On the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we take stock of how the high court has repeatedly twisted the Constitution to undermine family values and to negate the benefits of federalism.
More and more we hear people complain of being forced to live their lives according to dictates and mandates by the government that are morally reprehensible to them. More and more we hear entire states suggest that it would be better for their self-interest if they separated from the United States. The values of North Carolina are not the values (thank God!) of New York. The values of South Carolina are not the values of California. And the values of Texas are not the values of New Jersey. And if the vision of our Founding Fathers, as memorialized in the federal design of government and in the Tenth Amendment, were respected today by the federal government and particularly the Supreme Court, each state would be free to embrace the values that their people chose. We would have 50 different "communities," each offering their citizens the opportunity to live as they see fit and as would most effectively promote their "pursuit of happiness." So, if a family in New York decided that the values in that state were counter-productive to the raising and education of their children, for example, they might have the opportunity to move to another state where conditions and values more closely suit the philosophy that best defines their life.
How did we get this "one-size-fits-all" approach to the several states? There is only one authority that has the power to do so - the federal government. The government, through its commandeering of the Court system and its exclusive power to define the provisions and powers listed in the Constitution, has broken down the boundaries that allow each state to remain unique. The same government that embraces diversity in human beings denies diversity in the individual states. Without a doubt, the Court has used this power to its fullest advantage, not only to centralize more power in its three branches and to weaken the States, but also to engineer a new social order. The new social order has signaled a decline in America. The "one-size-fits-all" approach has caused Americans great frustration because it offers them no alternatives. In nearly every aspect of their lives, aside from physical address and scenery, people are being told they have only ONE WAY to live their lives. They have to conform to ONE WAY of thinking. Under the guise of tolerance, they are FORCED to embrace policies that offend rights of conscience and offend traditional notions of decency and conduct.
On this 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I thought we might take a look at this case and see how the Court furthered its goal to re-engineer American society and to re-prioritize our national values.
On January 22, 1973, seven non-elected members of the US Supreme Court handed down the Roe v. Wade decision - a decision that rivals, in utter disgust, the holding of Dred Scott. Both cases determine (or should I say, undermine) the worth of a class of human beings. But aside from that, the question is this: Was the issue at stake one for the federal government to decide or one for the States?
The question before the Court was whether the US Constitution embraces the right of a woman to have an abortion. Norma McCorvey, known in court documents as Jane ROE, was a single woman who became pregnant and then sought to have an abortion. Texas law at the time (which dated back to 1854) did not allow a woman to have an abortion and terminate a pregnancy, unless that pregnancy threatened the life of the mother. She sued in order to prevent Dallas Attorney General Henry Wade from enforcing that law and hopefully to invalidate the law. Well, that should be clarified. She didn't want to sue. It was only when two lawyers representing a Womans' Rights activist group approached her and convinced her to sue and challenge the abortion statute that she agreed to be "their girl." The ambitious lawyers argued that McCorvey's ability to control her fertility should be recognized and protected by the Bill of Rights (thereby safe from government action to violate it, and through the 14th amendment, safe from any state action as well). In other words, they asked the Court to recognize a woman's right to control her fertility, even after a child has been created.
Why didn't anyone argue that she already has the power and the right to control her fertility. It's called "consent or non-consent to sexual intercourse." The power lies with her. She holds the power to have children - thanks to the Laws of Nature. And she also holds the power as to when she will have those children. If she decides to engage in sexual activity with protection and that protection fails, she has the option of immediately addressing the situation. After all, a fertilized egg doesn't immediately begin its program to create life. Even after 12 hours after conception, the fertilized egg cell still remains a single cell. Only after approximately 30 hours does it finally begin to divide from one cell into 2 cells. And then another 15 or so hours after that, it divides again, to yield four cells. At the end of three days, the conception event is merely a ball of 16 cells. Does that group of 16 cells establish "life"? (That, fortunately or unfortunately, is not the question of this piece).
Issues of marriage and family are ones rightfully reserved to the States. It has always been so. The federal government knows this and the justices of the Supreme Court know this too. But by finding a new provision in the Bill of Rights - one not expressly articulated - the Court was able to make universal policy on abortion. That "invisible" provision is the right to Privacy. Has anyone read the Bill of Rights lately? Has anyone found that one listed? I think if our Founders wanted the bundle of rights embraced by privacy in general, that amendment would have been one of those included. The Supreme Court rejected the argument that the right to an abortion is one embraced by the Ninth Amendment. As mentioned above, a woman has always had the right to control her fertility. It's called consent and non-consent. That's why abortion laws have always contained exceptions for cases when the woman has been raped. The right to an abortion is a distinct right.
