On January 22, 1973, seven robed men in Washington, D. C. decreed that abortion on demand is the new law of the land in these United States. With the bang of a gavel, they nullified virtually any state law at the time restricting abortion.
The high court decided Roe v. Wade without public debate, without the people's representatives getting to weigh in. And here we are, forty years later, still arguing about it. We live in what Dr. Richard Land calls “the Divided States of America.” Abortion is one of the most divisive issues.
Associate Justice Byron White, appointed by John F. Kennedy, called this an act of “raw judicial power.” He could not and did not agree with Roe v. Wade and became one of only two dissenters. The other was William Rehnquist, who went on to serve as chief justice.
Some lawyers agreed with the effect of the Roe decision (abortion on demand), but thought the case itself was poorly decided. Associate Justice Harry Blackmun, appointed by Richard Nixon, wrote the majority opinion.
According to Randall V. Hekman, author and former judge in Michigan, “Some of the clerks that worked for the justices referred to the draft of Justice Blackmun’s opinion as ‘Harry’s abortion.’ It was that bad. It was absurd and some referred to it as embarrassing and dishonest.”
If you take the time to read Roe, you see that a great energy is spent to break up a pregnancy into three trimesters and to underscore the point that this only applies to abortion in the first trimester. However, decided on the very same day was Doe v. Bolton, which allowed for second and third trimester abortions. So we’ve had abortion on demand as the law for forty years.
And now more than fifty-five million unborn babies have been killed, and millions of “post-abortive” women suffer with regret for a decision they felt deceived or forced into.
By now, it’s well-documented that the Roe of Roe v. Wade (Norma McCorvey) and the Doe of Doe v. Bolton (Sandra Cano) are thoroughly pro-life and opposed to what’s been done in their names. In the case of Roe, she favored abortion then, but does not now because she had a come-to-Jesus moment. She admits now that Roe was built on a lie that she was pregnant because she had been raped; that was not true. In the case of Doe, she never favored abortion and felt that her signature was fraudulently used to promote what she didn’t believe in.
So here we are, living with the consequences of a Supreme Court decision that continues to divide us, and it was built on a foundation of sand---on out and out lies.
People seem to forget that if the Supreme Court at some future point were to overturn Roe, that would not mean abortion would be suddenly illegal all over the country. It would depend on the state laws. It simply would take the decision out of the hands of unelected judges and into the hands of the people’s representatives. Agree or disagree, at least “we the people” could decide.
An interesting fact of the Roe v. Wade decision is that it purports to be based on the Constitution. What provisions of the constitution were cited to make the case? Where do we find the right for a woman to “terminate a pregnancy”? Where do we find the “right to privacy”? We don’t.
Here are the two portions of the constitution that are cited as the “constitutional basis” for Roe v. Wade:
•Amendment #9: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
•Amendment #14: “SECTION 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
OK. So where exactly is the provision in the constitution that gives them the right to kill the unborn? Michael Farris is a constitutional attorney, home-school specialist, author, and key leader at Patrick Henry College. He has this to say about the “constitutional” basis of decisions like Roe v. Wade: “They’re just making this stuff up. Show me the amendment. Show me the language. Show me the textual provision, and then maybe I’ll agree with you. But until then, it’s just thin air. It’s smoke and mirrors. It’s a shell game with our Constitution.”
Roe is the quintessential example of judicial activism. Those who approve of it because they like the outcome should recall that at one time an activist Supreme Court declared that slaves (even ex-slaves) had no constitutional rights. That was in 1857 in the Dred Scott decision.
Only a civil war could undo the damage of that terrible court decision.
When Ronald Reagan was asked why he wasn’t pro-choice, he quipped, “Well, I happen to notice that everyone who is pro-choice has already been born.”
I’ll never forget a massive pro-life rally in Washington, D.C. many years ago, where a young man held high a handmade poster proclaiming: “Former Fetuses, Unite!” It may seem comical, but it is obviously true: we’re all former fetuses. Isn’t it time we unite to protect the most vulnerable amongst us?