Whose choice is "pro-choice"?
Pro-abortion advocates label their position "pro-choice", but abortion is not pro-choice. It is not the choice of the unborn child.
Abortion advocates talk about a woman's right to choose, but they do not mention the baby's right to choose.
For the sake of the convenience of the mother who chooses to abort her baby, every choice that child could ever make is taken away.
One thing that almost every person on this earth, rich or poor, has in common is the power to make choices in his or her life, choices between right and wrong, choices about marriage, sex, work, love, money, time, and thousands of decisions great and small. We all make thousands of choices in the course of our lives. We reap the consequences of those choices and we learn lessons from those choices.
All of that is taken away from a child that is killed before it is born.
The mother who aborts her baby has had the opportunity to make many choices in her life, but then for the sake of her convenience, she makes one more choice that takes away her child’s right to choose anything, ever.
Abortion is also not the choice that our nation as a democracy makes through the elective process. It is the choice of seven men on the Supreme Court in 1973 who voted in Roe vs. Wade to prevent the nation from banning abortion through its elected representatives.
The founding fathers of the United States wrote a constitution that divided the power of the national government among three branches: the administrative branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. The power of making laws was given primarily to the legislative branch and secondarily to the administrative branch in the person of the President who can sign or veto bills passed by the Congress. It was not given to the judicial branch. The Supreme Court has the power to interpret laws, including the Constitution itself, but it does not have the authority to go beyond the Constitution to make laws. It does not have authority to read into the Constitution what is not there.
The Constitution does not give a woman the right to have an abortion.
You can read the Constitution from beginning to end and you will not find abortion mentioned, nor will you find any right given to the people that includes, in principle, a woman's right to have an abortion.
Some think that the Constitution means whatever the Supreme Court says it means. This is not true. Nor is it true that only constitutional lawyers and judges are qualified to understand the Constitution.
Try reading your apartment lease or car loan agreement and compare it with the Constitution. Which is easier to read and understand? The Constitution. Why? Contracts are written by lawyers, for lawyers, but the Constitution was written for ordinary people. It is a people's document. It was intended to be understood by the people because in a democracy it is ultimately the people who guarantee the freedoms it maintains. It was not written just for lawyers, judges, and Supreme Court justices to understand. It is for everyone. It is written for the general population so that the people can uphold and defend it and prevent its subversion by courts which do not uphold and follow its principles.
The Constitution does NOT say whatever the Supreme Court says that it says. The Supreme Court is UNDER the Constitution, not above it. Some people may think that the Supreme Court is supreme over the Constitution or over the other branches of government, but that is not true. The Supreme Court is not supreme over the President and the Congress. It is only supreme over all other courts. Within our democratic system of government, the people are supreme. Under the people is the Constitution. Under the Constitution are the three branches of government, each branch being equal to the other two. The Supreme Court can make mistakes and bad decisions just like the Congress or the President, and when it makes a mistake, the mistake should be corrected.
Is Abortion Murder?
Millions of Americans believe abortion is murder. If abortion is the taking of a human life, then they are right. So a key question is whether or not abortion is taking a human life.
There is an abundance of evidence that an unborn child is alive. Its genetic makeup and potential are unique and clearly defined at conception. The unborn child grows. It develops a heart beat. It develops brain waves. It develops the ability to move, to kick. It has all the characteristics of a living organism.
Abortions are sometimes performed by injecting a lethal substance into the unborn child's body, causing it to die. When the child dies, the mother's body rejects it. You cannot kill something that is not alive.
And it is human. It is not any other species but human. An unborn child in the womb is therefore a living human being, and killing before it is born for the convenience of the mother is murder.
The main change that occurs when a baby is born is that it gets oxygen from its lungs and food through its mouth instead of through an umbilical cord. But it is just as much alive before it passes through the birth canal as after.
Some say that an unborn child should not be considered a living human being because it is not viable outside the mother's body. By "not viable" it is meant it cannot live independently.
But this is irrelevant. A living person is still alive even when he or she must depend on others to continue to live. Even when the child is born it is dependent on the care of its mother. Left to itself, it would die, but nobody says that a child is not alive because it must depend on the care of others to survive. Nor do we say that about the elderly, the handicapped, the sick, the injured, or the mentally impaired who may not be able to keep themselves alive without the help of others.
An unborn child is a living human being and is entitled to the same right to live as any other human being. To take that human life for the convenience of the mother or society is murder. The government has the same obligation to protect an unborn child from violence as it has to protect those born. As a living human being, an unborn child has the right to be protected from those who would wish to kill it.
Roe vs. Wade
In Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court by a vote of seven to two ruled that the Constitution gives women the right to have an abortion, and in so doing it overturned laws in various states that outlawed abortion. This took place in 1973, and by various estimates more than forty million abortions have taken place in the United States since then.
But the Constitution does not mention abortion, nor is there any right or principle protected by the Constitution that would include a right to have an abortion. The reasons given by the justices for their decision include their views that limiting or banning abortions is harmful to woman and society, and they include references to previous Supreme Court decisions establishing a right to privacy. But the decision is not based on what the Constitution actually says.
The Supreme Court has built precedent upon precedent in their interpretation of the Constitution. Then, as the body of precedents grows, it bases new decisions on those precedents more than the Constitution itself, even when those precedents are wrong. And each new precedent may go a little farther from what the Constitution says than the precedent before. Thus the Supreme Court creates what some call "new constitutional law", and this body of past decisions becomes a substitute for the Constitution itself. That is how the Court justifies rulings that go beyond the language and intent of the Constitution. Many justices think they have the right to "grow" the Constitution this way.
