Today marks the 39th anniversary of the US Supreme Court's decision to constitutionalize abortion over the opposition of all but three state legislatures, which had criminalized it. The author of that bloody decision--nearly 60 million US babies sacrificed on the altar of their mothers' convenience--was Justice Harry Blackmun, a Nixon appointee to the Court.
How might have the course of history been changed had the Court rebuffed the secular Left's stratagem to establish its contempt for classical metaphysics in the nation's laws? Besides less strife, social decay and personal bitterness occasioned by the choice of death for one's baby, there would be 60 million more consumers, taxpayers and family members to enrich society.
Justice Blackmun and the majority reasoned that the US Constitution didn't protect the life of a pre-born infant, which wasn't a person entitled to constitutional protection. Moreover, the Court's inability to authoritatively speculate as to when human life begins absolved it of a responsibility to protect the pre-born entity that it couldn't identify.
This exercise in legal sophistry has bent the mind and stained the soul of the nation since 1973. The result has been a bitter culture war, the retreat of religious liberty and advance of sexual liberty, and the march of federal Statism behind cover of an individual right.
Parts of Justice Blackmun's opinion are appended for the reader to evaluate.
We forthwith acknowledge our awareness of the sensitive and emotional nature of the abortion controversy, of the vigorous opposing views, even among physicians, and of the deep and seemingly absolute convictions that the subject inspires. One's philosophy, one's experiences, one's exposure to the raw edges of human existence, one's religious training, one's attitudes toward life and family and their values, and the moral standards one establishes and seeks to observe, are all likely to influence and to color one's thinking and conclusions about abortion.
In addition, population growth, pollution, poverty, and racial overtones tend to complicate and not to simplify the problem.
Our task, of course, is to resolve the issue by constitutional measurement, free of emotion and of predilection. We seek earnestly to do this, and, because we do, we [p117] have inquired into, and in this opinion place some emphasis upon, medical and medical-legal history and what that history reveals about man's attitudes toward the abortion procedure over the centuries. We bear in mind, too, Mr. Justice Holmes' admonition in his now-vindicated dissent in Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45, 76 (1905):
[The Constitution] is made for people of fundamentally differing views, and the accident of our finding certain opinions natural and familiar or novel and even shocking ought not to conclude our judgment upon the question whether statutes embodying them conflict with the Constitution of the United States.
The principal thrust of appellant's attack on the Texas statutes is that they improperly invade a right, said to be possessed by the pregnant woman, to choose to terminate her pregnancy. Appellant would discover this right in the concept of personal "liberty" embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause; or in personal, marital, familial, and sexual privacy said to be protected by the Bill of Rights or its penumbras, see Griswold v. Connecticut,381 U.S. 479 (1965); Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972); id. at 460 (WHITE, J., concurring in result); or among those rights reserved to the people by theNinth Amendment, Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. at 486 (Goldberg, J., concurring).
Three reasons have been advanced to explain historically the enactment of criminal abortion laws in the 19th century and to justify their continued existence. [p148]
The third reason is the State's interest -- some phrase it in terms of duty -- in protecting prenatal life. Some of the argument for this justification rests on the theory that a new human life is present from the moment of conception.[n45] The State's interest and general obligation to protect life then extends, it is argued, to prenatal life. Only when the life of the pregnant mother herself is at stake, balanced against the life she carries within her, should the interest of the embryo or fetus not prevail. Logically, of course, a legitimate state interest in this area need not stand or fall on acceptance of the belief that life begins at conception or at some other point prior to live birth. In assessing the State's interest, recognition may be given to the less rigid claim that as long as at least potential life is involved, the State may assert interests beyond the protection of the pregnant woman alone. [p151]
The Constitution does not define "person" in so many words. Section 1 of theFourteenth Amendment contains three references to "person." The first, in defining "citizens," speaks of "persons born or naturalized in the United States." The word also appears both in the Due Process Clause and in the Equal Protection Clause. "Person" is used in other places in the Constitution: in the listing of qualifications for Representatives and Senators, Art. I, § 2, cl. 2, and § 3, cl. 3; in the Apportionment Clause, Art. I, § 2, cl. 3; [n53] in the Migration and Importation provision, Art. I, § 9, cl. 1; in the Emolument Clause, Art. I, § 9, cl. 8; in the Electors provisions, Art. II, § 1, cl. 2, and the superseded cl. 3; in the provision outlining qualifications for the office of President, Art. II, § 1, cl. 5; in the Extradition provisions, Art. IV, § 2, cl. 2, and the superseded Fugitive Slave Clause 3; and in the Fifth, Twelfth, and Twenty-second Amendments, as well as in §§ 2 and 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. But in nearly all these instances, the use of the word is such that it has application only post-natally. None indicates, with any assurance, that it has any possible pre-natal application. [n54] [p158]
All this, together with our observation, supra, that, throughout the major portion of the 19th century, prevailing legal abortion practices were far freer than they are today, persuades us that the word "person," as used in theFourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn. [n55]
Texas urges that, apart from the Fourteenth Amendment, life begins at conception and is present throughout pregnancy, and that, therefore, the State has a compelling interest in protecting that life from and after conception. We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer. [p160]
In view of all this, we do not agree that, by adopting one theory of life, Texas may override the rights of the pregnant woman that are at stake. We repeat, however, that the State does have an important and legitimate interest in preserving and protecting the health of the pregnant woman, whether she be a resident of the State or a nonresident who seeks medical consultation and treatment there, and that it has still another important and legitimate interest in protecting the potentiality of human life. These interests are separate and distinct. Each grows in substantiality as the woman approaches [p163] term and, at a point during pregnancy, each becomes "compelling."
Noman's no-children know evil when they see it, though they cannot possibly comprehend the depth of it in this case as they haven't lived the history, and can't remember an America that would have blanched at one abortion, let alone 60 million of them. Nevertheless, three no-children are in Washington DC to beg for God's forgiveness, mercy and strength to liberate America from the devil's clutches.
Noman is heavy-hearted at the memory occasioned by today's anniversary, but heartened to know that many of the voiceless protestors in the nation's Capitol are young, and that tens-of-millions of innocent victims are gathered spiritually with them in the communion of saints praying for their mothers, and our cause--all of their causes. This must give those for whom abortion is an immanentist sacrament and the ultimate guarantor of the Statist program reason to be concerned.