The Viability of Roe: Introduction

Few issues in American history have been a divisive as that of abortion. Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v Wade, the issue has not gone away, but has only grown more public and more fractured over time. Both proponents and opponents of abortion have been severely critical of the Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, in fact, between 1973 and 2003, approximately 330 constitutional amendments regarding abortion were introduced in the United States Congress[1], and every year hundreds of bills are passed at the local and state level challenging its core holding- that women have a right to terminate their pregnancies through abortion. This summer, our nation was reminded once again, of how deep the division on this issue goes, as thousands of abortions supporters and opponents converged on Austin, Texas. Clad in orange and blue, men and women came in droves, to voice their opinion on a deeply important issue in today’s culture- what are the respective legal rights of preborn children and the mothers that carry them? This series of blog posts will attempt to answer that question.

Here is a brief synopsis of where I hope to go with this series:

  • Part 1 will briefly outline the decision in Roe, and will address many of the misconceptions regarding the case.
  • Part 2 will look at the subsequent case law on abortion, from Roe through the Carhart cases.
  • Part 3 will look at the historical inaccuracies on which Roe was based.
  • Part 4 looks at the Court’s analysis of the legal concept of personhood.
  • Part 5 looks at “health” exception in Roe (and subsequent cases) and whether the data supports abortion as beneficial for women’s health.
  • Part 6 proposes a new framework for considering the question of abortion and concludes by calling for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and a declaration of protection for preborn humans.

[1] See the full list provided by the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment at http://www.nchla.org/issues.asp?ID=46.

A (very) Brief Critique of Roe v Wade

 

 

This week we finally got the the one case that convinced me to go to law school in the first place: Roe v Wade.

I went up to my Con Law professor after class on Monday and explained to him that our next class would be covering an issue that I feel very strongly about, abortion. I volunteered to voice the side of life, and he agreed to allow me to defend my beliefs.

I am both overjoyed and humbled that I was given this opportunity. While it may not be for points, I could help change the mind of a fellow student, that maybe that student will argue it before the Supreme Court, or maybe they’ll be the judge overturning it, or maybe they’ll just remember my words when they or someone they love is faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

So, here is my very brief critique that I gave in class this morning at LSU Law

Pro-Life Hulk

When I get angry I shake uncontrollably… sometimes I’m afraid I’m going to explode into a hulk-like monster when I do this. But it takes a certain type of thing to make me that angry, and as I read the LSU Reveille today- it happened.  There was an article about why Planned Parenthood should receive government funding, and the “arguments” not only pissed me off, they turned my stomach. Let’s take a look:

1. By the regulations put in by federal law, Planned Parenthood can’t put any of their government funding into abortion services because it isn’t considered to be family planning.

This is strangely worded to begin with, but I’m guessing she means that they aren’t allowed to pay for abortions with federal money. And this is true, but it is also a mere technicality. In 2011 (the most recent numbers available), federal taxpayers were forced to give Planned Parenthood $524,000,000 which accounts for nearly half of their total budget and doesn’t include state tax dollars given to regional Planned Parenthood affiliates.  With about half of their revenue coming from tax dollars, we are indirectly subsidizing abortion, even if the money isn’t going to directly going to pay for them. It is just a bait and switch argument. If it wasn’t for this funding, they wouldn’t be able to operate the clinics, or hire the doctors that perform the abortions.

2. Only three percent of all the services it (Planned Parenthood) provides are abortion.

Pro-aborts LOVE this argument, and never bother to examine how Planned Parenthood came up with this number. They did it by counting every single little thing they do as a separate “service.” Let’s look at one appointment and find see how many services we can count using Planned Parenthood counting. You walk in and get a pregnancy test, 1 service. Since you’re sexually active, they recommend you get an STD test too- that’s another service, now we are up to 2. The doctor asks you if you are on the pill and if you’re happy with the type you are on- that’s “birth control counseling” and the count is 3. The doctor does a pelvic exam and pap smear- 2 more services, now you’re at 5. Finally as you walk out the door, he gives you 5 condoms, and each one is counted as a service. So that is 10 services at one appointment. They do the same thing with counting the abortion process. Legally, you must take a pregnancy test, receive counseling and view an ultrasound prior to getting an abortion; Planned Parenthood counts each of those as an individual service, and not as part of their abortion services.

Additionally, a lawsuit recently settled by Planned Parenthood in Texas resulted in them paying the Texas Government over $4 million for charging state Medicaid for services that were never rendered, meaning that they falsified the number of services provided.

