Inside ‘Dobbs’ decision

Johns Hopkins University

The long-awaited U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization landed Friday afternoon, undoing 50 years of abortion rights in the United States.

“The opinion was stunning in its outcome and in the enormity of the implications entailed by the removal of a constitutionally protected right,” says Joanne Rosen, a health law and policy expert and senior lecturer at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Specializing in the impact of law and policy on sexual and reproductive health, Rosen has been closely monitoring the Dobbs case for months. She spoke with the Hub last month after a draft of the Dobbs decision was leaked to Politico.

“The draft opinion neglects any meaningful recognition of the women who face unwanted pregnancies, and focuses almost entirely on the state’s interest in the fetus,” Rosen said at the time. “Dobbs, as it’s written now, is devoid of nuance. It appears to look only at one life that’s in the balance, ignoring the fact that there are two.”

The Hub reached out again to Rosen for her legal analysis of the final Dobbs decision, as well as the concurring and dissenting opinions that were filed alongside it. She says the ramifications of the case will be felt for years to come.

“What is extraordinary in this case is that, perhaps for the first time, the Supreme Court departed from precedent not to recognize a right it previously neglected but rather to remove one it previously protected. It deconstitutionalized a long-standing right. This is an astonishing moment and an astonishing use of the court’s authority.”

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