Steven Aden

On Jan. 22, 1973, the Supreme Court handed down a decision in Roe v. Wade that literally wiped the abortion laws of all 50 states off the books. In one fell swoop, the court not only legalized abortion on demand, but pronounced abortion a fundamental right by saying that a so-called “right to privacy” found in the “penumbra” of the 14th Amendment extends to a woman’s decision to have an abortion. In other words, after January 1973, we not only had the constitutionally protected rights to which we’d long been accustomed – freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to keep and bear arms, the right to be secure in our “persons, houses, papers, and things,” among others – but also the newly created “right” to kill our preborn children.

There is something troublesome, to say the least, and disgusting, to put it plainly, about a so-called “right” to take innocent life on a whim. Moreover, such a “right” actually runs counter to those outlined in the Bill of Rights because those rights all have a limitation: they end where they begin to infringe upon the rights of others.

For example, my freedom of speech doesn’t allow me to yell “fire” in a crowded theater because the resulting stampede of theater-goers could endanger life. Likewise, the right to keep and bear arms does not apply to those who choose to take part in a violent crime or in heinous sexual crimes. Such crimes result in the forfeit of rights because they endanger the lives of fellow humans.

So life is always protected or advanced by the God-given rights contained within the Bill of Rights.

On its very face, abortion is about taking life, and not only life, but innocent life. Despite this fact, in 1973 the Supreme Court saw fit to include it in the same body of rights enumerated in the first ten amendments to the Constitution.

Moreover, in a statement celebrating the 39th anniversary of the ruling in Roe v. Wade, President Barack Obama said:

As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters.

Steven Aden

Steven H. Aden is senior counsel and director of life alliances for Alliance Defending Freedom.