Letter From the Editors
Bioethics in Law & Culture Spring 2022 vol. 5 issue 2
Joe Kral, M.A.
Ana Brennan, J.D.
Is Roe dead? The leak was confirmed by Chief Justice John Roberts. However, the leak was only a draft of an opinion, so until a final ruling is issued, we can only speculate. It does, however, give us much to think about. In all likelihood, Roe will be thrown into the dustbin of egregiously malicious SCOTUS rulings such as Plessy v. Ferguson. It deserves to be there.
With the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel facing us now, the question will become what shall we do now? Pro-life work will not end. No doubt, even in states where Abortion Trigger Bans come into effect, there will be pro-life legislative initiatives to help pro-life pregnancy centers with funding, the need to protect IVF embryonic children and other biotech issues related to human life, and certainly end-of-life issues. The truth will be the fight is far from over.
No doubt, many are asking why did this leak happen now? While we can only surmise the answer at present, no doubt it will serve to galvanize both pro-life and pro-abortion sides. From a legislative standpoint, hopefully, this will encourage some of those states that are trying to pass Abortion Trigger Bans to finally get them passed. Sadly, this leak will also encourage states like New York and Connecticut to pass legislation that will protect abortionists from being arrested, subpoenaed, or extradited for violating other state’s pro-life laws. Again, there will be much work to be done.
It turns out, many of the pundits on the various cable news networks have spread misinformation about what will happen if this decision does become a reality. Firstly, it is important to note that it allows each state to make its own policy regarding abortion. This was the case prior to Roe. If this is the case, abortion is not outlawed entirely. Only piecemeal. While much of the South and Midwest are likely to either ban the procedure or severely restrict it, much of the East and West Coasts will still have abortion widely available. Secondly, if this decision becomes a reality, it does not mean women are going to be prosecuted.
Traditionally speaking, prosecution of abortion has focused on prosecuting the abortionist. This is because the woman is seen as a victim, and it is the abortionist who is seen as the one victimizing. Thirdly, states with pre-Roe laws will not have those laws come into immediate effect, especially if they have no Abortion Trigger Ban signed into law. There are a host of reasons for this including if there are pro-life laws on the books such parental consent, ultrasound laws, or even fetal heartbeat laws. Those laws must be nullified first.
Finally, what does this mean for us and legislative strategy for the future. Similar, but different. It still will be a state-to-state strategy. Each state will have its own “look” and nuance that is different than other states; just like now. But no doubt, some states, will be focused on completely different pro-life topics. Have no doubt, the IVF industry is looking at the Dobbs case with intense interest. They know, that if abortion is outlawed in certain states, their abuse of IVF embryonic children will no longer go unnoticed, and they will have to fight in the legislatures like never before. This will certainly allow the pro-life movement the ability to better regulate the IVF industry through incremental change as well.
This should be an exciting issue. In this issue, Dr. Steven Jacobs, JD, PhD, explores the notion of rights for the unborn. This fits in nicely with the spirit of the Dobbs case, which as we have discussed, looks to overturn Roe very soon. Dr. Tara Lee Sanders, PhD, discusses the threat to the IVF embryonic child from medical experimentation. Again, this should give thought to what legislation states may need to consider in the very near term; especially those states that have outlawed abortion. And finally, Dr. David Franks, PhD, evaluates the future of abortion discourse in light of the Dobbs leak within the framework of America's historical struggle with slavery.
We hope you enjoy this Spring edition of the Journal of Bioethics in Law & Culture.
Joe Kral, M.A.
President & Editor-in-Chief
Ana Brennan, J.D.
Vice President & Senior Editor