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.