Considerations on Roe v Wade

It was the most disastrous social experiment in our history. No I don’t mean slavery but a far more destructive horror – Roe v Wade – a judicially imposed policy to enlarge “women’s freedom” which in effect claimed over 60 million unborn American lives. Put into context that is roughly 100 lives lost for every single fatality suffered during America’s Civil War, the deadliest conflict in our nation’s history. Just last Friday five justices on our Supreme Court finally recognized the travesty of that Constitutionally flawed decision, laying to rest its blood-stained legacy after 49 long years.

Forty-nine years is itself Biblically significant: seven cycles of seven years each which have transpired between Roe and Dobbs v Jackson. The date of that decision, June 24, was also highly significant for it marked the conjunction of two major feasts in the liturgical calendar ~ The Feast of the Sacred Heart and the Birth of St. John the Baptist. The last time these two feasts fell together was on June 24, 1960, exactly one day after the FDA had approved the first hormonal oral contraceptive, an event which greatly ushered in the sexual revolution. Development of that first oral contraceptive, Enovid, was largely funded by Margaret Sanger and her Planned Parenthood organization. The work itself was performed by Gregory Pincus and Dr. John Rock, an lifelong Catholic who would eventually leave the Church rather than submit to Humanae Vitae which deemed use of the pill for contraceptive purposes to be objectively immoral.

Sandwiched in between those 62 years (1960-2022) separating the conjoined feasts of the Sacred Heart and St. John the Baptist, who leaped for joy in the womb when his own divine kinsman approached him in the maternal womb of the Virgin Mary, one can witness the anti-conception movement known as the sexual revolution. “For in those days they will say, ‘blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.” (Lk. 23:29) And so, over this span of less than one lifetime the sexual revolution has greatly exhausted itself in an orgy of angry, destructive self-indulgence. Rather than enhancing intimacy between men and women this revolution has rejected the bonds of conjugal intimacy and family life for a narcissistic expectation of endless self-gratification, an unrealistic expectation which then morphed into today’s angry resentful brand of feminism which regards human fertility as a curse.

Consequently, in 2022, the hyperbolic pro-abortion rhetoric allows feminists such as vice-president Kamala Harris to absurdly lament in the wake of Dobbs, “Americans no longer have a Constitutional right to an abortion.” Wait a minute! What cereal box did Harris pull her law degree from? Americans never had such a right under this Constitution. That “right” was fabricated out of thin air by seven activist judges in 1973. Abortion is not a “right” embedded anywhere within the Constitution, nor is the so-called “right to privacy” so conveniently discovered by the progressive Warren Court in their 1965 Griswold v Connecticut decision which then became the main legal buttress supporting the 1973 Roe decision.

One right which is clearly enunciated in our Declaration of Independence, and thereby strongly, if implicitly, echoed throughout the Constitution itself is the right to life. Our hope today should be that some future Court will finally recognize that such a right is a fundamental Constitutional protection to which even those conceived, yet unborn, citizens are equally entitled. We have not yet reached that point, but at least today’s Court came to recognize that when the courts take it upon themselves to legislate from the bench such actions only harm and subvert our Constitutional system of government. Dobbs represents a huge step in the laudable direction of reigning in such abuses of judicial power.

The “outcome based” school of jurisprudence which gained traction during the 1960s Warren Court has rolled on like a runaway train for close to 60 years now. It has accomplished little but to constantly whipsaw society by fomenting disunity and confusion. Such is to be expected when the courts set themselves up as political body in their own right rather than acting as the impartial and deliberative arbiters meant to check the overzealous tendencies inherent in the legislative and executive branches of government. Yet in returning to its lawfully prescribed Constitutional function, which is to deliberate according to the Constitution and historic precedents, today’s Court is being accused of rank activism and partisanship. This is rich irony indeed!

Roe was overturned not because conservative justices disliked its conclusions but because those conclusions were based upon a fatally flawed foundation. Roe imitates its equally infamous predecessors Dred Scott (1857) and Plessy v Ferguson (the “separate but equal doctrine” 1896) in that all three based their outcomes on the flimsiest of pretexts. Privacy for example: one is not guaranteed privacy from government purview when filing a tax return, but only when seeking an abortion? Such legal tap-dancing utterly fails the logic test. In overturning Roe the justices deciding Dobbs simply applied the written text of the Constitution in its plain and literal sense. They showed no interest in outcome based jurisprudence but only in a faithful application of the Constitution as written!

How odd it now seems that the same Constitution that once affirmed the right to own slaves somehow neglected to mention the “right” to abort one’s on child, the right to marry someone of the same sex, or even the right to universal healthcare. It neither affirmed nor denied such rights but left these things to be decided in the political arena and legislative bodies – not by some overriding judicial fiat. Roe, in a 1973 dissenting opinion by Justice Byron White, represented “…the exercise of raw judicial power.” Dobbs is not some radical departure from judicial precedent, it is a correction, long overdue, of a reckless and dangerous precedent which Roe intended to establish.

The left has dishonestly portrayed Dobbs as a “stripping away” of some fundamental Constitutional right. It does no such thing. It merely returns the question of abortion to where it had previously resided: in the various state legislatures. Dobbs neither bans nor supports anyone’s ability to procure an abortion. In fact it is agnostic regarding that question. Unlike those judicial activists who arrogate he right to legislate from the bench, today’s Court has faithfully adhered to the Constitutional principle of Federalism as outlined in the 10th Amendment. Roe has been relegated to the dustbin of history precisely because it stood in opposition to, and loudly thumbed its nose at, the Constitution. One or the other was bound to fall, and we should be very thankful that it was Roe that fell in the end.

Francis J. Pierson + a.m.d.g.

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