News Release: THLA Opposes Supreme Court’s Reversal of Roe v. Wade
For further information, contact: Ashley Fasano, Co-President, (732) 567-8394, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Ted Holmquist, Co-President, (310) 923-1828, email@example.com.
THLA Opposes Supreme Court’s Reversal of Roe v. Wade, Denounces Any Further Undermining of Privacy Rights
For immediate release June 25, 2022
SAN DIEGO – Tom Homann LGBTQ+ Law Association expresses deep regret that the Supreme Court today issued an opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health that rejects the fundamental principle of stare decisis, disrupts 50 years of legal precedent recognizing a constitutional right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade, and may have the effect of undermining fundamental privacy rights, including the civil rights of LGBTQ+ individuals.
The 6-3 opinion, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, upholds a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks, and, by a 5-4 vote, overturns the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that protected a constitutional right to abortion, allowing states to ban the procedure. While the majority opinion purports to provide assurances that other privacy rights – such as the right to contraception, the right to interracial marriage, and the right to same-sex marriage – are not in jeopardy, the legal analysis offered to overrule Roe could similarly be used to attack other privacy rights.
“We are immensely disheartened by the Supreme Court’s Dobbs opinion overturning the fundamental right of all persons to bodily autonomy and reproductive choices,” THLA co-president Ashley Fasano said. “We hope that the Court’s statements that its decision has no impact on other privacy rights prove true, but we are concerned that this could be the first step in eroding other fundamental rights, including the hard-fought rights of the LGBTQ+ community.”
THLA also is concerned that the Dobbs opinion may embolden those who discriminate against and commit hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people.
The Dobbs majority opinion asserts that, because the Constitution does not make specific reference to abortion, no such right may be implicitly protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment unless it is “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.” The Court concludes that, because the right to abortion was not recognized as a right in American law until the latter part of the 20th century, it does not qualify as a protected right. Recognizing that many now-entrenched privacy rights also are not mentioned in the Constitution nor deeply rooted in American history, the Court asserts that they are different because they do not involve “the critical moral question posed by abortion,” that “they are therefore inapposite,” and “our conclusion that the Constitution does not confer such a right [to abortion] does not undermine them in any way.”
The majority’s position is challenged, however, in a concurring opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas, who posits that the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause does not recognize any substantive rights. Justice Thomas expressly invites the Supreme Court to reconsider all of its substantive due process precedents, including the decisions recognizing the right to contraception (Griswold v. Connecticut), the right to engage in private, consensual sexual acts (Lawrence v. Texas), and the right to same-sex marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges), stating that the Court has a duty to “correct the error” established in those precedents.
“Justice Thomas’s invitation to overturn the right to same-sex marriage and even the right to engage in private, consensual sex is alarming, and it is worrisome that the Court’s majority did not address and rebuke that suggestion,” THLA co-president Ted Holmquist said. “As an organization dedicated to the advancement of LGBTQ+ issues and protection of the LGBTQ+ community, THLA will continue to work to support full equality and fundamental human rights for all.”
Since a draft opinion in the Dobbs case – which was very close in substance to the final opinion issued today – was leaked in early May, THLA has been planning a continuing legal education program addressing the potential impacts of Dobbs on privacy rights. The program will be offered virtually and will feature speakers including Cathren Cohen, an attorney with the UCLA School of Law Williams Institute and the UCLA Law Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy. THLA expects to host the program in July or early August.
About THLA: The Tom Homann LGBTQ+ Law Association is dedicated to the advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues throughout California and the nation, as well as the protection of our communities. We are the place for San Diego’s LGBTQ+ and ally legal professionals to network, build friendships and develop their careers. THLA members are also committed to establishing and maintaining personal connections with the local law student community. Through our successful mentor program, we provide encouragement, guidance, insight, and friendship.