Roe V Wade Revisited

Posted: Jun 19, 2002 12:00 AM
Backed by a Republican controlled House of Representatives and the president, right-to-life advocates are gaining ground. Exhibit A: Legislators in several states are attempting to make it a crime to harm an unborn baby during an attack on a pregnant woman. That bill adds momentum to a recent decision by The House of Representatives to restrict the ease with which teen-agers may get an abortion. Additionally, in January, President Bush used the 29th anniversary of Roe V Wade as occasion to publicly denounce partial-birth abortions as a violation of "the right to life itself." (By only a 5-4 margin, the Supreme Court recently struck down a ban on the procedure.) Abortion advocates have responded by asserting their Supreme Court given right to murder unborn babies. Of course the baby murderers have a point, they simply miss it. The Roe V Wade decision that originally gave women the right to an abortion has little basis in the Constitution. In fact, most legal scholars agree that the Court, under Chief Justice Warren Burger, twisted the due process clause, which deals chiefly with the reasonableness of federal law and the right to a fair trial, to manufacture the right to an abortion. Abortion advocates tend to give the Burger Court a pass on that bit of social engineering because they feel that granting the right to an abortion was the moral thing to do. Philosophically, they are inclined to Martin Luther King Jr.'s celebrated view: "When a law is immoral, one is obligated to break it." And indeed, morality is what give the law meaning. Ah, but whose morality should the law embrace? Since America has no national religion, the founding fathers wisely decided that the nation's laws ought to be left to legislators who are directly accountable to the populace. Likely, their fear of national power prevented the founding fathers from giving judges, who were not democratically elected, the power to create law. This essential balance of power was betrayed when the Burger Court used the most flimsy constitutional pretext to make abortion legal. On that day, there was a silent coup in this country. The Supreme Court usurped our democracy by extending their mandated powers to create, from thin air, constitutional meanings that our founding fathers had never dreamt of. Nearly three decades later, we have a prime opportunity to reconsider the legality of Roe V Wade. Presently, President Bush has nearly 100 federal judgeships to fill, a total of one-eighth of all federal judges. The decisions these judges make could impact on the abortion debate by pushing new case law through the lower courts, setting the stage for the Supreme Court to reconsider the legality of Roe V Wade. Even more important, two of the Supreme Court's abortion rights supporters - Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and John Paul Steven - appear to be edging ever closer to retirement. President Bush has consistently said that he favors Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas and he would like to appoint justices with similar leanings. Read that as justices who would restrict national power and be more inclined to leave abortion law to the state governments. Accomplish this and we may achieve - dare we dream - an abortion ruling that adheres to the words of the Constitution.