and we should make every effort to achieve that objective by issuing opinions that carefully show how a proper understanding of the law leads to the results we reach. But we cannot exceed the scope of our authority under the Constitution, and we cannot allow our decisions to be affected by any extraneous influences such as concern about the public’s reaction to our work. Cf. Texas v. Johnson, 491 U. S. 397 (1989); Brown, 347 U. S. 483. That is true both when we initially decide a constitutional issue and when we consider whether to overrule a prior decision. As Chief Justice Rehnquist explained, “The Judicial Branch derives its legitimacy, not from following public opinion, but from deciding by its best lights whether legislative enactments of the popular branches of Government comport with the Constitution. The doctrine of stare decisis is an adjunct of this duty, and should be no more subject to the vagaries of public opinion than is the basic judicial task.” Casey, 505 U. S., at 963 (opinion concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part). In suggesting otherwise, the Casey plurality went beyond this Court’s role in our constitutional system.

The Casey plurality “call[ed] the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division,” and claimed the authority to impose a permanent settlement of the issue of a constitutional abortion right simply by saying dented claim exceeded the power vested in us by the Constitution. As Alexander Hamilton famously put it, the Constitution gives the judiciary “neither Force nor Will.” The Federalist No. 78, p. 523 (J. Cooke ed. 1961). Our sole authority is to exercise “judgment”—which is to say, the authority to judge what the law means and how it should apply to the case at hand. Ibid. The Court has no authority to decree that an erroneous precedent is permanently exempt from evaluation under traditional stare decisis principles. A precedent of this Court is subject to the usual principles of stare decisis under which adherence to precedent is the norm but not an inexorable command. If the rule were otherwise, erroneous decisions like Plessy and Lochner would still be the law. That is not how stare decisis operates.

The Casey plurality also misjudged the practical limits of this Court’s influence. Roe certainly did not succeed in ending division on the issue of abortion. On the contrary, Roe “inflamed” a national issue that has remained bitterly divisive for the past half century. Casey, 505 U. S., at 995 (opinion of Scalia, J.); see also R. Ginsburg, Speaking in a Judicial Voice, 67 N. Y. U. L. Rev. 1185, 1208 (1992) (Roe may have “halted a political process,” “prolonged divisiveness,” and “deferred stable settlement of the issue”). And for the past 30 years, Casey has done the same.

Neither decision has ended debate over the issue of a constitutional right to obtain an abortion. Indeed, in this case, 26 States expressly ask us to overrule Roe and Casey and to return the issue of abortion to the people and their elected representatives. This Court’s inability to end debate on the issue should not have been surprising. This Court cannot bring about the permanent resolution of a rancorous national controversy simply by dictating a settlement and telling the people to move on. Whatever influence the Court may have on public attitudes must stem from the judicial power.” Roe, 410 U. S., at 222 (White, J., dissenting).

We do not pretend to know how our political system or society will respond to today’s decision overruling Roe and Casey. And even if we could foresee what will happen, we would have no authority to let that knowledge influence our decision. We can only do our job, which is to interpret the law, apply longstanding principles of stare decisis, and decide this case accordingly. We therefore hold that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives.




The dissent argues that we have “abandon[ed]” stare decisis, post, at 30, but we have done no such thing, and it is the dissent’s understanding of stare decisis that breaks with tradition. The dissent’s foundational contention is that the Court should never (or perhaps almost never) overrule an egregiously wrong constitutional precedent unless the Court can “poin[t] to major legal or factual changes undermining [the] decision’s original basis.” Post, at 37. To support this contention, the dissent claims that Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U. S. 483, and other landmark cases overruling prior precedents “responded to changed law and to changed facts and attitudes that had taken hold throughout society.” Post, at 43. The unmistakable implication of this argument is that only the passage of time and new developments justified those decisions. Recognition that the cases they overruled were egregiously wrong on the day they were handed down was not enough.

The Court has never adopted this strange new version of stare decisis—and with good reason. Does the dissent really maintain that overruling Plessy was not justified until the country had experienced more than a half-century of statesanctioned segregation and generations of Black school children had suffered all its effects? Post, at 44–45.

Here is another example. On the dissent’s view, it must have been wrong for West Virginia Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette, 319 U. S. 624, to overrule Minersville School Dist. v. Gobitis, 310 U. S. 586, a bare three years after it was handed down. In both cases, children who were Jehovah’s Witnesses refused on religious grounds to salute the flag or recite the pledge of allegiance. The Barnette Court did not claim that its reexamination of the issue was prompted by any intervening legal or factual developments, so if the Court had followed the dissent’s new version of stare decisis, it would have been compelled to adhere to Gobitis and countenance continued First Amendment violations for some unspecified period.

