If you’re sitting in a leaky boat, you have a choice: Row vs. wade.
If you row, you have a chance to get to your destination before the boat sinks. If you don’t, your only other choice is to sink, swim or wade to your destination.
There’s a lesson here for one of the greatest issues of our time – abortion and the Roe vs. Wade decision that thrust it upon this nation in 1973.
The pro-abortion crowd has managed to set the terms of debate. They have intimidated the U.S. Senate and a series of presidents into making support of Roe vs. Wade a litmus test for approval of Supreme Court justices and federal judges.
It is the law of the land, they say. Not supporting it is the moral and legal equivalent of not supporting the U.S. Constitution, they contend – perhaps worse.
What Roe does is take the issue of abortion out of the hands of the people and legislatures in all 50 states.
But the reality is that Roe is simply a Supreme Court decision – like hundreds of others that have been overturned in the past. And that’s the way it must be approached by courageous judges and elected representatives in Congress and in legislatures across this country.
In 1973, the Supreme Court found what it said were protections in the U.S. Constitution for the privacy of the mother to make decisions about the life and death of her unborn children. The justices considered this to be an advance for the cause of human rights – one our founding fathers just simply could not have foreseen or understood in different times.
However, what Roe did was effectively block future legislation protecting the inalienable rights of unborn children.
The Roe advocates framed their debate effectively in terms of extending the rights of a class of people – pregnant women. But they did so at the expense of another class of people – unborn babies.
Is it not reasonable to conclude that some legislative body in America in the future might decide that unborn babies are indeed human beings entitled to the life and liberty protections of the Constitution?
Supreme Court Justice Byron White, a dissenter on Roe, recognized this at the time.
“The court,” he wrote, “with scarcely any reason or authority for its actions, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes. The upshot is that the people and the legislatures of the 50 states are constitutionally disentitled to weigh the relative importance of the continued existence and development of the fetus.”
You see, even then it was recognized that constitutional rights were not being extended by the decision, they were being denied.
President Bush says the United States is not ready for a total abortion ban.
“I don’t think the culture has changed to the extent that the American people or the Congress would totally ban abortions,” he explained.
He says opponents of abortion have to first change the “hearts and minds” of their fellow Americans.
But what good is changing the hearts and minds of the people if they have no say in the law?
The culture never was ready to eliminate all laws restricting abortion, but that didn’t stop the Supreme Court from forcing that cultural and social change down the throats of an unwilling public.
Slowly but surely the culture has been pushed by the courts, by the media, by academia and by other cultural institutions to accept abortion on demand. Even so, 30 years after Roe vs. Wade, the nation is basically still split evenly on the issue.
Nevertheless, life is an unalienable right, which means man can’t take it away through laws or through Supreme Court decisions.
Roe vs. Wade is a sham – a house of cards. It was an artificial attempt to make abortion a right by citing a “right of privacy” that is itself nowhere to be found in the Constitution. Roe vs. Wade created rights where none existed and abrogated those that were enshrined as unalienable.
It needs to be challenged head on – legally, morally and politically.
Hearts and minds will follow – as they did in 1973.
It’s time for courageous legislatures – like the one in South Dakota – to stand up for what’s right instead of what’s politically expedient and convenient.
Roe is bad law, and it’s time to take it on, to challenge it, to overturn it. It’s time to appoint justices to the court who say it is wrong and know how to defend their positions. It’s time to elect legislators who understand judges can’t tell them what to do. It’s time to elect governors who will be champions of the rights of unborn children. It’s time to follow the Constitution, not rewrite it. It’s time to stand up for what’s right – boldly and unashamedly.
It’s time to get back in the boat and start rowing.