The recent overturning of Roe v. Wade was a bit anti-climactic given that the adjudication intentions of the SCOTUS had been leaked earlier. While it was a victory for pro-livers, it was hardly the monumental happening you might think based upon the reactions of the dissenting population.
It’s fairly easy to celebrate a small victory against a moral travesty like nationally legalized abortion, but it was also a victory for the constitutional process. Credibility and legitimacy are being restored to SCOTUS adjudication by overturning a decision that always lacked a firm constitutional basis.
We have had decades of justices making decisions based on personal activism, emanations from penumbras and particular insights gained from wearing “Alice in Wonderland” spectacles. Decisions of philosopher-kings who were seemingly mentored by the tandem of Lewis Caroll and George Orwell. Stare Decisis as a legal doctrine shouldn’t and hasn’t historically been used as a crutch to sustain unjust or poorly adjudicated decisions.
I recall that as recently as 1993, both my late wife and I declared ourselves pro-choice. We shared the same self-righteous rational. Neither of us approved of abortion ourselves, but we reasoned that we couldn’t make this decision for others, or force our beliefs on them.
I didn’t hold that position much longer however. Someone presented me with a line of reasoning that I thought was parallel to abortion. It went back to the debate about slavery before the Civil War, between Douglas and Lincoln. Douglas had no moral qualms against slavery and though it was an issue for each state to decide.
Supposedly Lincoln’s position rested on a moral premise. The virtue inherent in having any right to choose ultimately depends on the thing being chosen. If African-Americans were human beings, then having the authority and choice to enslave them could be nothing less than a monstrous evil.
Going back to my original position of pro-choice, I, nor anyone else would ever argue that “I don’t condone slavery but I can’t impose my beliefs on others who want to own slaves.” Likewise, if abortions ends innocent human lives, then the right to life trumps anybody’s so-called right to choose. If someone is genuinely agnostic on the point at which life begins, then they ought to behave like someone who actually doesn’t know, erring on the side of utmost caution. I don’t think that if one truly ”believes in science," the evidence is all that ambiguous.
Back when I held to my pro-choice position, I was so naive about political narratives that I thought abortion arguments were all just honest disagreements regarding when life begins. If someone had said to me back then that opposition to abortion was really just about asserting a patriarchal hegemony to subjugate women, I would have thought it was a parody piece from a publication a la the Babylon Bee.
It should be noted that there is really no “pro-choice” position concerning abortion anyway. There is a hard and soft position in favor of abortions that, perhaps runs on a spectrum. Some may support abortions, but place some arbitrary prohibition on late-term abortions, or take a position similar to the one I took. Then there are those who will be willing to wear an abortion pride T-shirt. A genuine pro-choice position would require that there existed a faction, which at some point opposed the right of women to birth more children, such as, say, China’s former one child policy. We have no such faction in this controversy. Pro-choice is at best soft pro-abortion.
If there was nothing else to push me over the top, I would quickly point to the demeanor and antics of those purporting to support women’s rights. The same people who complained about pro-life protesters picketing with pictures of aborted babies. The insistence that a person without uterus has no say, strikes me as parallel to arguing that if one has never engaged in armed combat, they can’t protest against the evils of war.
Roe v Wade was built on a mountain of deceit and deception. It disproportionately negatively impacted the black population. in addition, women were kept in the dark by not being allowed to view the sonograms of their developing children, so as to decide for themselves about the humanness of what was in their wombs.
Roe v. Wade was overturned, but it was nearly 50 years of travesty that never should have been.© Robert Meyer
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