Precedents should be respected, but sometimes the Court errs, and occasionally the Court issues an important decision that is egregiously wrong. When that happens, stare decisis is not a straitjacket. And indeed, the dissent eventually admits that a decision could “be overruled just because it is terribly wrong,” though the dissent does not explain when that would be so. Post, at 45. 2 Even if the dissent were correct in arguing that an egregiously wrong decision should (almost) never be overruled unless its mistake is later highlighted by “major legal or factual changes,” reexamination of Roe and Casey would be amply justified. We have already mentioned a number of post-Casey developments, see supra, at 33–34, 59–63, but the most profound change may be the failure of the Casey plurality’s call for “the contending sides” in the controversy about abortion “to end their national division,” 505 U. S., at 867. That has not happened, and there is no reason to think that another decision sticking with Roe would achieve what Casey could not.

The dissent, however, is undeterred. It contends that the “very controversy surrounding Roe and Casey” is an important stare decisis consideration that requires upholding those precedents. See post, at 55–57. The dissent characterizes Casey as a “precedent about precedent” that is permanently shielded from further evaluation under traditional stare decisis principles. See post, at 57. But as we have explained, Casey broke new ground when it treated the national controversy provoked by Roe as a ground for refusing to reconsider that decision, and no subsequent case has relied on that factor. Our decision today simply applies longstanding stare decisis factors instead of applying a version of the doctrine that seems to apply only in abortion cases.


Finally, the dissent suggests that our decision calls into question Griswold, Eisenstadt, Lawrence, and Obergefell. Post, at 4–5, 26–27, n. 8. But we have stated unequivocally that “[n]othing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” Supra, at 66. We have also explained why that is so: rights regarding contraception and same-sex relationships are inherently different from the right to abortion because the latter (as we have stressed) uniquely involves what Roe and Casey termed “potential life.” Roe, 410 U. S., at 150 (emphasis deleted); Casey, 505 U. S., at 852. Therefore, a right to abortion cannot be justified by a purported analogy to the rights recognized in those other cases or by “appeals to a broader right to autonomy.” Supra, at 32. It is hard to see how we could be clearer. Moreover, even putting aside that these cases are distinguishable, there is a further point that the dissent ignores: Each precedent is subject to its own stare decisis analysis, and the factors that our doctrine instructs us to consider like reliance and workability are different for these cases than for our abortion jurisprudence.



We now turn to the concurrence in the judgment, which reproves us for deciding whether Roe and Casey should be retained or overruled. That opinion (which for convenience we will call simply “the concurrence”) recommends a “more measured course,” which it defends based on what it claims is “a straightforward stare decisis analysis.” Post, at 1 (opinion of ROBERTS, C. J.). The concurrence would “leave for another day whether to reject any right to an abortion at all,” post, at 7, and would hold only that if the Constitution protects any such right, the right ends once women have had “a reasonable opportunity” to obtain an abortion, post, at 1. The concurrence does not specify what period of time is sufficient to provide such an opportunity, but it would hold that 15 weeks, the period allowed under Mississippi’s law, is enough—at least “absent rare circumstances.” Post, at 2, 10.

There are serious problems with this approach, and it is revealing that nothing like it was recommended by either party. As we have recounted, both parties and the Solicitor General have urged us either to reaffirm or overrule Roe and Casey. See supra, at 4–5. And when the specific approach advanced by the concurrence was broached at oral argument, both respondents and the Solicitor General emphatically rejected it. Respondents’ counsel termed it “completely unworkable” and “less principled and less workable than viability.” Tr. of Oral Arg. 54. The Solicitor General argued that abandoning the viability line would leave courts and others with “no continued guidance.” Id., at 101. What is more, the concurrence has not identified any of the more than 130 amicus briefs filed in this case that advocated its approach. The concurrence would do exactly what it criticizes Roe for doing: pulling “out of thin air” a test that “[n]o party or amicus asked the Court to adopt.” Post, at 3.


The concurrence’s most fundamental defect is its failure to offer any principled basis for its approach. The concurrence would “discar[d]” “the rule from Roe and Casey that a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy extends up to the point that the fetus is regarded as ‘viable’ outside the womb.” Post, at 2. But this rule was a critical component of the holdings in Roe and Casey, and stare decisis is “a doctrine of preservation, not transformation,” Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n, 558 U. S. 310, 384 (2010) (ROBERTS, C. J., concurring). Therefore, a new rule that discards the viability rule cannot be defended on stare decisis grounds.

