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.
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.”
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.