The “Dred Scott argument” for Abortion

mother_and_child     Anyone who has been part of the pro-life movement for any length of time knows that there are certain arguments that the abortion industry and its allies make reflexively.  Perhaps they believe that if they continue repeating these poor arguments, their case will magically improve.

One such argument is the idea that Roe v. Wade is “settled law” and pesky pro-lifers should stop trying to rehash an issue that the Supreme Court has already ruled on.  I like to call this the “Dred Scott argument”, which is why I thought it would be an interesting one to explore during Black history month.

In Dred Scott v. Sanford, Scott was an enslaved Black man who sued for his freedom.  Sadly, in what many constitutional scholars now consider one of the worst Supreme Court decisions ever, the Justices ruled that neither Scott, nor anyone else of African heritage, could claim US citizenship, thus allowing the tragic practice of slavery to continue.

What does this have to do with Roe v. Wade and abortion in America?  As in the Dred Scott case, a terrible mistake was made in the Roe v. Wade decision.  In Dred Scott, the Justices determined one person was not as important as others simply because of his race…in Roe v. Wade, five Supreme Court Justices found a “right to privacy” in the U.S. Constitution that had never been there before, and used that newfound “right” to justify the killing of almost 60 million people and counting.

Many people did not agree with the Dred Scott decision. Should they have all just given up and gone home to allow the injustice of slavery to continue?  Of course not.  They doubled down on their efforts to have everyone, no matter what race or ethnicity, recognized as equal…and eventually succeeded in getting the 13th amendment passed and slavery abolished.  The same principle applies to pro-life advocates.  Just because the Constitution was misinterpreted doesn’t mean we pack our bags and go home…it means we continue to fight to end the injustice of abortion so that one day Roe v. Wade will fall into the ash heaps of history—where it truly belongs.

Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court recently heard arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.  In the first major abortion case in nearly a decade, the court will rule on the constitutionality of Texas law HB2 and determine whether commonsense reform intended to increase women’s health and safety is an undue burden on abortion facilities.  These Texas regulations came out of the trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell and his “house of horrors”.  They simply require abortion facilities to have admitting privileges with a hospital within 30 miles and to meet some basic quality of care, facility cleanliness, and safety standards.

The real question is, if the big abortion lobby want abortions to be “safe” as they claim (never mind the fact an abortion is NEVER safe for the baby) why do they support clinics like Gosnell’s “house of horrors”.  According to a University of California study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology last year, complications to the mother are reported in approximately 2.1 % of the abortions that occur in the United States.  That’s despite the fact that only 27 of the 50 states require abortion facilities to report complications…and even in many of those states the reporting is lacking.  So even if we assume those numbers are correct, that means of the approximately 90 abortions that are performed just in Pennsylvania today, 2 women will have some kind of complication (not to mention all the others scarred for life mentally).  Clearly that number will only go up if states aren’t allowed to hold abortion facilities to the same standards as nail salons and tattoo parlors.  Is that really what abortion advocates want?

The question to be decided by the Supreme Court is whether or not these regulations create an “undue burden” on abortion facilities. The good news is that the Supreme Court upheld stricter requirements in 1983 saying they were important to “ensuring public health”.  Even more recently in Planned Parenthood v Casey in 1992 the court determined laws making abortion more difficult or more expensive do not necessarily create an undue burden.

With the passing of Justice Scalia, the court is currently split between 4 conservative justices and 4 liberal justices.  Justice Anthony Kennedy is generally the swing vote on abortion cases, and during arguments he appeared to be open to allowing the regulations to stand in the interest of women’s health.  It is vital we keep Justice Kennedy, and the entire court, in our prayers as they weigh the merits of this case.

Unnamed

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director

News spread like a contagion recently about a terror attack at a publication office in Paris. It all seemed a little unreal to me, until I saw the names of the victims.

Unborn baby pictureAs a news consumer, I often find myself yearning to learn the names of people who perished in automobile accidents, in street violence, or as a result of deadly disease outbreaks. I use news stories as an occasion for prayer, and I want to pray for the victims by name.

This is the great dilemma we face as pro-life advocates. We cannot name the victims of abortion. We do not know, for the most part, whether their mothers and fathers had chosen names for their aborted offspring.

The casualty count from legal abortion in this country now stands at 57 million. Those are 57 million unnamed individuals. They are invisible to us because we don’t know them.

When we are introduced to new people, the introduction begins with a name. We identify the individual because of the name associated with him or her. The name makes the person real to us.

When glancing through the obituary page of the local newspaper, we hunt for names. People’s appearances can change quite a bit over the years, so accompanying pictures may not be that helpful in the identification process. But the name says it all.

As part of their healing experience, post-abortive women are often encouraged to name their aborted children. The naming process can be quite powerful. In naming their child, they form a connection with him or her that lives after death.

Even in celebrity culture, names carry great meaning. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter tease users with posts about the latest celebrity baby names. Once we learned about the existence of babies Blue Ivy and North, those words took on new meaning and yes, even personhood.

