By Katie Wright
Forty years ago, in one of the most criticized and deplorable displays of judicial lawmaking, the Supreme Court majority closed its ears to the division of a country and to the cries of the unborn and created a monster called Roe v. Wade.
Under the guise of a judge-imagined “right” to privacy, the court tried to destroy the fundamental, God-given right to life.
Of course no one – not even the highest court in the land – can completely destroy a God-given right. This right didn’t come from the court, and the court has no authority to take it away. This simple truth is one of many that the pro-life movement can recognize with confidence.
Four decades after this abysmal decision, here are four more truths we can commemorate even as we mark the anniversary of a dark moment in our history:
Technology is connecting people with the life inside the womb. Forty years ago, Planned Parenthood could lie about “blobs of tissue” and “wads of cells” till it was blue in the face. But of course today the abortion conglomerate suffers almost insurmountable odds in trying to keep the American people from seeing that what it wants to kill are babies. Tiny, perfect, smiling babies with fingers and toes and eyes and ears. With the onset of the 3-D ultrasound and other terrific technological advances, the mystery of life before birth is no longer shrouded in darkness. While the Supreme Court was able to say, “That isn’t a person,” even a small child can look at a 13-week unborn baby kicking inside the womb and say, “That’s a person.”
Young people are recognizing the injustice of abortion. In Time magazine’s cover story on Roe v. Wade earlier this month, the liberal magazine noted soberly that the pro-abortion movement is growing old. Simultaneously, the pro-life movement is growing young. A recent Gallup poll showed support for abortion by young people between the ages of 18-29 declining steadily since 1994. Conversely, those young people who want to see abortion banned in all cases were shown to be increasing steadily. Nancy Keenan, the president of pro-choice NARAL, recalled being haunted by the sight of thousands of pro-life protesters descending on Capitol Hill during the 37th annual March for Life three years ago.
“I just thought, my gosh they are so young,” she said in a now oft-quoted phrase. “There are so many of them, and they are so young.”
We win when people think about it. The analogies between the abortion issue and slavery nearly two centuries ago are striking. One of them, of course, is that the Supreme Court attempted in Roe to “solve” a social divide over civil rights, as it did in 1857 in its despised decision in Dred Scott. Another is that it used the same fictional constitutional right, “substantive due process,” to do so.
But perhaps the most striking similarity is the fact that American abolition was won first on the ideological front, simply by exposing the realities of slavery. Without the devices we have today – Internet, television, mass media – the abolitionists creatively used books (Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”), brochures, drawings and speeches to draw attention to the cruel injustice of slavery. They realized then what we realize today about abortion: We don’t need to “spin” it. We don’t need to hide it, as the other side must. We only need to shed light on it, to let people see it for what it is, to use real words to describe it and real pictures to portray it.
We lose when people close their eyes to it, but we win when people think about it. The other side knows this all too well, and they’re shaking in their shoes because of it.
The Truth is on our side. Hearts change. People change. Laws change. Sometimes in that very order. But the Truth never changes. Human life has always been, and always will be, worth protecting. Those tiny beating hearts that were cruelly stopped, those tiny lungs that never saw their first breath of earthly air – they were always of immense value. Someday, I firmly believe, our society will see it. And then, we will simply say that we recognized it when others didn’t, and we tried to help them see the light. Until then, keep fighting, keep writing, keep talking, keep sharing, and don’t be discouraged. The Truth will win in the end.
Katie Wright is a former city editor and columnist for the Times-Gazette newspaper in southern Ohio. She attends the University of Dayton School of Law. She can be reached at Katie.firstname.lastname@example.org.