Saturday, January 22, 2005

Roe V Wade

Today was the 32nd anniversary of Roe V Wade. For 32 years now we have been putting up with one of the worst US Supreme Court decisions ever. And to top it off, it doesn't even do what the Pro-Choicers think it does. Roe does not grant an absolute right to abortion.

1) The decision relies on a right to privacy supposedly guaranteed by the US Constitution. The word privacy doesn't even appear in the constitution. The idea of a constitutional right to privacy never even appears until a Supreme Court case in 1965. ( or in other words it was invented by the same Court that decided Roe) Roe was a bad decision built upon a bad decision.

2) The Court claimed that there is a penumbra (or shadowy outline) around the Bill of Rights that some how bestows a right to privacy. However this right seems to be very limited in scope. In fact it seems to deal almost exclusively with sexual matters. It grants rights to contraception, abortion, sodomy, homosexuality and sex toys, but apparently nothing else. As far as I can tell the right to privacy has never been cited in a case dealing with anything but sex.

3) The Founding Fathers literally spent months parsing and arguing about the exact wording of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. For instance the word "slave" never appears in the Constitution. They deliberately used the term "other peoples" so that no one could argue later that the Constitution institutionalized slavery. Surely if they intended for there to be a right to privacy they would have said so.

4) Abortion was illegal, and considered to be murder when the Constitution was written. Surely if the Founders had intended to create a right to abortion they would have done so explicitly, instead of waiting for someone nearly 200 years later to "discover" it.

5) After creating this right to privacy, the Justices immediately limit it. The decision divides pregnancy into the three trimesters. In the first trimester they said that there is an almost unlimited right to an abortion. In the second trimester they acknowledge the fact that some fetuses will be viable, and says that there are competing interests (the woman's right to privacy and the government's interest in protecting innocent life) that must be weighed. However it is clear that some limitations on the right to abortion can be made in the second trimester. In the third trimester, Roe acknowledges that the government has significant interests that might out weigh those of the mother.

6) Further decisions after Roe have expanded the right to abortion so much that the governmental interests in Roe are all but extinct. The worst of these is the "health and welfare" clause. This is used to justify all abortions, including those of nine month fetuses. Every limitation of abortion passed by a legislature, including parental notification, has been overturned based on this clause.

7) As medical science has improved, making fetuses viable earlier and earlier in pregnancy, the justifications in Roe look more and more flimsy.

8) Despite what you hear from the radical left, even when Roe is finally overturned, it will not make abortion illegal. It will simply return the issue to the States. Each State will then be allowed to make abortion legal or illegal, just like they did for almost 200 years.

One day we will wake up to the horror of what we have done. Abortion as birth control is monstrous and inhumane. Our descendents will look back at us with the same shame and condemnation that we look back with at our ancestors and their institutions of slavery and discrimination. The first step is to appoint to the Court Justices that interpret the Constitution rather than re-write it. Here's hoping that our current president does a better job of this than his father did.

1 comment:

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