On Sunday’s edition of “American Voices With Alicia Menendez” on MSNBC, host Alicia Menendez discussed the Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. As Townhall covered, the Court heard oral arguments for Dobbs on Wednesday, which surrounds the constitutionality of a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi.
In the segment, two guests were invited to speak about Dobbs and the implications of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) overturning landmark case Roe v. Wade, which, in 1973, gave American women the right to abortion. As I covered, Dobbs is the first case in decades with the potential to overturn Roe.
Menendez’s first guest, New York University law professor Melissa Murray, claimed that she is concerned that SCOTUS is “treating the fetus as a person for purposes of constitutional law” and that a “personhood amendment” could criminalize abortion outright. As Katie reported, Justice Clarence Thomas questioned the constitutionality of abortion during the Dobbs arguments.
"Brett Kavanaugh was the Justice that seemed to be most enamored by this idea of returning [abortion] to the political process, and specifically, putting it in the hands of the state,” Murray said. “In that oral argument on Wednesday, Justice Clarence Thomas seemed to be signaling some concerns that we ought to be treating the fetus as a person for purposes of constitutional law, and that signals that once this is returned to the states, we might see some more agitation for creating a personhood amendment that would recognize the fetus as a person for purposes of constitutional law. And once that happens, then it doesn’t matter what occurs on the state level. It doesn’t matter if California permits abortion. If the fetus is considered a person like the woman is considered a person for purposes of constitutional law, you can criminalize abortion outright.”
The second guest, social justice activist and MSNBC contributor Brittany Packnett Cunningham, claimed that the “roots of the pro-life movement” are “about preserving segregation and building a white supremacist religious right,” citing a 2014 Politico article that claimed segregationists post-Roe spearheaded the pro-life movement.
“When they [segregationists] got together and had to figure out how to maintain their political power, they figured that they needed to find a new issue. And six years, six years, after Roe became the law of the land, they [segregationists] decided that abortion rights would be the thing that they would go and attack,” Cunningham stated in the segment. “They [segregationists] were able to build a new religious coalition that is largely white and that again was ceded from people who were focused on keeping the country, the south, in particular, as segregated as possible. So, there’s no way to disentangle both these priorities for a certain group of people.”
Cunningham continued, saying that if the GOP were about “pro-life principles,” they would be supporters of “robust” sex education and access to contraceptives to reduce teen pregnancies. This, as well as working toward paid family leave and reducing maternal mortality, specifically making sure that “there were not a disproportionate amount of black maternal deaths and infant mortality.”
“This has not and has never been about pro-life principles,” Cunningham concluded. “This has always been about creating, maintaining, and coalescing power.”
Since Wednesday, as I covered, pro-abortion leftists have reacted to reports indicating that the conservative-majority Supreme Court appears open to upholding Mississippi’s law and possibly overturning Roe, claiming that abortion bans are “discriminatory,” “racist,” and “unconstitutional.”
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