Roe v. Wade was (and is) a deeply flawed ruling because it is predicated upon the notion that man can grant rights to man not granted to him by God. The distinction between the first, second, and third trimesters was not based upon any long-standing legal doctrine. Nor was it based upon solid and reliable medical evidence. It was simply based upon identity politics.
Harry Blackmun, author of the majority opinion in Roe, once said “I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.” That was from his opinion in a death penalty case. But Blackmun also said that our “Constitution compels abortion on demand.” That basic human rights should be assigned in such an arbitrary manner does lend credence to Blackmun’s characterizations – made in a different context - of the Justices as “eccentrics” and “prima donnas.”
The authors of our Declaration of Independence - as well as the Framers of our Constitution – had a very different view of the origin and assignment of basic human rights. Lest we forget: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights - that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness - To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …”
Medical technology has come a long way since 1973. It has told us what we knew in our hearts all along; namely, that abortion, regardless of the trimester in which it is performed, constitutes a deprivation of life initiated by our Creator.
Ultrasound technology allows us a better view of the target of the procedure known as abortion. It takes little intelligence to understand that something that is moving (and growing) is indeed alive. Technology also shows us that a new heart is beating within a month of conception. Surgical abortions are not even performed until 6 to 7 weeks into the pregnancy.
This issue is important as the conservative movement seeks in future elections to make inroads among blacks, Hispanics, and younger voters. It is important because all three of these groups have something in common: They are clearly pro-life on the issue of abortion.
Younger voters are moving in the direction of life simply because they are the first generation to grow up with basic access to and familiarity with ultrasound technology. With the help of this younger generation, which now responds to opinion polls, the country passed the 50% mark in opposition to abortion just two years ago.
So it would be politically disastrous for the conservative movement to compromise on abortion. We are in the enviable position of being out in front on an issue that is consistent with both our political goals and our deeply held principles. Leave it to the opposition to argue that men have endowed us with an unalienable right to stop a beating heart.