Abortion Constitutionality

Richard Stith on the Dobbs case

Here is a link to a good essay in Public Discourse by Richard Stith on the Dobbs case. Stith argues that in overruling Roe the Court ought not to rely on the personhood argument.

Rather, he argues, “the Court could say that it need not reach and decide the question whether the unborn child actually is a fellow human being in order to uphold Mississippi’s law in the Dobbs case before it. It need only affirm that such a judgment by a state like Mississippi is quite reasonable. Given that reasonable judgment, the state in question has a compelling interest in protecting that child by law (and also in recognizing the unborn child’s personhood in its state constitution).”

The benefit of this approach, Stith contends, is that it would predictable harms from the broader ruling.

Stith states: “An instant victory—one that would end all abortion nationwide—could provoke backlash so severe that the Court’s legitimacy and power could face irreparable damage. The strategy I propose, on the other hand, would avoid a constitutional crisis; it would allow the Court to speak powerfully and compassionately about the nature and dignity of the child; and it would allow it to declare the reasonableness of protecting both the child and the child’s mother from the violence of abortion. Then, many years from now, after a successful outcome to the political debate that must still come, the Court could finally recognize that child to be fully one of us: a fellow human being with a constitutional right to life. “

Richard Myers

Richard S. Myers, the Vice-President of UFL, is Professor of Law at Ave Maria School of Law, where he teaches Antitrust, Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, and Religious Freedom. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Kenyon College and earned his law degree at Notre Dame, where he won the law school's highest academic prize. He began his legal career by clerking for Judge John F. Kilkenny of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Professor Myers also worked for Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue in Washington, D.C. He taught at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law before joining the Ave Maria faculty. He is a co-editor of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Natural Law Tradition: Contemporary Perspectives (Catholic University of American Press, 2004) and a co-editor of Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy (Scarecrow Press, 2007). He has also published extensively on constitutional law in law reviews and also testified before Congressional and state legislative hearings on life issues. Married to Mollie Murphy, who is also on the faculty at Ave Maria School of Law, they are the proud parents of six children - Michael, Patrick, Clare, Kathleen, Matthew, and Andrew.