Skip to comments.Forty Years After Roe, Human Dignity Hangs in the Balance
Posted on 01/19/2013 10:55:14 AM PST by rhema
After addressing a large secular assembly on issues of moral controversy, I turned and faced a woman who urgently wanted to ask me a question: Why wont the abortion issue just go away?
I knew exactly what she was asking. I often meet abortion rights advocates who honestly thought that the national controversy over abortion would simply melt away within a few years of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973.
That was clearly the hope of the Supreme Court majority that signed onto the opinion written by Associate Justice Harry Blackmun. In a note he wrote to himself as he drafted the final opinion and looked to its aftermath, Blackmun revealed a rather optimistic assumption: It will be an unsettled period for a while.
Surely, he didnt mean for that while to extend four decades.
Next Tuesday will mark the 40th anniversary of the decision, and the abortion question is anything but settled. Just look at the crowds gathering in Washington next week for the annual March for Life.
In fact, America has been unsettled ever since Roe. Abortion has become a central issue of political conflict, debate and division. If the court had hoped to calm the waters, it failed spectacularly.
As Guido Calabresi, then dean of the Yale Law School, observed, the aftermath of Roe v. Wade produced a sense of desperate embattlement. As Calabresi noted, the courts decision failed to produce a national consensus. Rather, Roe made it impossible for the opposing views to live with each other.
Those who thought that the decision of the Supreme Court would settle the issue had reason for that hope. On other controversial questions, the courts rulings had produced initial furor and outrage, but the nation rather quickly accommodated itself to those decisions. Take integration in public schools.
Not so with abortion.
Why? Professor Lawrence H. Tribe of the Harvard Law School, an ardent defender of abortion rights, recognized that the abortion question presents nothing less than a clash of absolutes.
Tribe attempted to propose a means of avoiding pitting these absolutes against one another. All such efforts have failed, precisely because the competing claims are indeed absolutes.
When abortion-rights advocates ask why the abortion issue will not just go away, they really mean to ask why, given the stark reality of Roe, the pro-life movement has not dissipated and retreated into the history books.
Here are five reasons why:
First, the radical character of Roe overthrowing abortion laws in 49 states galvanized pro-life forces. The judicial imposition of abortion on demand, virtually without restriction until the third trimester, produced both shock and outrage among those who believe that the unborn child has an inalienable right to life.
Within months of Roe, an organized pro-life movement came into shape, looking for any means of limiting and eventually ending the termination of unborn life.
Second, Roe also had the effect, surely unforeseen by the Supreme Court, of bringing millions of evangelical Christians into the fight on behalf of the unborn. Prior to Roe, even many evangelicals believed that abortion was a Roman Catholic issue.
Roe was a legal earthquake that awakened a massive number of evangelicals to the deadly reality of abortion. With remarkable speed, evangelicals soon educated themselves on the issue and then mobilized themselves both politically and culturally.
Third, the death spiral of abortion simply defies adequate calculation. Over a million abortions are performed in America each year. Reports last year indicated that over 40% of all pregnancies in New York end in abortion, a rate that increases to almost 60% of pregnancies among African-American women.
The sheer scale of the death toll sears the pro-life conscience. Young people can now see that millions are missing from their own generation.
Fourth, abortion has proved to be exactly what pro-life activists warned it would be: a deadly threat to human dignity that would target specific populations. Prenatal testing has produced a deadly reality for unborn babies considered less than acceptable by their parents.
The vast majority (90%) of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome are now aborted. Sex-selection abortions are legal in the wide-open right to abortion declared by the court. Prenatal testing of other characteristics means that parents can now abort a baby that does not meet their specifications and try again.
Fifth, powerful imaging technologies now allow a look inside the womb, a privilege unknown to previous generations. That window has transformed the equation, as millions of parents have seen their unborn children and witnessed the miracle of life.
They have seen the little human form and the actions of the unborn child, sucking its thumb as it nestles within its mother. Millions of siblings have seen the images of their unborn brothers and sisters taped to the refrigerator door.
Those of us who believe that every single unborn child has a right to be born cannot resign from the effort to protect those lives.
The greatest advances made by the pro-life movement have been made among the young, the generation that has known the death toll from Roe v. Wade all their lives. More evidence that the abortion issue will not simply go away.