The concurrence concedes that its approach would “not be available” if “the rationale of Roe and Casey were inextricably entangled with and dependent upon the viability standard.” Post, at 7. But the concurrence asserts that the viability line is separable from the constitutional right they recognized, and can therefore be “discarded” without disturbing any past precedent. Post, at 7–8. That is simply incorrect.

Roe’s trimester rule was expressly tied to viability, see 410 U. S., at 163–164, and viability played a critical role in later abortion decisions. For example, in Planned Parenthood of Central Mo. v. Danforth, 428 U. S. 52, the Court reiterated Roe’s rule that a “State may regulate an abortion to protect the life of the fetus and even may proscribe abortion” at “the stage subsequent to viability.” 428 U. S., at 61 (emphasis added). The Court then rejected a challenge to Missouri’s definition of viability, holding that the State’s definition was consistent with Roe’s. 428 U. S. at 63–64. If viability was not an essential part of the rule adopted in Roe, the Court would have had no need to make that comparison.

The holding in Colautti v. Franklin, 439 U. S. 379, is even more instructive. In that case, the Court noted that prior cases had “stressed viability” and reiterated that “[v]iability is the critical point” under Roe. 439 U. S., at 388–389. It then struck down Pennsylvania’s definition of viability, id., at 389–394, and it is hard to see how the Court could have done that if Roe’s discussion of viability was not part of its holding.
When the Court reconsidered Roe in Casey, it left no doubt about the importance of the viability rule. It described the rule as Roe’s “central holding,” 505 U. S., at 860, and repeatedly stated that the right it reaffirmed was “the right of the woman to choose to have an abortion before viability.” Id., at 846 (emphasis added). See id., at 871 (“The woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy before viability is the most central principle of Roe v. Wade. It is a rule of law and a component of liberty we cannot renounce” (emphasis added)); id., at 872 (A “woman has a right to choose to terminate or continue her pregnancy before viability” (emphasis added)); id., at 879 (“[A] State may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability” (emphasis added)).

Our subsequent cases have continued to recognize the centrality of the viability rule. See Whole Women’s Health, 579 U. S., at 589–590 (“[A] provision of law is constitutionally invalid, if the ‘purpose or effect’ of the provision ‘is to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability’” (emphasis deleted and added)); id., at 627 (“[W]e now use ‘viability’ as the relevant point at which a State may begin limiting women’s access to abortion for reasons unrelated to maternal health” (emphasis added)).

Not only is the new rule proposed by the concurrence inconsistent with Casey’s unambiguous “language,” post, at 8, it is also contrary to the judgment in that case and later abortion cases. In Casey, the Court held that Pennsylvania’s spousal-notification provision was facially unconstitutional, not just that it was unconstitutional as applied to abortions sought prior to the time when a woman has had a reasonable opportunity to choose. See 505 U. S., at 887– 898. The same is true of Whole Women’s Health, which held that certain rules that required physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital were facially unconstitutional because they placed “a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion.” 579 U. S., at 591 (emphasis added).

For all these reasons, stare decisis cannot justify the new “reasonable opportunity” rule propounded by the concurrence. If that rule is to become the law of the land, it must stand on its own, but the concurrence makes no attempt to show that this rule represents a correct interpretation of the Constitution. The concurrence does not claim that the right to a reasonable opportunity to obtain an abortion is “‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’” and “‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.’” Glucksberg, 521 U. S., at 720–721. Nor does it propound any other theory that could show that the Constitution supports its new rule. And if the Constitution protects a woman’s right to obtain an abortion, the opinion does not explain why that right should end after the point at which all “reasonable” women will have decided whether to seek an abortion. While the concurrence is moved by a desire for judicial minimalism, “we cannot embrace a narrow ground of decision simply because it is narrow; it must also be right.” Citizens United, 558 U. S., at 375 (ROBERTS, C. J., concurring). For the reasons that we have explained, the concurrence’s approach is not.


