Immediately following President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court, questions concerning Roe v. Wade and its possible overturn began circulating. If appointed, the Supreme Court would have a conservative majority of 6-3. Critics of this nomination have claimed that Coney Barrett would jeopardize women’s reproductive health and access to abortion. Historically, she has been a staunch opponent of Roe v. Wade; in 2006, she signed a “right to live” letter, which called for “an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe v. Wade and restore laws that protect the lives of unborn children.” Despite the fact that Coney Barrett has repeatedly stated that her personal convictions will not interfere with her rulings as a judge, liberals have become convinced that her appointment will be detrimental to the pro-choice movement. 

An Instagram account called “so you want to talk about…” dedicated to “dissecting progressive politics and social issues in graphic slideshow form” recently shared a post titled “So You Want to Talk About Roe v. Wade.” The post suggests that “by making abortion legal nationwide, Roe v. Wade has had a dramatic impact on the health and well-being of Americans” as fatal pregnancy termination attempts have decreased. Furthermore, the post argues that if Roe v. Wade is overturned or its influence is decreased, “one-third of all people of reproductive age in America could lose the ability to access abortion in their state.” The post’s last slide reads: “consider Roe v. Wade when you vote this November. Joe Biden says that as president, he’d protect abortion rights by codifying Roe v. Wade into federal law. Donald Trump has vowed to completely defund Planned Parenthood and has taken bold stances against abortion & abortion access.”

This post, along with the mainstream narrative surrounding Coney Barrett, relies on fear mongering as a divisive tool against the nomination. Coney Barrett, however, has stated that she doesn’t believe that abortion “or the right to abortion would change. I think some of the restrictions would change…the question is how much freedom the court is willing to let states have in regulating abortion.” In reality, the Supreme Court must abide by the doctrine of stare decisis, which claims that prior court decisions must be maintained. Even if the Supreme Court were to rule differently concerning Roe v. Wade upon Coney Barrett’s appointment, all lower courts would still be required to honor previous decisions due to stare decisis. This requirement was established as a way of fostering both government stability and predictability.

It is possible, although rare, for the Supreme Court to overturn one of its own laws through a new case involving similar constitutional concerns which can instigate a review of the overturned law. This typically occurs due to either changing social or political standards (Dred Scott V. Stanford is an example of this). However, typically, Supreme Court decisions are incredibly difficult to overturn; since its establishment in 1789, only 263 rulings have been overturned.

Furthermore, on the unlikely chance that Roe v. Wade was overturned, abortion would not simply cease to exist, contrary to the narrative being pushed by the left. Instead, according to the Tenth Amendment, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” If Roe v. Wade were overturned, abortion will not be made illegal throughout the country; instead, each state would revert back to whatever abortion laws it had prior to the passing of Roe v. Wade. Additionally, many states, have passed “trigger laws” that aim to “protect abortion rights without relying on the Roe decision. Most of these policies prohibit the state from interfering with the right to obtain an abortion.” 

It is valid to argue that abortion access would look different should Roe v. Wade be overturned, however it is blatantly false to claim that the end of Roe v. Wade would equal the end of abortions. That is simply untrue. Using false information to persuade people politically is atrocious. Fear mongering is the cheapest of cheap political tactics. Claiming that the confirmation of Coney Barrett would result in its immediate overturn is ignorant and accomplishes nothing but agreement through fear. 

So, to those on social media who have been tweeting and reposting various claims concerning the relationship between Amy Coney Barrett and Roe v. Wade, I would challenge you to do some research. Before sharing posts that overtly rely on fear mongering to make their points, I challenge you to read our nation’s Constitution, to read your state’s constitution, and to understand that persuasion through fear is cruel and ineffective. Instead of relying on Twitter to supply you with your news, try reading sources from either end of the political spectrum and then developing your own opinions. 

Truth is not subjective nor should it be political. 

Amelia Underhill is a student of Politics, Philosophy, and Economics at The King’s College in New York City.

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