The 3% number is clearly false, so let’s look at some other numbers:

  • 1 in 4 abortions in America are performed at a Planned Parenthood clinic or affiliates
  • Planned Parenthood performed 915 abortions per day
  • 92% of pregnant women who go into a Planned Parenthood get an abortion
  • Planned Parenthood does 391 abortions for each adoption referral it provides
  • In 2011, Planned Parenthood made $150,000,000 in profit on abortion procedures.
  • There are over 8,000 community health centers that provide low cost healthcare without profit from abortions.

3. Conservative government officials, mostly men, are the ones trying to take away these fundamental and essential care options.

Ah, the classic pro-lifers are mostly men argument. While pro-life elected officials are mostly male, the same is true of pro-abortion elected officials, and elected officials in general. Women make up over 50% of the voting public but hold less than 5% of elected offices. So the governmental argument is non-unique to the pro-life side of the argument.

But if you look at who the leaders of the pro-life movement you’ll see that it is mostly women! Some examples include women such as Abby Johnson, Live Action’s  Lila Rose, Charmaine Yoest who is President of Americans United for Life, Carol Tobias who is President of National Right to Life, Marjorie Dannenfelser who is President of SBA List, Concerned Women for America, and Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Oh and not that I’m in the same league as these amazing women, but last time I checked I was a woman. I’ve been to my share of pro-life meetings, lectures, and events, and in my experience women almost always outnumber the men by a large number.

Additionally, the last time Gallup did a study on abortion views, an equal percentage of men and women polled said that they believed abortion was “morally wrong”. 51% of both genders agreed on this. Furthermore, 5% more women than men felt that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. Nearly a quarter of all women polled would be in favor of making abortion illegal in all cases. Recent polls on Pain Capable Abortion Bans show that actually women support these bans by a significant majority.

4. All abortion arguments and stances aside, here is the cold truth about them: unless you’re the person getting the abortion, abortions don’t affect you. Read that again, because few people understand this concept.

This is the same “logic” as the oft repeated line “Don’t like abortions, don’t have one” and is laughable at best. Martin Luther King told us that “injustice anywhere is an affront to justice everywhere,” and we see the truth of that in many of history’s greatest movements.

Take slavery for example- William Wilberforce was a member of British Parliament who was decidated to ending the slave trade, would you tell him “don’t like slavery, don’t own slaves”? Slavery didn’t directly affect him, but his heart broke for his fellow humans and the atrocities that were being perpetuated against them. The rallying cry for British abolitionists was “Am I not a man and brother?”. I ask the same question- if I see a travesty occurring at my neighbor’s home am I supposed to ignore it? What about other things that don’t affect Americans- genocides in other countries and natural disasters that occur overseas? Should we have ignored the Holocaust? Should we ignore Joseph Kony and his indentured army of enslaved child soldiers? Should we keep our money for ourselves next time a tsunami kills and displaces millions of people in another country? Of course not! Because Dr. King was right, “injustice anywhere is an affront to justice everywhere”.

5. You may love babies and you may think that taking away a person’s right to “kill” said “baby” is making the world a better place, but the only real thing you’re doing it using your hate and narrow- minded belief about the sanctity of life to dictate someone else’s.

Honestly, this one just confused me… how is it hateful to protect vulnerable human life? It seems infinitely more hateful to me, to rip a baby apart piece by piece and then vacuum it out of the womb. Because that is the reality of abortion.

Oh wait, I called it a baby, not a “baby”. I’m guessing the author would rather you call the preborn child a fetus. Which is fine because fetus is just Latin for “offspring according to its kind” and our kind, humans, call our offspring babies… so fetus pretty much means baby.

I suppose “the narrow-minded” claim could be truthful, but it’s not a bad thing. Abortion abolititionist Greg Koukl sums it up clearly: “If the unborn is not a human person, no justification for abortion is necessary. However, if the unborn is a human person, no justification for abortion is adequate.”

I could write a whole different article on scientific facts regarding fetal development, but a picture I took at a protest in San Antonio this summer handles it pretty well. The guy holding it was a member of the group Secular Pro-Life, a group of atheist and agnostic pro-lifers. Here’s the picture:

science

And finally, the part that truly pissed me off:

6. People in favor of defunding this wonderful service need to look past the silly three percent of abortion services and see the bigger picture.

There is nothing SILLY about abortion. Most pro-abortion advocates will admit that, and say that it is a very difficult decision. This author disagrees. She thinks that 333,964 innocent, helpless, vulnerable human beings being killed is SILLY. There are no words to accurately describe the disgust I feel when I read her sentence. 333,964 human beings. 333,964 voices silenced. I won’t ignore that. I won’t “look past” it.

