Recently, a draft opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court indicated that Roe v. Wade, the ruling that allowed for legal abortion in all 50 states, may be overturned and sent back to the states for their individual legal judgment. This is good news in the sense that some lives would be saved in those states that would prohibit abortion. But it is not a satisfying opinion in that the unborn would remain unprotected in many states.
The preliminary leaked opinion of the Supreme Court on Roe v. Wade is unjust: The right to determine the legality of abortion should not be determined by individual states any more than the legality of slavery should have been determined by individual states. A clause in the Fifth Amendment reads: “No person shall… be deprived of life… without due process of the law.” And a clause in the Fourteenth Amendment reads: “…nor shall any State deprive any person of life… without due process of law.”
The unborn child who is aborted is an innocent human person deprived of life without due process.
The Supreme Court, in its 1973 Roe decision, avoided the question of whether the unborn child was a human person. Instead, Justice Blackmun wrote: “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins…” No matter that in 1933, Dr. Alan Guttmacher, an obstetrician/gynecologist, who later became president of Planned Parenthood, wrote: “…man… starts life as an embryo… the embryo is formed from the fusion of two single cells, the ovum and the sperm. This all seems so simple that it is difficult to picture a time when it was not part of common knowledge.”1 No matter that an editorial in the September 1970 issue of California Medicine noted
“a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception… considerable semantic gymnastics… are required to rationalize abortion as anything but taking a human life...”2
In his Roe opinion, Justice Blackmun noted a potential flaw in his judgment: “The appellee and certain amici argue that the fetus is a ‘person’ within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well known facts of fetal development. If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment.”
The unborn child is a human person from the moment of conception. His or her right to life is "guaranteed specifically" by the 14th Amendment and should be protected under Federal law.
No matter how the Supreme Court rules, a statement by the late law professor Dr. Charles Rice, made in his book Contraception and Persecution comes to mind: “No charter of government can survive the erosion of the culture that gave it birth…”(p.54) Dr. Rice attributes much of this “erosion of the culture” to the acceptance of contraception. He says that the contracepting couple is, in effect, saying “For all we know, God, it may be your will that from this act of ours a new person will come into existence who will live forever… and we won’t let you do it.” (p.70) He goes on to say, “That displacement of the Divine Law as a normative measure of conduct affected every moral issue and invited the State to fill the vacuum by establishing its will as the criterion of morality as well as law.” (p. 88)
Since the State now claims the moral authority that the Catholic Church claims for itself, as passed down to it by Jesus Himself, the State will seek to compel the Church, and all Catholics specifically, and non-Catholics to abide by its rulings. This can be seen for example, by the attempt to make the Little Sisters of the Poor include, (surprise!) contraceptives in their insurance coverage.
Our duty is to fight for the unborn, for the principle that human law can never tolerate the intentional killing of innocent human beings. We must work to reconvert our nation to faith in God and total respect for His law. Who doesn’t enjoy bringing good news to others? The Gospel is the ultimate Good News. Let us cheerfully share it with others, knowing that as surely as Jesus rose from the dead, we are on the winning side. Our hope is that this station helps each of us become cheerful soldiers of Christ.
Please continue to support your station through your prayers, by telling others, by offering to place program guides in our parish’s information rack, by offering to volunteer (we especially need those with computer and film/editing skills) and a financial contribution if possible.
+In Hoc Signo Vinces “In this sign thou shalt conquer.”
1. This quote is from the book Blessed are the Barren: The Social Policy of Planned Parenthood by Robert Marshall and Charles Donovan, pages 294-5. Their reference for the quote is Alan F. Guttmacher, Life in the Making: The Story of Human Procreation (New York:Viking Press, 1933) p.3
2. “A New Ethic for Medicine and Society.” CALIFORNIA MEDICINE, September, 1970.