THE EYES HAVE IT – The Supreme Court decision was about the Constitution, not abortion

The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) sent shock waves into America recently with two important, and unfortunately controversial decisions. One was on gun rights, the other about abortion. Reading the US Constitution, neither should be the least bit controversial.

The role of SCOTUS is not to make law or settle social and policy disagreements, but instead to ensure that laws passed by Congress or actions of the White House are constitutional. That is exactly what they did.

First was a decision that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense. They affirmed legal carry outside the home, where the need for self-defense is greatest, not just inside the home as the most recent ruling, the Heller decision, declared. 

The Second Amendment affirms, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms”. Arms doesn’t mean only muskets and cannons, weapons of the day when the Bill of Rights was drafted, but modern weapons as well. Otherwise, free speech would not include television, radio, or the internet as these didn’t exist when the First Amendment was written.

Regarding abortion, SCOTUS ruled on the law, not abortion per se, and did nothing to make abortion illegal or otherwise restrict it. Instead, they followed the Tenth Amendment, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” 

This allows the states, through a ballot referendum or through their elected legislatures to decide these issues, including abortion, gambling, recreational drug use, prostitution, and other activities not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. 

Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, a decision delegated to the states as weed is not mentioned in the Constitution. We became a marijuana tourism hotspot, for better or for worse. Abortion will follow a similar pattern in Colorado and about half the other states.

Colorado passed a law this year placing no limits on abortion around time or stage of pregnancy, far more generous than the original Roe decision. Roe allowed restrictions and even prohibition of abortion after fetal viability. Despite the current SCOTUS ruling, abortion will be readily available in Colorado, and in many other states.

This means that a woman in Colorado, 40 weeks pregnant, can walk up one street to the hospital to deliver a healthy full-term baby, or down another to a Planned Parenthood clinic to abort that same healthy full-term baby. This is what must be meant by “a woman’s right to choose.”

Abortion tourism will become popular around the country as each state will craft its own abortion rules. This is like medical tourism, patients traveling to the Mayo Clinic for brain surgery or the Cleveland Clinic for heart surgery if these specialized services are not available in their home state. 

Justice Kavanaugh wrote in his opinion, “That issue will be resolved by the people and their representatives in the democratic process in the States or Congress.” As it should be and as SCOTUS finally clarified after almost 50 years of controversy and division since Roe v Wade.