Page six view: Codifying Roe v Wade is what the Framers would have wanted

Lindsay Giovannone, Copy Desk Chief

Column

Roe v. Wade was a landmark Supreme Court decision that ruled the Constitution conferred the right to an abortion under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, which considered the medical decision a right to privacy.

Forty-nine years later, on June 24, 2022, after a 5-4 majority ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Roe was overturned. This came less than two months after the draft opinion was leaked. While the Supreme Court said at the time that the draft opinion was not the final opinion of the Court, it is now evident that this was true. Justice Samuel Alito of the Court’s conservative bloc penned the 108-page majority opinion that bluntly declared, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”

Alito concludes the Opinion of the Court by citing both Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey and Roe as those that arrogated states’ authority. He upheld that the individual states will regulate abortion and “the judgement of the Fifth Circuit is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. It is so ordered.”

The Court’s majority opinion argues that the federal government has no Constitutional basis for protecting reproductive rights, and that this is a decision left for each state. However, if we are to truly defer to the most basic level of the Constitution – as the Court’s ruling majority has – it is obvious the framers of the Constitution would have wanted reproductive rights codified.

Codifying reproductive healthcare rights means that the decisions of Roe and Casey would be federally enacted laws and state governments would be unable to interfere. The majority of the framers of the Constitution did not want people excessively controlled by their government. The Constitution’s purpose is to create a structurally sound and powerful federal government, while also limiting its power through checks and balances so that fundamental rights would not be at stake. Interfering with personal autonomy violates the inherent right of self-governance.

There is a trickle-down effect of overturning Roe; while the Supreme Court majority opinion believes that abortion is a state matter, and have thereby limited federal interference, they actually have increased it. What could have remained an absolute decision of the past has now been federally forced into states’ hands, who now must decide.

Should reproductive rights be federally – and forever – protected? The American government would abstain from prying on its citizens’ choices. If a federal law were enacted, the government could wash its hands clean of regulating any further privacy decisions.

Freedom and liberty are the foundations of American society. Thomas Jefferson, one of the framers, wrote, “The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.” True freedom is found when the government removes itself from its citizens’ decisions and affirms their inherent right of autonomy, as was intended by the founders of this country.