But the Constitution never gave the Supreme Court the authority to create new law.
Whether or not the justices on the Supreme Court think laws against abortion are harmful to society or to women should never have been a basis for their decision. Nor should precedent be the primary basis. Bad precedent should never be followed. The decision should be made based on the Constitution itself.
Some use the argument that a woman has a right to have control over her own body. But control over one's body has never been a right in all cases, with men or women. We have rights over our bodies to a degree, but it is not an unlimited right. Our actions and behavior concerning our bodies are limited by many laws. Besides laws that limit our rights over our bodies for our own good, there is a multitude of laws that limit what we can do with our bodies when it harms another person.
The Constitution does not give anyone unlimited rights over his or her own body. There are laws against suicide in many places. No one has successfully made the case that laws against suicide are unconstitutional because people have unlimited rights over their own bodies (if a woman does not have the right to take her own life, how can she have the right to take the life of her baby?). And you won't find any right to commit suicide in the Constitution. The ingesting of prohibited drugs into our bodies is illegal. There are many such examples.
If our rights over our bodies are limited even in cases where our actions primarily affect only ourselves, how much more are our rights limited in cases where our actions affect another human being? We cannot use our bodies to murder others.
Roe vs. Wade was a mistake. It was a bad decision by a Supreme Court that exceeded the bounds the Constitution places upon it and took upon itself the prerogative of making new law. And for democracy to work as our founding fathers intended, that decision needs to be reversed.
The Supreme Court can make mistakes and bad decisions just as the President and the Congress can make bad decisions, and bad decisions, like Roe vs. Wade, should be corrected.
The Supreme Court should be willing to admit and correct its errors. Yet, even Supreme Court justices who realize that Roe vs. Wade was a bad decision may be tempted to let it continue for the sake of precedent and for the sake of maintaining an illusion that the Supreme Court does not make mistakes. They may do this because they believe that upholding all past decisions of the Supreme Court will enhance and protect the power and prestige of the Supreme Court.
Every person and every institution makes mistakes, and people respect those who are willing to acknowledge their errors and turn from them.
A most dangerous path for any organization or individual is to have the attitude, "I can't correct my mistakes because I can't admit them in front of others, lest they think I am not perfect. So when I make a decision, I have to stick with it for appearances, even if I find out later I made a bad decision." The foolhardiness of this is obvious.
And in the case of the Supreme Court, it reveals a viewpoint among the judges that their views are above the Constitution, and that the Constitution says whatever the Supreme Court says that it says.
For a Supreme Court to behave as if it can't make mistakes that should be reversed is to try to elevate itself above the human level, which is not only wrong and arrogant, but dangerous. And when Supreme Court justices hesitate to overturn a bad decision made by an earlier Supreme Court because they think that would injure the authority of the Court, they are putting the prestige of the Supreme Court above the authority of the Constitution which they have sworn to protect, uphold, and defend, and that is a violation of their oath of office.
Concern about precedent should not inhibit any justice on the Supreme Court from voting to reverse Roe vs. Wade if that justice can see that abortion rights are not in the Constitution.
The Importance of Reversing Roe vs. Wade
The importance of this issue is obvious. This can mean life or death for millions of children in the future. Yet, even though most do not realize it, there is another aspect of this that may affect everyone in the United States. Our destiny as a nation may be at stake.
Many people in this country believe in God, and most of the founding fathers of this country believed in God. Worship of God was an important factor in the founding and growth of the United States because many people came from other countries to find religious freedom. The acknowledgement of religion and God is in both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
How does God look at abortion?
Bible history shows that God pronounced a punishment upon the ancient peoples of Israel for their sins, and God particularly mentions the shedding of innocent blood as one of those sins (Jeremiah 2:34). You can't get more innocent than an unborn baby who has never had the opportunity to make any choices between right and wrong at all. Repeatedly, God condemns child sacrifice and the killing of the innocent. Ancient nations often sacrificed their born children to pagan idols. How different are we when we sacrifice our unborn children to the god of convenience?
If the God of the Bible is real, and I believe He is, then our nation is in danger of judgment for what we are doing.
The number of unborn children killed in this country is already far greater than the number of Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Some in this country go to great lengths to prevent convicted murderers from being executed, yet think nothing of killing millions who are innocent of any wrong doing. And the number continues to increase.
If we as a nation are to govern ourselves according to the democratic process as intended by the writers of the Constitution, then an issue this important should be decided by the people through their elected representatives, not by seven men on the Supreme Court in 1973 who did not respect the Constitution enough to let themselves be subject to it.
When this country was founded, democracy was viewed by many in Europe and elsewhere as an experiment. Many thought that the people could not rule themselves successfully and would over time give in to their baser motives. It is indeed an experiment, and that experiment is still going on.
It should be the nation's choice. One way or another, it should be the nation's choice. Not the choice of a handful of judges on a court. This issue affects how our nation and people will be judged by generations to come, and it can even affect our destiny as a nation. For something that important, in a democracy, the people should decide. God has given us free moral agency to choose between right and wrong as individuals. We must also choose between right and wrong as a nation.
I believe that Roe vs. Wade will be overturned, and then the decision will shift to the national and state legislatures. When that happens, the abortion issue will become a hotly contested issue as never before, and America will make its choice for better or for worse. But whatever way the nation goes, it will be the choice of the people. We will not be able to say as many of the German people did after World War II, "We are not responsible".
Copyright © 2008 by Raymond Schaefer
Comments and questions are welcome.