Asked if the Founding Fathers believed in a right to abortion, Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), an obstetrician, said, “I think that they valued the sanctity of life.”
At the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, CNS News asked the senator, “Did the Founding Fathers believe in a right to abortion?”
“I have no idea. I think they were godly men and I think that they valued the sanctity of life,” Marshall replied.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments this week in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case to decide if states can restrict abortion before the point of fetal viability.
According to the standard established in Casey v. Planned Parenthood, no state can place an undue burden on a woman’s ability to get an abortion before her baby is considered viable, or able to survive outside of the womb.
The Mississippi law prevents abortion after a baby has reached 15 weeks of gestation. Fetal viability is considered to occur at 24 weeks, meaning this law violates the standards of the Roe v. Wade and Casey precedent.
However, there has been significant skepticism of basis in the Constitution of the Roe and Casey decisions, with many legal scholars arguing that there is no constitutional foundation at all. Former chief justice of the Supreme Court William Rehnquist argued that Roe’s lack of constitutionality has created a mess for future abortion restrictions and legislation.
“The key elements of the Roe framework – trimesters and viability – are not found in the text of the Constitution or in any place else one would expect to find a constitutional principle,” Rehnquist wrote. “The result has been a web of legal rules that have become increasingly intricate, resembling a code of regulations, rather than a body of constitutional doctrine.”
The Dobbs case gives the Supreme Court the opportunity to overturn the Roe precedent, or at least adjust its standards and return back to the intentions of the Founding Fathers, former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III says.
“Failing to reverse Roe and Casey in a case squarely presenting the question would suggest that the Founders’ views cannot compete with the preferred positions of some special interests,” Meese wrote in a Washington Post commentary published Wednesday.
“For the sake of a republic of laws and not of men, I hope the court will ratify the promise of the Founders’ Constitution,” Meese says.