In a brief filed Tuesday, the governors called the landmark abortion rights decision a “misadventure” and a “mistake.”
Twelve Republican governors, including Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, called on the US Supreme Court Thursday to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that protects a woman’s right to have an abortion without excessive government interference.
As part of an upcoming case that will decide whether states should have the right to decide whether abortion should be legal, the governors signed onto a brief that said the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution does not cover the right to terminate the life of an unborn child.
Under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the government can’t deprive a person of “life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” In 1973, the Supreme Court issued a 7–2 decision saying the Due Process Clause also provided a “right to privacy” that protected the right of pregnant women to have an abortion.
A Two-Pronged Attack
In their brief to the Supreme Court, the Republican governors described Roe v. Wade and another landmark Supreme Court abortion decision, Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania v. Casey, as “misadventures.”
“The Court should take this opportunity to correct the mistakes in its abortion jurisprudence and recognize that the text and original understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment have nothing to do with abortion,” the governors argued.
Ducey signed the brief along with governors from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas.
In a separate brief filed Thursday, 228 Republican members of Congress, including Arizona Reps. Andy Biggs, Debbie Lesko and Paul Gosar, also called on the Supreme Court to “release its vise grip on abortion politics.”
The push by Republican lawmakers to overturn Roe v. Wade comes as the Supreme Court holds a 6-3 conservative majority. Three of the justices were appointed by former President Donald Trump, including Amy Coney Barrett, who was confirmed to the seat in October of last year after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away the month before.
Saying ‘The Quiet Part Out Loud’
Pro-choice advocacy organizations have said that the reversal of Roe v. Wade could establish a legal path for states to implement abortion bans that were in place prior to 1973.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, the advocacy arm of the organization in Arizona, criticized Ducey in a statement Thursday for wanting to deny “essential health care” to the state’s residents instead of focusing on the rise of COVID-19 case numbers amid the spread of the Delta variant.
“Governor Ducey just said the quiet part out loud,” they wrote in their statement. “This is not what Arizonans want—a majority of whom support safe, legal abortion. Ducey needs to stop playing politics and start doing what is right for Arizona.”
In the brief, lawyers for South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster wrote that the governors who signed onto the brief support pro-life legislation and have taken “oaths” to fight for states’ rights when it comes to abortion.
“Like Governor McMaster, they have a strong interest in seeing the Constitution faithfully interpreted and the proper roles of the Federal Government and the States upheld,” the brief read.
Gov. Ducey has historically been firmly pro-life, but has also supported exceptions for abortion when it comes to the life of the mother, rape, and incest, according to The Arizona Republic.
In a statement following his signing of the brief, Ducey said it was time for the Supreme Court to “fix their mistake” and return authority over abortions to individual states.
“Every single life has immeasurable value,” he wrote. “That includes children who are preborn—and I believe it’s each state’s responsibility to protect them.”