The concurrence would “leave for another day whether to reject any right to an abortion at all,” post, at 7, but “another day” would not be long in coming. Some States have set deadlines for obtaining an abortion that are shorter than Mississippi’s. See, e.g., Memphis Center for Reproductive Health v. Slatery, 14 F. 4th, at 414 (considering law with bans “at cascading intervals of two to three weeks” beginning at six weeks), reh’g en banc granted, 14 F. 4th 550 (CA6 2021). If we held only that Mississippi’s 15-week rule is constitutional, we would soon be called upon to pass on the constitutionality of a panoply of laws with shorter deadlines or no deadline at all. The “measured course” charted by the concurrence would be fraught with turmoil until the Court answered the question that the concurrence seeks to defer.

Even if the Court ultimately adopted the new rule suggested by the concurrence, we would be faced with the difficult problem of spelling out what it means. For example, if the period required to give women a “reasonable” opportunity to obtain an abortion were pegged, as the concurrence seems to suggest, at the point when a certain percentage of women make that choice, see post, at 1–2, 9–10, we would have to identify the relevant percentage. It would also be necessary to explain what the concurrence means when it refers to “rare circumstances” that might justify an exception. Post, at 10. And if this new right aims to give women a reasonable opportunity to get an abortion, it would be necessary to decide whether factors other than promptness in deciding might have a bearing on whether such an opportunity was available.

In sum, the concurrence’s quest for a middle way would only put off the day when we would be forced to confront the question we now decide. The turmoil wrought by Roe and Casey would be prolonged. It is far better—for this Court and the country—to face up to the real issue without further delay.


We must now decide what standard will govern if state abortion regulations undergo constitutional challenge and whether the law before us satisfies the appropriate standard.


Under our precedents, rational-basis review is the appropriate standard for such challenges. As we have explained, procuring an abortion is not a fundamental constitutional right because such a right has no basis in the Constitution’s text or in our Nation’s history. See supra, at 8–39.

It follows that the States may regulate abortion for legitimate reasons, and when such regulations are challenged under the Constitution, courts cannot “substitute their social and economic beliefs for the judgment of legislative bodies.” Ferguson, 372 U. S., at 729–730; see also Dandridge v. Williams, 397 U. S. 471, 484–486 (1970); United States v. Carolene Products Co., 304 U. S. 144, 152 (1938). That respect for a legislature’s judgment applies even when the laws at issue concern matters of great social significance and moral substance. See, e.g., Board of Trustees of Univ. of Ala. v. Garrett, 531 U. S. 356, 365–368 (2001) (“treatment of the disabled”); Glucksberg, 521 U. S., at 728 (“assisted suicide”); San Antonio Independent School Dist. v. Rodriguez, 411 U. S. 1, 32–35, 55 (1973) (“financing public education”).

A law regulating abortion, like other health and welfare laws, is entitled to a “strong presumption of validity.” Heller v. Doe, 509 U. S. 312, 319 (1993). It must be sustained if there is a rational basis on which the legislature could have thought that it would serve legitimate state interests. Id., at 320; FCC v. Beach Communications, Inc., 508 U. S. 307, 313 (1993); New Orleans v. Dukes, 427 U. S. 297, 303 (1976) (per curiam); Williamson v. Lee Optical of Okla., Inc., 348 U. S. 483, 491 (1955). These legitimate interests include respect for and preservation of prenatal life at all stages of development, Gonzales, 550 U. S., at 157–158; the protection of maternal health and safety; the elimination of particularly gruesome or barbaric medical procedures; the preservation of the integrity of the medical profession; the mitigation of fetal pain; and the prevention of discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or disability. See id., at 156– 157; Roe, 410 U. S., at 150; cf. Glucksberg, 521 U. S., at 728– 731 (identifying similar interests).


These legitimate interests justify Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act. Except “in a medical emergency or in the case of a severe fetal abnormality,” the statute prohibits abortion “if the probable gestational age of the unborn human being has been determined to be greater than fifteen (15) weeks.” Miss. Code Ann. §41–41–191(4)(b). The Mississippi Legislature’s findings recount the stages of “human prenatal development” and assert the State’s interest in “protecting the life of the unborn.” §2(b)(i). The legislature also found that abortions performed after 15 weeks typically use the dilation and evacuation procedure, and the legislature found the use of this procedure “for nontherapeutic or elective reasons [to be] a barbaric practice, dangerous for the maternal patient, and demeaning to the medical profession.” §2(b)(i)(8); see also Gonzales, 550 U. S., at 135–143 (describing such procedures). These legitimate interests provide a rational basis for the Gestational Age Act, and it follows that respondents’ constitutional challenge must fail.


We end this opinion where we began. Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.

The judgment of the Fifth Circuit is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. It is so ordered.