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Is Roe v Wade on a Collision Course?

By David Bjornstrom — The U.S. Supreme Court’s viability standard in Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey will be tested this fall in the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. The Dobbs case involves a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks. While the case does not go far enough, in that it still allows abortions at all, it highlights the absurdity of the Court’s viability standard.

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Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor famously stated in 1983 that Roe v Wade is “on a collision course with itself,” considering ongoing advances in medical science.

Roe contains the seeds of its own destruction since the Court’s basic premise, that abortions should be allowed before the baby is “viable” outside the womb, disintegrates over time with advances in medical science, genetics, technology, and neonatal care.

The viability standard

In fact, scientific advances since Roe show that abortion at any stage of pregnancy, before or after viability, inevitably collides with the reality that the unborn baby is a new human person with its own DNA and separate identity from its biological parents. Even in Roe, the Court admitted that “if this suggestion of personhood is established, Roe’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Fourteenth Amendment.”

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Reprinted with permission from the author and Catholic Business Journal

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David Bjornstrom is a Santa Rosa, CA-based attorney with 36 years specializing in business, estate, and tax law. He serves in various pro-life, elder-focused, and homeless outreach ministries. David and his wife has six children, including two adopted from China, and 10 grandchildren.

2 Comments on “Is Roe v Wade on a Collision Course?

  1. What if the pro-aborts claim the Amendment X1V only applies to a born person. Section 1 states “All persons born…”

    • Great question. The first sentence of the 14th amendment defines “citizens” (not “persons” generally) in terms of persons who are “born or naturalized.” The “privileges and immunities” clause in the next sentence then specifically applies only to “citizens.” However, the “due process” and “equal protection” clauses are then defined more broadly to apply to “any person.”
      The first sentence limiting citizenship to persons born or naturalized implies by necessity that the term “person” is broader than citizenship. The due process and equal protection clauses seem very deliberate in applying to all “persons” whether or not they are citizens.
      Thanks!