Pro-Life Professor Breaks Down Why Supreme Court Didn’t Go Far Enough When It Overturned ‘Roe’

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 24: Anti-abortion activists participate in a Celebrate Life Day Rally at the Lincoln Memorial on June 24, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images

More than a year has passed since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in its 6-3 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and while pro-life Americans cheer the ruling, some believe that the High Court didn’t go far enough.

Hadley Arkes, the Edward N. Ney Professor of Jurisprudence and American Institutions, Emeritus at Amherst College, recently published a column for The Catholic Thing in which he harangued the SCOTUS for not having the guts to weigh in on the “moral substance of the case.”

“It wasn’t a matter of inadvertence: the conservative majority deliberately withheld the premises that are vital to the pro-life movement in going forward now, in the States as well at the federal level, in acting through Congress,” Arkes said of the majority’s opinion.”Most notably, the majority held back from recognizing the human standing of the child in the womb.”

Arkes, a pro-life advocate since the 1960s, argued that the Roe decision altered American morals, while Dobbs will have no such effect.

Roe not merely created a right to abortion; it changed the culture,” he said. “It converted abortion from a thing to be abhorred, discouraged, and forbidden, into something approved, celebrated, and encouraged.”

In other words, as it relates to abortion, politics wasn’t downstream from culture. The culture was downstream from politics.

“The conservative justices in Dobbs did nothing to start undoing those moral lessons,” the author of the book “Mere Natural Law: Originalism and the Anchoring Truths of the Constitution” argued.

There was one highlight for Arkes — but even here, it fell short of his desired goal.

“The redeeming part of the decision would be found in Justice Alito’s opinion for the majority. He managed to show that there was no principled ground for regarding the small being in the womb as anything less than human,” Arkes said.

However, if the baby is a human, then a reasonable conclusion would be that it deserves the inalienable rights afforded to all other humans.


“[Alito] would leave it to others to draw that moral conclusion, whether people in elective offices or perhaps conservative judges in the courts below,” Arkes noted.

He concluded that ultimately —  because Republican politicians and conservative judges at-large are squeamish on the issue of abortion — Justice Samuel Alito might have to take “that next step” in affirming the “human standing of the child in the womb.” This would come in a subsequent case dealing with the issue, potentially regarding the abortion pill.

Arkes presents and articulates a thought-provoking viewpoint that articulates why for all its success, Dobbs left much to be desired.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Pro-Life Professor Breaks Down Why Supreme Court Didn’t Go Far Enough When It Overturned ‘Roe’