Archived Opinion

If Roe v. Wade goes, then what is next

If Roe v. Wade goes, then what is next

Using Samuel Alito’s logic in proposing to strike down the “right” to an abortion, other rights that you take for granted could also be eliminated. The argument is that if something is not mentioned in the Constitution, that “right” is based only on the majority opinion of the Supreme Court. Thus, if the Roe vs. Wade decision was wrong, the current court could reverse that decision.

This opens to door to removing other presumed rights. For example, the Constitution does not give you the right to own an AR-15. The Second Amendment only gives you the right to “keep and bear arms” and says nothing about private ownership. The Swiss government used to require all men of a certain age to keep their military weapon at home while not on deployment or in training. The Constitution’s language does not say it allows for private ownership — just to keep and bear arms for a “well regulated militia.” The only thing that allows you to own firearms is the interpretation by the Supreme Court, which we now see can change.

How about your right to privacy? The Fourth Amendment only protects you from “unreasonable searches and seizures” but says nothing about privacy. A state could sue to make all medical, educational, and employment records public. If the Supreme Court agrees that the Constitution does not address these, it could rule that all records can be made public.

How about the right to travel between states? There is nothing in the Constitution that gives you that right. Thus, if a state wants to restrict entry or charge you $100 to enter the state, the Supreme Court could use the logic applied to Roe vs. Wade to allow a state to do that.

More likely the so-called conservatives who brought the lawsuit on Roe vs. Wade will go after your right to enter a mixed-race marriage or marriage for same sex couples. The right to use contraception services and products would also be subject to the whim of five justices. The Constitution does not address these “rights” any more than it addresses Roe vs. Wade.

Let your imagination run free to think of all the “rights” you think you have that are not explicitly covered by the Constitution or its amendments. Public education, libraries, and healthcare are among the things not mentioned in the Constitution and would be fair game for revocation or elimination.

Related Items

The other part of the argument against abortion rights is that until 1973 there was no support for a constitutional right for access to an abortion. That logic might mean that women will again need to get a man’s permission to get a credit card, which was the case before 1973. Not allowed until after 1973 was the protection for a woman not to get fired if she got pregnant or to sue for sexual harassment in the workplace. All rights that women and men have won since the founding of the country would be subject to cancelation.

Apparently, Alito thinks that anything after the 1600s does not qualify as being “deeply rooted in the nation’s history and traditions” as he quotes a British jurist who executed witches and advocated for executing children as young as 14. That same jurist considered women to be the property of either their father or husband. Women who were independent of a man (e.g., widows) were considered with suspicion and occasionally accused and prosecuted for practicing witchcraft.

The Roe vs. Wade decision is based, in part, on the fact that in the first trimester the fetus is essentially an extension of the woman’s body and upon which it is dependent for its existence. The Alito position makes the woman subservient to the fetus based on a religious position, not facts based on biology. If this religious position dictates judicial decisions, other religious positions could be imposed on all citizens. The Supreme Court’s conservative majority seems intent on exercising its activist agenda to take the country back to a darker place.

(Dr. Norm Hoffman is a semi-retired clinical psychologist living in Waynesville. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.