Blackmun Papers: Roe Nearly Overturned in 1992

Justice Blackmun

Pro-Abort Justice Harry Blackmun

The recently released private court records of Roe v. Wade architect Justice Harry Blackman tell the story of how close the 1973 landmark came to being overturned in 1992. The records are accompanied by an oral history recorded by Blackmun, and show that Roe’s overtun was imminent until Justice Anthony Kennedy changed his mind and voted to uphold Roe in the notorious Casey v. Planned Parenthood decision.

Justice Kennedy

Justice Anthony Kennedy

Blackmun’s commentary reveals that Kennedy, a Catholic, originally voted to support the Pennsylvania abortion restrictions challenged in the case, but changed his vote after vigorous lobbying by Blackmun. It’s unclear why Kennedy changed his mind.

“It is heart-wrenching for pro-lifers to consider that Roe was nearly overturned over a decade ago,” commented Pro-Life Action League Communications Director Eric Scheidler, “but maybe God doesn’t intend for our victory over abortion to come through the courts. We have to work all the harder to change American hearts before expecting any change in American laws.”

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