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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Roe? Privacy? Not so much.

Today marks the 40th anniversary of one of the greatest travesties of law yet seen by the United States Supreme Court: Roe v. Wade.

I don't call it a travesty because I disagree with the concept of an unwritten but implied right to privacy - in fact, the context and the text of the entire Bill of Rights suggests exactly that. When you combine the 4th Amendment (a right to keep your home and property private in regards to unwarranted search and seizure) and the 5th Amendment (a right to keep information private, especially in regards to confidences that may incriminate you), it's clear that the founders believed that some things were to remain private. Add in the 9th and 10th Amendments that allude to "other rights" that belong to both the sovereign states and the individual citizens that are not specifically enumerated, and the concept of an absolute "right to privacy," especially within one's home or marriage relationship, is hardly a stretch.

But Roe has very little to do with privacy.

First, the entire case was predicated on lies. Both of the women whose cases were conjoined when they were heard by the Supreme Court, claimed falsely that they had been raped. Both of those women now regret that they were ever a part of the court case that made them famous. Both of those women routinely speak at pro-life events to this day.

Second, the case hides behind the "right to privacy" while creating a singular lack of privacy. A woman's "right" to keep her reproductive choices (which is not at all what Roe guarantees, but I'll get to that) is theoretically at issue - but in order for her to enact her choices, she must include at least one doctor, counselor, receptionist, and presumably her partner as well.

But now, let's talk about what Roe really decided. The way the law was written makes it abundantly clear that "a woman's right to choose" was not at all what the Justices had in mind. The law clearly states that, since the mother's health is the only justifiable reason for terminating an otherwise healthy pregnancy, the decision to terminate is one that should be made by a physician - and the law further stipulates that the opinion of two physicians rather than one is preferable.

So according to Roe, a "woman's choice" is always secondary to the official recommendation of a physician.

Next, if you read the language of Roe, it is also clear that the Justices never intended that decision to justify abortions outside of the first trimester. Prior to the twelfth week of pregnancy, the woman is referred to as simply "the woman." In every reference made after the twelfth week, she is instead referred to as "the mother."

A final thought, quoted from my own post in February of last year:
Now consider this: if a baby is born at twenty-eight weeks gestation and the mother asks to have him killed, she will likely be placed in the psych ward. If that same baby is carried to term and the mother opts to abort two weeks prior to the due date, in some states she can even get financial assistance to do so. What is the difference between the two babies? Physical location at the time of the act.

If you read up on current literature and arguments being put forth, very few people actually argue whether or not the unborn is a child. *They don't care.* Many of them argue that whether or not the baby is alive is irrelevant because the Supreme Court gives them the "right" to abort *in spite of* the personhood of their child. In much the same way slave owners felt they could beat or kill their “property,” abortion advocates feel their “privacy" allows them to use the unborn's physical location as a justification for free reign to murder.



Consider the images you see above. An unborn child at 20 weeks has fully formed facial features, genitalia, fingers and toes. She has fully functioning stomach, kidneys and bladder, and has had a beating heart for months. She can suck her thumb, somersault, kick, and grab. The movement of her fingers through her liquid environment is forming the unique ridges on each of her fingertips that will become fingerprints, in the same way that a long bath forms wrinkles in human skin after birth.

And for 40 years now, in the United States of America, it has been legal for the woman carrying her to kill her - sometimes for reasons as trivial as "convenience."

1 comment:

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