Wednesday, November 12, 2008


In a clever public relations ploy, the proponents of liberal abortion laws have co-opted the word, and hence the concept of “choice.”

Everybody likes choice. Choice is the hallmark of freedom. Choice means you decide for yourself. No one else decides for you. In the United States of America, we enshrine the idea of choice in our democratic institutions. We choose our leaders. We choose our jobs, our schools, our places of residence and of worship. Through the processes of initiative and referendum, we choose our laws and even our constitutional rights.

Prior to 1973, the question of abortion was left to the choice of the American people. Acting through their elected representatives in each state, the people of our nation had chosen to restrict abortion in various ways. It was their choice. Abortion laws were chosen through the democratic process.

But in the 1973 Supreme Court decision of Roe v Wade, five of the nine appointed Supreme Court Justices decided to undo the choices of the American people. Abortion was no longer to be a matter of choice within the several states of the American union. A liberal, permissive abortion rule was imposed upon the nation.

The majority opinion in Roe v Wade found that the United States Constitution contains an unwritten, implied, right of privacy which entitles women to have the assistance of licensed medical professionals for the purpose of inducing miscarriages.

That opinion has been roundly criticized by legal scholars for more than thirty years. No credible legal authority has ever successfully defended its rationale. Even liberal academics, who support liberalized abortion laws, have conceded that Roe v Wade is poorly reasoned and without support in high court precedents.

We do not hear anyone today defending Roe v Wade as a wise and logical constitutional decision. What we hear today is that Roe v Wade is and should be the law of the land because it is wanted by, and approved by the majority of the American people.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The last thing the Pro Choice lobby wants in America is to permit the people of the United States to exercise choice in the matter of abortion. As a matter of fact, the abortion lobby now seeks to persuade the United States Congress to preempt the whole field of abortion law under the interstate commerce clause, and override any and all state statutes regulating, restricting or controlling the practice of inducing miscarriages or causing abortions in any way.

They want to deny the citizens of the states their right to choose whether to have liberal or restrictive abortion laws. They want to dictate to every American in every city and town their extreme notion of women’s rights.

The issue of abortion divides the American people as they have not been divided since the Civil War. In response to the imposition of abortion on demand by the United States Supreme Court, many citizens have sought to advance a federal constitutional amendment defining life as beginning at the moment of conception.

Roe v Wade made abortion a federal issue, a national chasm of differing opinion.

As the law stood before Roe v wade, each state legislated on the subject of abortion. If there was public sentiment to liberalize abortion laws, the avenues of democratic change were open. Debate about when, how, and why abortions might be performed would be a normal part of the legislative process.

Not every state had the same abortion laws before 1973 and not every state would have the same abortion laws today.

We can only hope that before President elect Barack Obama is able to staff the United States Supreme Court with pro abortion zealots, the Court is able definitively to reverse Roe v Wade and give the power to legislate on the issue of abortion back to the fifty states where it belongs.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


With the stunning victory of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party now a page in the American history book, the talking heads on television have begun to ask whether and how the Republican Party can rise from the ashes.

I have my own theory.

The Republican Party was born under an oak tree in Jackson, Michigan. It was a convocation of people brought together by their common conviction that slavery was wrong and should be abolished.

At its inception, the Republican Party occupied the high moral ground. It was the party of principle, the party of hope, the party that appealed to the noblest aspirations of the American people. It was the party of freedom, of human dignity, of equality, of justice. Its opposition to slavery defined its view of life and underscored its political mission.

The Republican Party can be the party of Abraham Lincoln again. It can be the party of principle. It can occupy the high moral ground.

The issue of abortion separates the Republican and Democratic Parties. It is the most visible and controversial of the various issues that relate to the value and sacredness of human life. The Republican Party needs candidates who will debate the abortion issue; candidates who will talk about the scientific, social, political, and community aspects of abortion.

The Democrats have rather successfully tried to make abortion a religious issue. They insist that opposition to the abortion culture represents an attempt to impose a standard of morality not accepted by many Americans.

Too many Republicans have been taken in by the liberal media’s claim that a majority of Americans support the ‘pro choice’ position. They have fallen for the notion that the Republican Party needs to become a big tent with room for the pro abortion crowd.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

The majority of the American people do not support abortion on demand. They do not support abortion as an alternate means of birth control. They are ‘pro choice’ only in the sense that they believe that abortion may sometimes be medically indicated; that a woman who chooses to have an abortion is more to be pitied than punished.

Even the advocates of choice support some abortion bans. They happily support laws forbidding abortion by persons not licensed to practice medicine. The Supreme Court, in Roe V Wade, talks about a woman and her doctor deciding on abortion. The pro choice crowd would be quick to condemn the choice of having one’s boy friend perform the abortion.

I pose this hypothetical question: Should a man be prosecuted for the murder of his Siamese twin brother? Most people answer in the negative. Why? Because the act is perceived as tantamount to suicide.

Do we prosecute people for suicide? Hardly. The defendant is dead by definition. Do we prosecute people for attempted suicide? It may fit the definition of attempted homicide, but we don’t treat it as a crime. Why not? Simply because society assumes that suicide is not a rational act and therefore the perpetrator-victim is not criminally responsible.

In the same way, women who had or attempted to have abortions before Roe v Wade were not prosecuted. The Michigan statute, still on the books, MCL 750.14, provides:

"Administering drugs, etc., with intent to procure miscarriage: Any person who shall willfully administer to any pregnant woman any medicine, drug, substance or thing whatever, or shall employ any instrument or other means whatever, with intent thereby to procure the miscarriage of any such woman, unless the same shall have been necessary to preserve the life of such woman, shall be guilty of a felony, and in case the death of such pregnant woman be thereby produced, the offense shall be deemed manslaughter."

As can be seen, the law applies only to the person causing the abortion, not to the pregnant woman. The life saving exception was always in the Michigan law, as, no doubt it was in other state laws.

The oath of Hippocrates, written in 400 BC and traditionally recited by physicians since then, contains these words:

"I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion."

In truth, the ban on abortion is a regulation of the medical profession. In that light, the debate over when human life begins is irrelevant. If the fetus is normal, healthy, human tissue, a physician should be called to explain the medical necessity for its removal.

If a surgeon removed a patient’s thumb, it would not satisfy the hospital’s tissue committee for him to explain that the patient requested the procedure. It would probably not do to explain that the patient was given to sucking the thumb, thus causing his front teeth to protrude and that the amputation was necessary to protect the patient’s smile.

Society has a vital stake in the next generation. Human beings are what comprise communities and nations. That is why every organized human society, from the most elemental tribes to the most sophisticated states exercises some form of control over the process of human reproduction.

Bill Clinton got himself elected in 1992 by proclaiming, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Perhaps the Republicans will someday return to power by reminding Americans that it’s all about the family.