Among the interesting arguments in last week's 5-4 Supreme Court decision granting corporations First Amendment protections when making campaign contributions was the majority's decision to effectively treat corporations as persons.
Liberal Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus, who disagrees with the ruling, wrote, "...the majority acted as if there could be no constitutional distinction between a corporation and a human being."
The ruling came the week of the annual March for Life, which draws thousands to Washington to mark that same court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. The march has become not so much a protest as an affirmation of the value of all human life. What makes the ruling and the march ironic is that the 1973 court, in essence, downgraded a human fetus to the level of nonperson, while the modern court has invested "personhood" in corporations. Does anyone else see a contradiction or at least a moral inconsistency in these two rulings?
There is evidence that all the marches and the pro-life pregnancy centers are working. There have been roughly 50 million abortions in the United States since 1973. Opinion polls reveal a public increasingly concerned about the unrestricted disposal of human life and the potential contributions those lives could make to America and to humanity.
The shift in opinion is especially notable among the young. The Marist Institute for Public Opinion, a Catholic organization associated with the Knights of Columbus, has published a survey that shows "Millennials" -- those 18 to 29 -- are increasingly pro-life. Fifty-eight percent of them said they believed that abortion is "morally wrong." They are joined in their view by six out of 10 of those 65 and over. According to the survey, only 51 percent of Baby Boomers -- the "free love" generation -- consider abortion morally wrong.
A Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey released in October 2009 found that 45 percent of all Americans oppose abortion in most or all cases, up 4 percent from last year. David N. O'Steen, executive director of National Right to Life Committee commented, "These results are unsurprising and track with earlier polling, including Gallup, and, most recently, a poll conducted by Rasmussen indicating that the majority of Americans are opposed to funding abortions in the health care bill." Still, pro-choice Democrats have kept pushing for federal funding of abortion, which is one of several reasons the bill has stalled in Congress.