If President Trump performs on his promise to appoint sensible Justices to the United States Supreme Court, and should Roe v. Wade thus fall, this will only be the beginning of a veritable war by the abortionists on the courts, legislatures, and public…
A friend of mine, who enjoys irritating me, recently handed me a book review from the American Historical Review, written by Professor Simone M. Caron, of Johanna Schoen’s Abortion After Roe. I have no intention of reading the book. From Professor Simone’s extremely complimentary account, Ms. Schoen’s volume appears to be a sustained calumny against the pro-life movement and anyone in government who has done anything not previously approved by the abortionists’ guild known as Planned Parenthood. Still, it is worth noting this new book, or rather what it shows we may expect soon as the abortion wars potentially heat up. It always is useful to be reminded of the hysterical dishonesty of ideological abortionists as they oppose even the most modest attempts to decrease the number of abortions—or even the barbarity of the conditions under which those abortions so often are performed.
Conservatives, people of faith, and anyone even remotely concerned with the fate of unborn children had best take note of the essential character of abortion’s enthusiasts. These enthusiasts, generally of the radical feminist variety, will become only more active, angry, and aggressive should President Trump perform on his promise to appoint sensible Justices to the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Trump himself has noted that the seminal case establishing abortion on demand—Roe v. Wade—should be overturned. In a sensible nation that valued its Constitution and a modicum of honesty and responsibility in its judges, this would not be an issue. Whatever their views regarding abortion, every thinking American should recognize that Roe v. Wade is an appallingly bad judicial decision, Indeed, the majority opinion in that case was one of the very worst in American history. Several commentators have noted that the opinion in Roe v. Wade is on a par with the infamous Dred Scott decision nationalizing slavery in its exhibition of overweening pride and political usurpation. In both cases, judges saw themselves as somehow saving the nation from conflict by rejecting their judicial duty to uphold the law. These judges sought to “settle” a fundamentally moral and political issue by reading their own political positions into a document that by its very nature eschews such particulars on almost all counts. Abortion, like slavery, is an issue surrounded by laws and regulations rooted in conflicting views of its moral status. This very fact makes it political in the fundamental sense that only the legislature is in a position to bring together and express the will of the people in their various communities.
Roe v. Wade also is one of the most destructive of Supreme Court decisions. There is, of course, its horrific practical effect on unborn children and their mothers. In addition, however, it institutionalized a judicial regime of constitutional contempt adorned by vapid pseudo-philosophical ruminations and the construction of fanciful legislative tests to be perpetually refined and redefined in all important areas of American public life. The awful decisions of the Warren Court during the 1950s and 1960s certainly made possible the atrocious majority opinion in Roe v. Wade. Their reliance on claims of moral and political rectitude entrenched an ends-justify-the-means ideology of legal decision-making that has entranced the bulk of the legal profession ever since and all but destroyed the rule of law. But Roe v. Wade stands in large measure as the central pillar of judicial supremacy.
That said, should Roe v. Wade fall, this will only be the beginning of a veritable war on the courts, legislatures, and public that will dwarf in size and hostility the cry-bully reaction to Mr. Trump’s electoral victory. The battle for the unborn then would be sent to the states—at least in theory. In reality, it is most likely that, outside truly radical states like California, pro-abortion forces will continue to push for a national “solution” to the supposed problem posed by any and all impediments to abortion. The forces allied to defend abortion will be national in scope. Where possible, state legislatures will be bullied into line on the issue. Everywhere, the courts, the mainstream media, and, of course, university and travelling street radicals will be mobilized as tools of convenience in pursuit of abortion-on-demand.
The arguments will be at least as full of hysteria and falsehood as those we have heard in recent weeks. The pro-life movement will continue to be portrayed, as Professor Caron depicts in her review, waging a war of lies and intimidation against defenseless pregnancy-afflicted women, physicians, and “feminist staff in clinics” hoping “abortion would be part of a new, broader system of health care.” The struggles of abortionists will be dramatized as insurance rates increase and physicians shy away from engaging in the practice. In the abortionists’ minds and in mainstream press stories these problems will be portrayed as due solely to anti-abortion violence and social stigma wrongfully applied through, well, the truth. As Professor Caron complains, “graphic fetal images” and use of the term “partial-birth abortion” to describe the partial extraction of babies from their mothers’ wombs prior to being killed, as well as use of the term “late term abortion” are somehow illegitimate even as they strike a deep chord with most of the public.
The central complaint is that members of the pro-life movement refuse to accept the abortionists’ narrative. We are supposed to accept that “abortion does not cause serious mental health issues,” that “fetal research” from Planned Parenthood’s baby parts business is necessary to keep us all from dying of dread diseases, and that Kermit Gosnell never existed. (Goodness knows the abortion industry, the mainstream media, and now the movie industry have tried their best to keep us from knowing anything about Dr. Gosnell’s abortion charnel house.) There also will be talk of conspiracies, as when, as Professor Caron put it, “antiabortionists also silenced medical discussions of abortion techniques by infiltrating conferences and skewing the data to sway the public to restrict abortion.” To not be silent is to conspire to oppress, or so we are and will be told.
All these assertions of bad faith against those who work to protect the unborn are necessary to maintain the false narrative of a caring abortion industry, and to keep people from thinking deeply about what is going on in these clinics, and in our culture more generally. If pro-life people can be portrayed as haters who want to punish women, brainwash them, or leave them to rot with their starving babies, then perhaps guilty consciences will go away. On the other hand, apparently, if ideological abortionists allow even the small number of abortions performed late in pregnancy to be prevented, this may constitute a break in the wall of denial that there is a moral issue—indeed a person—involved in abortion. Then people might engage in actual consideration of abortion’s morality, and communities’ responsibilities in dealing therewith. We live in a fallen world where the tragedy of abortion, like many others, will continue to occur. But we can make it genuinely rare. Perhaps what makes ideological abortionists most afraid is a subconscious recognition of what it will take to achieve the goal of reducing abortion. For such a goal requires, not merely changed in law, but reconstruction of genuine communities, in which young women feel safe and valued, and in which their babies are safe and valued because they are to be parts of families, churches, and local communities in which virtue, duty, and charitable love are valued above selfishness and the drive for power and wealth. The need, in the end, is for a renewal of our culture. Changes in law are necessary, but not sufficient for such a renewal. And ideological abortionists are utterly opposed to any such changes because they would undermine the culture of selfishness they so highly value.
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