Sunday, January 22, 2006

33 Years Later ...

Are we better off?

On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court did not "legalize" abortion. This is uneducated, journalism-school-speak. In fact, approximately one-third of the states allowed abortions in circumstances other than to save the mother's life at that time.

Instead, what the Court did was to take abortion off the legislative table by declaring it a sacred constitutional right.

And the Court did this, as I was taught by a litany of liberal law professors, via an incomprehensible and poorly-written opinion. In short, Roe v. Wade created a fundamental right to an abortion until the unborn child was "viable", that is able to live outside the womb. And in the process, Roe put the law on an inevitable collision course with science, as the viability of an unborn child continues moving closer and closer to the point of conception.

The whole exercise was simply an exercise of raw judicial power, as the Court mysteriously discovered a constitutional right that had eluded judges for nearly 200 years and must have escaped the framers' attention, as well. All the states outlawed abortion at the time of the ratification of the Constitution. So, the location of the abortion "right" in 1973 was no small discovery.

But the ends or "desired result" suited the policy preferences of seven left-leaning judges. So, pro-abortion advocates turned their heads and politely nodded at achieving their desired result. And they continue to deride any lawyer or judge who publicly criticizes Roe as an extremist.

Still, those who know better know that American constitutional law received perhaps its greatest black eye 33 years ago today. So deep and pervasive is this knowledge that Roe is never defended on its merits by any one other than Democrat political activists. If you try defend Roe as a sound interpretation of constitutional law in a law school or behind closed doors with judges, people know you are not to be taken seriously.

So, American law was bastardized for the sake of social policy and experimentation 33 years ago. Was it worth it? Are we better off?

As a result, we have nationalized an issue on which people have deep convictions and disparate views in various regions of the country. In 1973, states were already working out the abortion problem and coming up with differing approaches via the great laboratory that is American federalism. No more.

Instead, we have a bitterly divided public that unwillingly focuses its attention on the abortion issue in national elections every two years. When the national government should be concerning itself with national security, taxes, immigration, and federal regulation ... cultural issues, and in particular abortion, remain paramount.

Understand that I am not advocating that we ignore the debate nationally. We can hardly do that. But the point is this: The travesty that is Roe has not only corrupted American constitutional law, but it has also corrupted American politics. Have you seen the Senate Judiciary Committee in action recently?

Are we better off?

Abortion is a hard issue. I am unapologetically pro-life, but I realize that there are a lot of people who disagree with me on the issue.

But I do think a lot of women have been taken advantage of by those advocating abortions as if they are the very essence of freedom and womanhood. Couples inexplicably wait years to adopt while young women, fearing they have no options, have abortions lest their lives as they know them are ended.

Abortion is marketed as a "quick" way out. Yet, many millions of women have found this is not so. And a culture that advances abortion as a last-chance form of birth control continues to reap the benefits of broken relationships and broken spirits.

Are we better off?

And what of the little ones who never made it here? Is there a civil libertarian in the house? Is it right to assure that a murderer is condemned only if and not until we are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt? No question. But how then can we condemn the innocent unborn without knowing? And we must admit that deciding where human life begins seems a tough line to establish beyond a reasonable doubt. Simply put, how can we give the benefit of the doubt to the accused criminal but not the innocent unborn?

Some have argued that a society is judged by how it cares for its most vulnerable. I tend to agree.

And who is more vulnerable than the innocent unborn? And if we don't give them the benefit of the doubt, are we better off?

Rather, are we better?