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Editor’s note: The following is adapted from Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee’s new book SAVING NINE: The Fight Against the Left’s Audacious Plan to Pack the Supreme Court and Destroy American Liberty, published by Center Street.
Roe v. Wade was decided when I was only 17 months old. I’ve known what it meant for most of my life. When I was about 10, my dad sat me down and explained the decision to me. I reacted by telling him that it seemed doubly problematic, because abortion policy should be a matter of state law rather than federal, to be decided by legislatures rather than judges. My dad was a genuinely happy person — one with a wide range of interests and boundless intellectual curiosity — but he seemed especially delighted by that answer.
Living with bad precedent like Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey — which essentially upheld Roe’s central holding — for so long has been discouraging, and at times the idea of it ever being overturned has seemed quite distant. It’s especially frustrating because if 10-year-old me could see that the Roe decision had shaky legal grounding, surely lots of other people