The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization marked a constitutional reckoning, with pervasive and inescapable consequences for many Americans. This article discusses this constitutional reckoning in two senses. First, it was a reckoning with the Court’s own precedent, as it overturned nearly fifty years of precedent on abortion rights. Second, it was a reckoning with the Court’s role in American society, as it raised fundamental questions about the Court’s legitimacy and its ability to protect the rights of minorities.

This article begins by outlining a history of abortion rights in the United States, from the early days of the republic to the present day. The Court’s landmark decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973 established a constitutional right to abortion; and while it was a controversial decision, it has been challenged ever since.

The Dobbs decision, like every other decision made by the Supreme Court, was not immune to the interpretive whims of the individuals who currently inhabit their seats of judgment and power. While the Dobbs decision may be characterized as “flawed” by some, this article seeks to examine the notion that there are no “flawed” or “unflawed” interpretations of the United States Constitution; only ones which we like, or do not like. As such, this decision will have a devastating impact on women’s rights and reproductive health for many years to come.

This article concludes by discussing the potential future landscape of abortion rights in the United States. Although the Dobbs decision was a setback for abortion rights, this is nowhere near the end of the fight, considering other available levers outside of the judiciary, including and not limited to legislative action, public education, and grassroots organizing.

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