Pro-aborts may have declared victory in the wake of the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate the Oklahoma Personhood Act, but according to Personhood USA President Keith Mason, pro-lifers are the ones who should be celebrating, since the decision puts personhood on the fast track to the highest court in the land:
The Oklahoma Court’s decision relied heavily on Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and in moving to deny the people’s right to petition on behalf of the preborn, they have turned this case into a federal issue, deciding “the only recourse available to this Court is to follow…the United States Supreme Court.” The ruling has set us up for a direct challenge to Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
The Oklahoma Court ruling has, inadvertently, propelled the Personhood movement several years forward!
The implications of this case are enormous! Not only will the Personhood movement receive more exposure, which results in an unmatched opportunity for education and saving babies’ lives, but there is a very real chance for victory. The Oklahoma case could be the first to directly and successfully challenge Planned Parenthood v. Casey, dismantling the abortion stronghold in America, and demanding basic human rights for every single human being. This is cause for celebration!
The Oklahoma high court called the measure “clearly unconstitutional,” claiming the Supremes’ prior rulings on abortion have settled the issue. If the Supreme Court were to hear the case, they’d be taking the explosive step of reconsidering Roe v. Wade‘s and Planned Parenthood v. Casey’s central proposition: that the Constitution protects the “right to choose” abortion. That’s a high-risk/high-reward proposition, to put it mildly.
The risk is that another major pro-abortion ruling would embolden abortion’s defenders, reinforce the popular misconception that abortion is an inviolable constitutional right, and provide further precedent for timid judges to defer to under one of the law’s most overrated concepts, stare decisis. A vote against life is a very real possibility: assuming the Court hears the case under its current makeup, there are only four justices who pro-lifers can be reasonably confident will side with us (and even that might be optimistic: while Justices John Roberts and Sam Alito have been generally conservative so far, I personally worry that their confirmation testimony suggested excessive reverence for stare decisis).
Then again, the reward would be an absolute game-changer. Restoring the people’s right to vote on abortion policy would supercharge enthusiasm for pro-life legislative efforts by enabling them to have a direct practical effect, rather than mere symbolism or judicial maneuvering. Abortion would suddenly be considered a far more pressing campaign issue. Politicians who previously punted the issue to the courts would be forced to take a more explicit personal stand. And most dramatically, the decision would automatically criminalize abortion in the seventeen states [PDF link] that have either left their pre-Roe abortion bans on the books or passed laws to automatically ban abortion in the event of Roe’s fall. And while a favorable decision is far from guaranteed, it’s not a pipe dream, either – by the time the high court gets around to hearing the case, President Mitt Romney may have appointed a new pro-life justice or two.
One thing’s for sure: a Supreme Court miracle won’t spell the end of the abortion wars; if anything, it will force pro-lifers to redouble our efforts to change newly vulnerable laws and ward off vicious attacks from disgruntled opponents desperate to preserve the old status quo. Fortunately, pro-lifers are more than up to the challenge.