United States Supreme Court: Above. photo by Stan Deatherage
The bigger issue in Roe v. Wade, as is clear from the decision and later comments by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was the ability of women to compete equally in the workforce. Women cannot compete equally if they are continually "held back" by an unwanted pregnancy. That was the issue at the heart of Roe v. Wade - not the definition of life or the right to life. The particulars of how they got that issue to the Court is what makes this case so very disturbing. Womens' Rights activists used the issue at stake in the case to sacrifice the lives of unborn children to advance their agenda.... The same agenda that the government also felt compelled to promote.
Here are some of the arguments that the supporters of Roe advocated as being vital to a Woman's Right to Terminate a Pregnancy: They said the right to an abortion helps to preserve women's rights, her personal freedom, and her privacy. A denial of the right, they argued, would be condemn women to compulsory motherhood and 'involuntary servitude' in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment.
McCorvey was single at the time of her pregnancy. She was a drug abuser and had left her husband (and two children). After her third pregnancy (at issue in the lawsuit), which ended in the child's birth (because of the length of the case), she gave up the child for adoption and went on to become a lesbian for awhile. It's nice that such people who have such a problem conforming their conduct are the ones that dominate our courts and are responsible for the social engineering that has defined the new America. Where is the notion that laws are supposed to promote good and productive behavior and discourage bad and unproductive behavior?
How sad that our nation's highest court was able to "stretch" and re-define the US Constitution to find rights for women to terminate an unwanted pregnancy but continues to refuse to find the same latitude in the Constitution to find that an unborn child has any rights at all. (Sure the decision holds that the right to an abortion is not absolute and it has to be balanced against the State's countervailing interests in preserving the health of the woman and in protecting the "potential" life of the unborn child, but for all practical purposes and in light of subsequent cases that emphatically state that obstacles to a woman's right to an abortion on demand are unconstitutional, the right to an abortion is absolute). How sad that we have to read accounts of fully-formed babies being aborted and terminated. (that is, KILLED). Termination is what you do to an employee or a contract. Murder and killing is what you do to a living human being that intentionally deprives it of its life. How sad that we have to be a country divided among people who value life all life and those who value life except that which grows inside a woman that happens to burden her ambitions or complicate her life.
As it stands today, every woman in the United States has the legal right to obtain an abortion in all 50 states, through all nine months of pregnancy, for virtually any reason at all. After all, the autonomous decision to have such is built into the Constitution. And the 14th Amendment incorporates the rights as against the States as well (even though the 14th Amendment requires each incorporated right to be one that is historically rooted in our American notion of ordered liberty). All of this is the legacy of Roe v. Wade. As John T. Noonan, senior circuit judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, wrote: "Roe v. Wade may stand as the most radical decision ever issued by the Supreme Court."
If the Court had only the backbone and conviction to respect the Tenth Amendment and the issues that traditionally belong to the individual states, the issue of abortion could have been decided by the individual states. Chances are that New York and other liberal states would embrace such a right (at the expense of the helpless unborn) while the states populated by people who respect all life would likely take a different approach.... They might likely reserve abortion in instances when the life of the mother is certainly at serious risk, or they might have programs of adoption for those who are unwilling to keep the child they give birth to, or they might have a robust Church communities that develop programs to care for the children of unwanted pregnancies, or maybe, just maybe, hey might have aggressive public school programs and social programs that EMPHASIZE and promote abstinence.
The point is that the people of each state have a right - a reserved right - to determine issues of social policy within their borders. Each state has the right to guide and determine the kind of citizen it would like to live within its borders (that's why education is so important as an state initiative) and the kinds of communities (absent any glaring true constitutional violations) to support them.
So, on this 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we have to ponder the consequences of the decision. We have legally declared that a class of human beings has no legal rights (as Dred Scott did to African-Americans) and we have condemned millions to torture and death, simply for the opportunity for women to compete equally with men in the workforce. As George Bush once said: "The fingers and toes and beating hearts that we can see on an unborn child's ultrasound come with something that we cannot see... a soul." We have to be disgusted at both the decision itself and the legal wrangling that our highest court used to usurp state authority and further create the "one-size-fits-all" degenerate social state that we have now.
Publisher's note: Diane Rufino has her own blog, For Love of God and Country
. Come and visit her. She'd love your company.