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As faithful citizens, we are called to take an active part in the civic lives of our country, states, and local communities.
The Knights of Columbus stands ready to encourage and provide you information and potential opportunities for active engagement.
Additional resources include the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and your state catholic conference. These organizations speak for the Church and our bishops and depend on the involvement of all the faithful. Share This Email Forward This Email Survey We want to hear from you! Please answer this one question about the Faithful Citizenship Newsletter here. Dobbs V. Jackson Women’s Health OrganizationClick Here to Read a Background Summary of the CaseKey HoldingsThe Supreme Court holds that no provision of the Constitution contains a right to an abortion and, therefore, overturns its decisions in Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992).
By clarifying there is no constitutional right to abortion, the Court further holds that abortion laws at the state and federal level should be considered, like most other laws, on the standard of rational basis review.
In response to those who might say such a ruling would imperil the protection of other unenumerated rights protected by the Due Process Clause, the Majority Opinion is explicit in its scope saying:
“That is not correct for reasons we have already discussed. As even the Casey plurality recognized, ‘abortion is a unique act’ because it terminates ‘life or potential life.’ 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.”
Decision and AnalysisOn June 24, the Supreme Court issued an opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito which overturned Roe and Casey and upheld Mississippi’s law on a standard of rational basis review.Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett joined the Alito decision.
Chief Justice John Roberts concurred in the ultimate decision to uphold Mississippi’s law but disagreed that the Court must overturn Roe and Casey.
Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan issued a joint dissenting opinion.The Majority Opinion has three essential parts: the decision to overturn Roe and Casey, the rationale behind overturning the precedents (the stare decisis analysis), and the holding that abortion laws be reviewed on a rational basis model.K of C Response to the Decision‘Proclaim the Dignity of Every Human Life’Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly’s Statement on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Click Here to read.
Mothers and Children FirstOn June 10, Supreme Knight Kelly announced the ASAP (Aid and Support After Pregnancy) program, a new initiative to strengthen K of C assistance of pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes. Click Here to learn more.
Proclaim the Dignity of Every Human LifeA State Issue – Do You Know the Laws in Your State?The Overturning of Roe v. Wade means that abortion is now a state issue. To learn more about the laws in your state, visit the Family Policy Alliance. Overturning Roe and CaseyAlito holds that Roe and Casey must be overturned because there is no express right to an abortion in the Constitution and that a “right to abortion” as an unenumerated right in the 14th Amendment does not align with the Court’s substantive due process jurisprudence.
In Roe, the Court held that the right to abortion stemmed from a “right to privacy” that it drew from the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.
Twenty years later in Casey, the Court essentially ignored the idea of a “right to privacy” and instead says the right to abortion is embedded in the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment (“No state shall make or enforce any law which shall…deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”).
The Supreme Court has held that analysis of whether an unenumerated right in the Constitution is protected by the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause requires an analysis of whether the right is “deeply rooted in [our] history and tradition” and whether it is essential to the nation’s “scheme of ordered liberty.”
The opinion explores centuries of English Common Law, on which U.S. law is based, and finds that abortion “after quickening” (i.e. when a woman could feel the child move in the days before modern science and technology) was always considered a crime (and that abortion pre-quickening was also, likely, considered the same way).
Alito also reviews the laws of the several states and territories when the 14th Amendment was ratified noting that three-quarters of states had laws against abortion and, in the years following, almost every state passed laws making it a crime. When Roe was decided in 1972, 30 states still had statutes like these in force.
Alito, therefore, draws the conclusion that abortion is not part of the nation’s legal “history and tradition.”On the question of “ordered liberty,” Alito writes:“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…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.’ But the people of the various States may evaluate those interests differently…Our Nation’s historical understanding of ordered liberty does not prevent the people’s elected representatives from deciding how abortion should be regulated.”In the next issue of the Faithful Citizenship newsletter, we will dig deeper into the overturning of Roe v. Wade. We’ll discuss the initial errors the Court is correcting in this decision, the reasoning of the Court, effects on other areas of law, and more. Thank you for being a KofC Faithful Citizen. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email firstname.lastname@example.orgKnights GearFaithful CitizenshipContact UsKnights of Columbus | KofC.org
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