It is a credit to the pro-life movement that, 42 years after the dreadful U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, we continue to fight for the rights of people we do not even know by name. But unnamed does not mean unwanted. Every child deserves a fighting chance at life, whether known as Emily or Justin or just Baby A. We may not know the names of each unborn child, but we do know their value: priceless.

Do you know Roe v. Wade?

When the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its infamous abortion decision 41years ago, it created waves that continue to hurt millions of Americans today.

Roe v. Wade and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, caused a devastating tidal wave that eroded Americans’ right to life.110124_march_for_life_ap_328

Yet, after four decades, Americans still seem to be confused about what Roe and Doe really did. For proof, just take a look at two polls on the abortion issue.

According to a January 2013 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 70 percent of Americans do not want Roe v. Wade to be overturned.

But, according to a December 2012 poll from Gallup, 70 percent of Americans want restrictions on abortion – which is the exact opposite of what Roe did.

Let’s review the history:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe and Doe on January 22, 1973, specifically noting that the cases should be read together.

According to Roe v. Wade, abortion should be a private decision between a woman and her doctor. During the first six months of pregnancy, a woman may have an abortion for any reason.

In Doe v. Bolton, the justices said a woman may have an abortion in the last three months if she has a “health” reason. The court then defined “health” so broadly that basically anything qualifies.

The two cases struck down all state abortion restrictions and legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.

In 1973, not a single state had abortion laws as broad as those created by Roe and Doe. In fact, the majority of states protected life at the moment of conception.

Americans need to know the truth about Roe v. Wade and how it devastated our nation, how it allowed for the slaughter of 56 million babies, how it led to pain and regret for millions of women and men.

Fortunately, Pennsylvania has been a leader in helping to restore some protections for preborn babies. We continue to work hard every day to achieve a future where every human life is protected from conception to natural death.

Abortion: The Faulty Fix

By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director
gallagher@paprolife.org

The couple was already in their 30s when they met and married. Less than two months after the nuptials, the wife became pregnant.

It was unplanned. It would be quite late in the game before the husband, who was Maria rose picturefacing serious financial struggles, knew of the pregnancy. When the birth became imminent, they were hoping for a boy, and they planned to name him Harry, after his maternal grandfather.

The birth was quite scary. It happened in the apartment they shared, with the husband receiving delivery instructions from the doctor via telephone. The baby arrived before the ambulance did.

In recalling that day, the wife remarked that, when a woman gives birth and she is handed that baby for the first time, “It is a tremendous gift.”

Again and again, she would recall that gift, and her devotion to her first-born daughter knew no bounds.

I was the unexpected daughter.

My mother would often remark how boring she thought life would have been without her children. Both her daughters were unplanned, but they both brought her unintended joy and laughter. Upon her death, my mother’s close friend told me how very proud my mother had been of her children.

Many factors may drive a woman to an abortion center–financial trouble, a coercive boyfriend or husband, abuse, just to name a few. These problems are serious and should be dealt with. But abortion is not the fix.

A woman leaves an abortion facility just as poor as when she went in–generally, about $450 poorer. Her relationship troubles with her significant other aren’t resolved–in fact, the tension arising from the abortion, the regret, and the emotional fallout can make things worse.

What a pregnant woman in dire difficulty needs is a hand of friendship–one that will not take the “tremendous gift” that she has been given from her.

For that one, precious, unrepeatable gift has more value than the entire universe.

Whether the Supreme Court recognizes it or not.

Make a New Year’s Resolution to Attend the March for Life

When I was about 6 years old, my parents pulled out the stroller, bundled up my sister and me, and took us to Washington, D.C., for the March for Life.

I remember the Washington Monument outlined by the sunny cold blue sky of winter. When my dad lifted me onto his shoulders, I remember seeing the mass of people packed onto the lawn. The crowd amazed me.

But for many years, I didn’t go back. I was busy with school,  work, volunteering, family, wedding plans. And some years, I’m ashamed to admit, I forgot.

Two years ago, I made the commitment to start going again. My sisters, cousins, a friend, and I stuffed ourselves into the family van and drove down to the March on a bitterly cold day.

The crowd amazed me, just as it had when I was 6. Hundreds of thousands of people poured into the streets and flowed through the winding road to the U.S. Supreme Court building. I thrilled in the realization that we all were standing there united for one single purpose – to protect and defend every single human life.

This year, it is more critical than ever to participate in prolife efforts such as the March for Life. First, this January marks the 40th year since the Supreme Court’s devastating opinion in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which opened the doors to abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. And, second, our nation faces new threats to life because of the abortion provisions and medical rationing in President Obama’s health care law.

Maybe you have been thinking about going to the March for years but never made it. Maybe you have faithfully attended every year, but you know a friend who has never gone. Make 2013 the year you attend or invite that friend.

This year, it is more critical than ever that we join together on this day to stand united against this lawful taking of innocent lives.

The 2013 March for Life is scheduled for Friday, January 25 in downtown Washington, D.C. For information about bus trips to the March or community prolife events in January, contact us at lifelines@paprolife.org or 717-541-0034.