I AM THE PROLIFE GENERATION!

 prolifegen

“We will not stand down. We will expose injustice. We will fight against the lies told to our generation. We will face persecution. We will help those facing crisis. We will fight against a third of our generation being taken out before they are born. We will not be silent. We will not back down until abortion is abolished.”

–Students for Life of America

#Stand4Life in Austin

Thursday at 5:30 am, after a 10 hour greyhound bus ride to meet Students For Life in Austin, I was unsure of what to expect from the many pro-abortion supporters I knew had gathered at the Texas state capitol.

The first day was great- the Students for Life group got to meet Rick Santorum, who encouraged us in our fight for the unborn. I definitely consider him to be one of my personal heros, so having him speak to us was amazing! We also met with Texas Representatives Bryan Hughes and Steve Toth, who welcomed us to the Capitol with open arms and lots of prayers. Later on, these two fine gentlemen would provide our group with hotel rooms just for us to shower in, after the YMCA kicked SFLA out.

After lunch, we headed down to San Antonio to meet the Planned Parenthood bus tour for a silent protest. There are pictures of some of the signs below, although several of them were simply too vulgar to post. While the people that showed up for that event weren’t as bad as the ones we would see the next day, there was still some vitriol hurled our way. But most horrifying to me was that when people read the sign the girl next to me was holding, that said “Wendy Stands With Gosnell”, they had no idea who Gosnell is.

Friday morning we arrived at the Capitol around 10 am and got to work. Some of us, like me, were passing out red “LIFE” tape; others were going around getting our fellow pro-lifers to sign the Statement of Peace, vowing to remain a peaceful presence; still others handed out snacks and water to ALL of those standing in line waiting to enter the gallery, pro-life or not.

At lunch, we walked to a park near the Capitol, where the Austin Knights of Columbus were nice enough to provide us with burgers, chips, cookies and drinks. Earlier in the week they had provided SFLA with many inflatable mattresses so that we didn’t have to sleep on the floors of the churches we were staying at.

When we returned from lunch, Representative Bob Duell provided us with blue shirts to pass out, along with water for anyone that needed it. Once back inside, things had taken a turn for the ugly- as we prayed, we were yelled at repeatedly (See videos below) and we began to hear the reports of DPS confiscating bricks and bottles of urine and feces, that pro-aborts had planned to throw at the senators after voting. At one point, a member of our group was violently shoved by the protesters as he recorded the scene in the Rotunda. We had heard other rumors about potential violence planned by the protesters, and had been warned that we might be asked to evacuate at any moment.

Keeping this in mind, a friend and I got in line for the gallery, hoping to be there when the historic vote finally went down. As we snaked through the line, things continued to get louder and louder as the majority of the pro-abortion crowd gathered in the rotunda, chanting, and strangely bouncing tampons off an orange flag. As we neared the gallery, the roar grew so loud that we could hardly hear each other talk, we later found out that this is when the group of women tried to padlock themselves to the gallery railing, one of which succeeded and had to be cut free. Shortly after this, we were informed that DPS had determined that the atmosphere was too dangerous for those wearing blue, and pro-lifers were being escorted out of the public parts of the Capitol, and into various offices. Our group gathered in Representative Hughes office, where we were locked in for our own safety and guarded by DPS officers.

As more than fifty people sat in the office, we were able to watch the live feed of the vote, and saw history in the making. When the final session started in the wee hours of Saturday morning, our group stood in a cramped office and prayed along with the Senate, while the pro-abortion advocates outside the gallery booed the same prayer. Minutes later, cheers rang out all around me and tears of joy were shed, as the final vote count was announced and the bill officially passed. A victory for the unborn had been achieved, and I was glad I had been on the right side of history. But history was not the only thing I had experienced in Austin. As I knelt in prayer in the rotunda, and was surrounded by hundreds of pro-abortion protesters angrily mocking my faith, I became convinced that I also experienced spiritual warfare. As a Christian, I felt secure that God would keep me safe, and I knew there were people all over the nation praying for our safety, but in my heart I knew fear.

I am so thankful for the Texas DPS who worked hard to ensure our safety, and to Representative Hughes for providing us a safe harbor in this storm. I am also grateful to the many people who donated food and supplies to the SFLA group, so that we could focus on supporting the bill, and saving babies!

Below I have compiled pictures and videos of the sights and sounds from this weekend. WARNING- some of the signs are very vulgar and may contain foul language. Unless otherwise noted, they are my personal photos and videos.

“Pray you’ll need it” Chant

“You Don’t Care if Women Die” Chant