Nevertheless, Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land and abortion on demand remains a constant. Since Roe more than 55 million unborn Americans have been aborted, and the nation is more concerned about economics than the sanctity of human life. We have much ground to recover, but the only foundation for a recovery of human dignity is an affirmation of the fact that every single human being is made in Gods image and is of sacred worth from the moment of fertilization until natural death.
Until that truth is affirmed, we will see abortion remain the law of the land and human dignity will hang in the balance.
Unfortunately, I think abortion is likely to stay legal in the United States but those who are opposed should never give up the debate on matter of principle. The pro-life movement can still engage in efforts particularly at the state level to make sure abortion is as restrictive as possible in order to save as many lives as possible.
We live in a world in which the wicked co-exists with the sacred — it’s the nature of our immmediate world — and only in the afterworld do I believe that it’s possible that everyone will finally see how precious each and every life is.
The thing that makes me sad is when some people on the left treat abortion with such callous and cynical disregard as if it’s little more than having a wart removed. If people would only stop and think and consider how perfect and precious that developing baby conceived within them really is. I’m often reminded of Christ saying “Forgive them Father for they do not know what they do.”
When the Bamster made his first national appearances, I decided to find out as much as I could about him. When I hit his votes against the Illinois BAIPA Bill, I knew what we have all found out. There is a really special place in He** for those who willingly leave a live human being alone until he/she dies. I have never been so appalled in my life upon finding out the fact he voted against that Bill. No conscience at all, like many Leftists.
Abortion is not the problem, it is the symptom.
The problem is the lack of respect for the sanctity of life.
I agree that legalized abortion-on-demand will always remain legal in this country; the forces of evil have successfully sold it not just as catch-all birth control, but to older people for whom it is irrelevant it has been successfully packaged as a solution to our permanent black underclass.
One thing I expect going forward (and this has started in some areas) is that a decreasing number of people in successive generations will avail themselves of abortion; not only are some young atheist American females against it (for their own secular moral reasons), but children are again being viewed in some circles, where a birth dearth has already had visible effects, as the prized gifts that they are. Immigration will play a large role in this shift as well; the Earth is being inherited by those who don’t murder their babies. Americans can either breed successive generations, or subsidize the importing of those who will.
Disposing of leftists would resolve many pressing questions in our society ~ which is something those pukes ought to start thinking about.
Before the '08 election, I noticed that some people I spoke with treated this as just another fact, like his position on renewable energy.
I crossed these people off my list for good, if you know what I mean.
“a decreasing number of people in successive generations will avail themselves of abortion”
I think you’re right . . . even for those who just “objectively” look at the issue “scientifically” or “medically” the evidence is pretty compelling against abortion and in favor of life . . . that’s one reason I am in favor of requiring a sonogram be performed for every woman who is considering an abortion just so she can see that human form so full of life.
Why won’t it go away. Because right thinking people realize that abortion is murder.
In 40 years this same question will be asked about Homosexual marriage, and the answer is similar, Because homosexuality is a sickness. Right thinking people will not accept it.
Beyond the fact that even pro-abortion forces acknowledge it IS life (they conceded that years ago, and switched the argument to “the right to life of the child doesn’t trump the rights of the mother”), more of the children in successive generations will probably be raised in pro-life homes (due to the fact that some of their counterparts will be butchered).
Roe V. Wade coverage from Jan. 22, 1973 CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite:
Roe V. Wade coverage from ABC in 1973:
NBC news coverage, LBJ died the same day as the Roe Vs. Wade decision:
Abortion Debate: Attorneys Present Roe v. Wade Supreme Court
“... the nation is more concerned about economics than the sanctity of human life.”
With 55 million citizens having been murdered in the womb, the nation is missing this huge cohort of taxpayers. A dwindling number of workers will be forced to support the hordes of old Baby Boomers soon to swamp our nation.
Then the generational chickens will come home to roost. Useless, expensive elderly will be eliminated for convenience, just as the babies were all these years. Justice would be served if every supporter of the death of the young would be terminated “for the common good.”
The problem is the lack of respect for the sanctity of life.
On the positive side Neil (pro)Boortz goes off the air permanently tomorrow!
There will probably be around one-half million people at the pro-life march this Friday, but we can expect another MSM blackout.
It’s disappointing that we don’t even hear most of our conservative talk show hosts mentioning it. I’ll be listening to the speakers on EWTN shortwave radio.
MSM and FOX News too. They have never been there.