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Wed Aug 17, 2022, 02:12 PM

Legal expert explains why abortion decision is important to understand 'well beyond the issue of rep

reproductive rights’

In Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the U.S. Supreme Court stripped away the constitutionally protected right to an abortion by concluding in a 5-4 vote that it was not a form of “liberty” protected by the 14th Amendment, with Justice Samuel Alito writing in the court’s majority opinion that “the Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.”

“The Court reads [the 14th Amendment] in a very, very narrow way in Dobbs to say it's not about abortion,” Olatunde Johnson, an award-winning professor at Columbia Law School, said during a virtual event hosted by MAKERS and the Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN) at Yahoo on Aug. 2. While discussing the implications of that ruling with Missy Schnurstein, a global co-lead in the U.S. for WIN, Johnson explained why the court’s “narrow” reading of the 14th Amendment should give Americans pause not just on abortion rights.

“A lot of things aren't actually explicitly written in the Constitution, particularly since it was written by a bunch of white men hundreds of years ago,” Schnurstein observed. “They couldn't possibly have foreseen how things would change.”

Johnson agreed, and she explained that this is the reason she believes that the Dobbs decision is important to understand “well beyond the issue of reproductive rights and women’s rights.”


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