How Killing Became a Right
January 15, 2002
decades ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that abortion is constitutionally
protected. Ostensibly libertarian, the ruling was actually one of the most
tyrannical acts in American history.
What greater power can the state claim than
the power to redefine human life itself to withdraw protection from an
entire category of human beings? And what greater power could the Federal
Government usurp than the power of the individual states to protect innocent life
from violent death?
The pro-abortion movement has been
consistent only in its inconsistency. It began by agreeing with its opponents that
abortion was wrong, but arguing that abortion, when banned by law,
happens anyway and could be better regulated made
safe if legalized. Of course this could be said of any crime:
murder, burglary, and incest, though banned by law, happen anyway.
Should they too be legalized?
Later the pro-abortion propaganda apparat
took a new position: that when life begins is a religious question,
beyond the competence of the state to decide. Oddly enough, my Darwinian
public-school biology teachers used to answer the question without consulting
their Bibles: life began at conception. Frog life, bovine life, human life. But in
those days nobody had any axes to grind, so nobody denied or evaded the obvious.
When does life begin? became a mystery only with the emergence of
a political interest in killing the unborn.
Still later, the pro-abortion alias
pro-choice crowd decided that abortion, far from being a
necessary evil, was a positive good, which the state should not only tolerate but
support, encourage, subsidize, maximize. Taxpayers should be forced to pay for
abortions. They should have no more choice than the child.
How did the pro-abortion position evolve from
the necessary evil position to the positive good position? Easy. The Court
arbitrarily ruled that the U.S. Constitution shelters abortion. Did the Court cite any
passage in the Constitution saying so? No. Did it find any evidence that the
Framers hoped to protect abortion? No. Did it name any justice of the Court, even
the most liberal, who had ever claimed constitutional protection for abortion
before 1973? No. It merely discovered, all of a sudden, that the abortion laws of
all 50 states had been violating the Constitution all along, even when nobody
This fantastic ruling generated a
new debate about the original intent of the Constitution. Liberals
argued that original intent didnt matter or was unknowable
anyway. The Constitution didnt have a single fixed meaning; it
evolved over time. Any interpretation was bound to be more or less
subjective yet somehow the Courts subjective
rulings had the binding force of law.
This amounted to saying that the Constitution
means whatever todays liberal interpreters choose to say it means. If that
were so, there would be no point in having a written constitution, or for that
matter any written law. We would be defenseless against legal sophistry,
especially the sophistry of self-aggrandizing power. Thats the perfect
prescription for tyranny, the opposite of the rule of law.
Anti-abortion forces thought they had a
winning issue when they raised the subject of the agony the aborted child may
suffer, as rendered visible in films of aborted fetuses. The pro-abortion crowd
replied when they didnt just ignore the question that
nobody really knew whether abortion caused pain. But when the issue of late-term
(or partial-birth) abortion emerged, it transpired that they
didnt care at all whether a fully developed baby suffered when its skull
was crushed and evacuated.
The Court agreed. It had originally made
quibbling distinctions among first, second, and third trimesters of pregnancy,
holding that a state might protect a child in the third trimester, when it had
achieved viability and was capable of living outside the womb. But
now the viability pretext was discarded. Killing the unborn was constitutionally
protected at every stage between conception and live birth.
Right from the start, the pro-abortion
movement has been defined by shifting arguments, fallacies, evasions, lame
excuses, and utter bad faith. The Court has not only acted as part of that
movement, but has been its greatest asset, sparing it the need for persuasion by
imposing its arbitrary will on the entire United States and in the name of
the Constitution it actually despises.