WASHINGTON, D.C. (EP) – The Supreme Court should overturn its landmark 1973 abortion decision because it is “not firmly grounded in the Constitution, adopts an unworkable framework,” and allows courts to “usurp” the legislative function, the Justice Department told the Court February 23.
In a friend-of-the-court brief filed in a case involving Missouri’s 1986 law restricting abortion, the Justice Department said the “time has come for the Court to abandon its efforts to impose a comprehensive solution to the abortion question.”
The Missouri law in question forbids public funding of abortion or abortion counseling, requires that abortions performed after the first three months of pregnancy be done in a hospital, prohibits abortions in public hospitals and clinics, and mandates a “viability test” for unborn babies over 19 weeks old. The preamble for the law declares that human life begins at conception.
Previous attempts to overturn the Court’s Roe vs. Wade abortion decision have been unsuccessful. In the last attempt, Roe was upheld on a 5-4 vote. Since then, however, pro-abortion Justice Lewis Powell had resigned, and been replaced by Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy is believed to hold pro-life views, and could provide the critical fifth vote to cut back or overturn the Court’s pro-abortion policies.
In another friend-of-the-court brief filed in the case, the Orthodox Christian Church asks that the Court overturn its legalization of abortion on demand. The Orthodox brief claims that the Roe decision inaccurately attempted “to show that abortion was philosophically and morally grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.” The brief insists, “Rather than being ambivalent, or even condoning abortion, as suggested by the Roe Court’s opinion, historic Christianity has always condemned abortion as murder, without regard for any distinctions as to fetal development or viability.”
The case, Webster vs. Reproductive Health Services, is expected to be argued in April.