In the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision to overturn the 1973 Supreme Court decision emotions are high regardless of which side of the matter you are on.
There is elation on the side of those who support the right to life of the unborn after a 50 year fight to have it overturned and fierce anger on the side of those who support what they had come to believe is a woman’s constitutional right to choose whether or not to carry and give birth or abort a pregnancy.
As I watched a press conference Saturday afternoon it seemed as if the decision was made to punish and undermine all women for political reasons if you only listened to the responses expressed by the women speaking. From the Tennessee capitol building steps Democratic candidates for office railed as if the decision had taken a constitutional right from all women.
On the other hand, as I watched the twitter feeds and various posts of pro-life supporters it almost appeared as if the reaction was what it might be had the decision abolished abortion altogether.
In truth, both of these reactions seem to be missing the point of the decision and the actual impact that will come as a result.
In reality, this 2022 Court has simply made right a wrong that was put in place when the 1973 Court interpreted language in Amendment XIV of the Constitution connecting the right to privacy with the plaintiff’s desire to obtain an abortion. Having read and reread the Amendment again and again and I cannot find language that establish a fundamental right to arrange or perform an abortion. It simply is not there.
Removing the emotion from the subject on both sides allows us to more clearly recognize that this decision neither eliminates the right of a woman to choose abortion nor does it abolish abortion. What it does do is follow the specific direction of Amendment X of the Constitution, which reads “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Given that the government is not empowered anywhere in the Constitution to grant the right to secure an abortion the matter is therefore rightly reserved to the States.
Add then the reference in the 1973 decision to the fact that Justice Blackmon leaned on the lack of clarity regarding when life actually began to support their deliberations and opinion. Since that time medical advancements regarding the question of when life begins have established clinically that life begins at conception it seems sensible that we take this opportunity to reconsider our positions on the matter socially and morally.
Does anyone find it upsetting to hear elected officials now announcing refusal to prosecute laws made by States denying a fundamental right to abortion and candidates for office claiming they will resist and ignore any such laws. Our republic must rely on law and order to succeed.
In those states where laws outlawing abortion will be passed there is a great deal of work to be done around the matter. We cannot simply say you cannot have an abortion……we must have services in place for educational support so that more young women will be well enough informed that they are clear they are making a choice that may mean pregnancy for them……medical support for their health care, emotional support for their uncertainty and concerns, adoption support should they choose to give their child to a couple more prepared to raise it. This work has already begun but more will be needed. Those women who choose life for their unborn child will need and will deserve support to navigate their circumstance. We need to perfect the medications that actually prevent a pregnancy in the case of rape and incest. We need to recognize that cases where the mother’s life is in danger is not considered abortion because it is based upon medical advice that there is risk to the mother’s life should the pregnancy continue rather than a decision for comfort or convenience.
My deepest hope is that more and more women will become educated on the beginning of life and come to the conclusion that I have…..that young women need to learn self-respect and that there are results from choices they make……. that it is a woman’s obligation to be responsible for the choices she makes in life and that ultimately women will realize that God gives the right to life to us all and we as a civil and moral society do not take a life because it is inconvenient or does not fit into our plans……when that time comes, we must be prepared to support all facets of the experience. In fact, there may even be more work to be done in this regard in the states that make abortion legal.
For me, a life, once conceived, deserves to be protected and allowed to grow and flourish. All care must be taken to prevent unwanted pregnancies in advance and the chances of that are much greater if our society does not make it acceptable to take the life of an unborn child. Is it any different than making it acceptable to take the life of a spouse or an elderly parent who is no longer productive or anyone for that matter who makes your life difficult or causes you to change your plans? We just don’t do that! So, I cannot make it acceptable to destroy the life of an unborn child who if left alone can become you or me.
In conclusion I offer you my personal experience. In my early 40’s my husband and I tried several different approaches to conceive and have a child. After several early-stage miscarriages, I established a viable pregnancy at 12 weeks. At 14 weeks I miscarried again. I will never forget that night…..severe cramping woke me and sent me into the bathroom, I was bleeding quite a bit and as I sat on the commode I felt something pass and as I stood up I witnessed the horror of what was my baby having detached and passed. I was never able to conceive after that.
Some years later I met and became close friends with a young man whom I admire and respect deeply. He seems to be a shining star preparing to fly and a very special human being. I discovered that he was adopted and that his birth mother was on her way to an abortion clinic when his now adopted mother offered to take the baby to raise if she would allow the pregnancy to go to term. The thought that this young man would not exist had his birth mother elected to continue with her plans and would not be here to contribute to this world still affects me profoundly.
Where can we go from here…..can we find common ground where we can approach resolutions to the age old problem of unwanted pregnancies that does not have to involve killing a baby? I think we can!
Senator Amy Klobuchar tweeted a couple of weeks ago “this should not even be a discussion” I tweeted back to her “you are right….it shouldn’t!” I pray for the day when we can tweet that and mean the same thing.