Governmental policy and legislation report No. 18

What happens after the Dobbs decision? More than a month has passed since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson overturned Roe v. Wade and held that there was no federal constitutional right to abortion. The Court returned to state governments the right to regulate abortion. Although Catholic leaders joined many others in applauding the change in policy, the path to a country without abortion is unclear. The last five weeks have seen some changes even though most state legislatures, including the Georgia General Assembly, will not be in session until next year.

In Georgia, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision which allowed the Georgia “Heartbeat Law” to become effective to ban (with some exceptions) abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, that is about six weeks after conception. The Georgia Catholic Conference supported the passage of the law in 2019.

Not all-legal news has been good in other states. In Kansas, a proposed state constitutional amendment to allow anti-abortion legislation was defeated in a state-wide vote even though Kansas has had a strong pro-life legislature. The Kansas Catholic Conference actively supported the constitutional amendment through the “Value Them Both” campaign. The bishops of Kansas expressed their disappointment at the result and promised to continue their support for prolife legislation.

Analysis of Dobbs. This report does not have sufficient space to summarize all the analyses of the Dobbs decision that have appeared in secular and religious media but several articles may give a flavor of the discussions. Catholic News Service published a report on the annual meeting of the Napa Institute, which has aggressively worked to have Roe v. Wade overturned. Speakers at the meeting, however, recognized the need for additional work. See more here.

Let Her Speak.” The Archdiocese of Atlanta continues its video series as women reflect on their lives and the issues surrounding abortion. Link to videos from the archdiocesan website https://archatl.com/ or here.