The Dobbs Judgment Shows Joe Manchin’s Confused Ambition

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Sen. Joe Manchin, the ostensibly pro-life Democrat from West Virginia, released a statement in which he said the following: “I am very saddened that the Supreme Court decided to overturn Roe v. Wade.”

The following remark is illogical and gets everything twisted compared to what a moderate should say about the abortion problem.

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Pro-Life?

Those who advocate for the legalization of abortion, like the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, do readily concede the Roe v. Wade decision was a terrible one.

That’s despite the fact they favor the case’s conclusion and would have preferred to see it attained by less ludicrous methods.

It is consistent with remarking, “I support abortion rights, yet oppose Roe v. Wade.” Though saying “I’m against abortion, but for Roe” is so ridiculous it smells like a political trick.

Is it conceivable that Manchin is making statements of this nature because he is anxious about a possible primary challenge in 2024? There is no other explanation that comes to mind for why he would adopt such a stance.

Roe, according to Manchin, had been the rule of the country for almost 50 years and was regarded as an established precedent.

He then agreed with the Democratic idea that some judges lied about what they were trying to do with Roe, saying, “I am worried they chose to ignore the stability that decision has given to two generations of Americans.”

As a Catholic, Manchin was “raised pro-life” and remains so.

However, it is now accepted that other people may not have the same understanding of what it means to be pro-life. Exceptions should be made for rape, incest, and the mother’s life.

Manchin said he would back legislation that “codifies the rights” Roe v. Wade previously guaranteed. Let’s hope Democrats and Republicans will join together to achieve precisely that.

First, Justices Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett’s acknowledgement that Roe was an “established legal precedent” when they were confirmed never constituted support of the judgment, let alone a vow to preserve it.

Some past decisions were wrong and they need to be overturned. If they weren’t, we’d still be stuck with Plessy v. Ferguson.

Exceptions and Bipartisan Bill

Manchin’s exclusions “in cases of rape, incest, and when the mother’s life is at risk” have nothing to do with Roe or Dobbs.


Many of the abortion restrictions that Roe swept off the books or maintained off the books had these exceptions. If that’s the reason for Manchin’s “disappointment,” it’s misguided.

It’s unclear what Manchin means by passing a bipartisan measure formalizing Roe or how a pro-lifer could support it. Democrats recently sponsored a plan to invalidate all state abortion bans, arguing it would codify Roe.

However, these laws coexisted with Roe. It is unclear how many Republicans would choose to re-nationalize abortion at this time or how it fits into Manchin’s definition of “pro-life.”

Maybe Manchin fears his pro-life position threatens his career among party activists and Democratic voters. That could be the only reason for his reaction to the ruling.