It’s official: The Supreme Court released its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization » this morning, directly overruling the Constitutional right of a woman to choose whether to terminate her pregnancy — a right guaranteed to every person in every state since Roe v. Wade was decided by the same court nearly 50 years ago. No ifs, no ands, no buts: Roe is gone… with the stroke of a pen; the click of a computer key.
I am both saddened and outraged. I was a law student in my first year at U of O Law when Roe was decided. We were euphoric. Never again (or so we thought) would women be subject to the fears, dangers, and indignities of the past. But we were terribly mistaken, and naive.
As expected, Justice Alito delivered the majority opinion in Dobbs, concluding that the right to an abortion is not a fundamental right — never was! This means the legal authority to regulate abortion now rests with each individual state. And we know what that means. At least half the states will soon completely deny access to reproductive healthcare.
Thankfully, we are safe here in Oregon, but we must step up to ensure we provide safe harbor to those who are not.
The three dissenting Justices properly emphasized the chilling impact of Dobbs: “Today’s decision strips women of agency over what even the majority agrees is a contested and contestable moral issue. It forces her to carry out the State’s will, whatever the circumstances and whatever the harm it will wreak on her and her family. In the Fourteenth Amendment’s terms, it takes away her liberty,” wrote Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer.
As the dissenters made clear, the real-world impact of the decision is horrifying. Under laws that have already been passed in some states that have no exceptions for rape or incest, “a woman will have to bear her rapist’s child or a young girl her father’s—no matter if doing so will destroy her life.”
There is no “sugar-coating” to this ruling. It’s as awful as it could be.
As Oregon Attorney General, I will continue fighting with every bone in my body to keep abortion safe and accessible to all. Abortion is legal here and will remain so.
I will not accept that going forward, young women in Oregon will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers. We are working hard to ensure our state’s laws continue to protect and expand, not diminish, the freedoms we have relied upon for half a century.