|The U.S. Supreme Courts most aggressive
act of raw judicial power, in Justice Byron
Whites phrase, is now a quarter of a century old. It was on
Since that time, about 40 million human lives have been aborted in this country. Thats more than double the population of Australia.
As one who enjoys music, Im haunted by an odd thought. I sometimes wonder if the next Mozart or Gershwin has been aborted. Not that this is the most important thing about those missing lives, but the question makes the real cost of abortion vivid to me.
The Great War, as World
Both the New York Times and the Washington Post chose to mark the silver anniversary of
Neither article mentioned the profit motive, the angle that usually preoccupies these liberal dailies. Abortion providers were portrayed as selfless humanitarians besieged by religious fanatics. They are, in the words of Jack Hitt in the Times, helping another person exercise a constitutional right. Making money apparently has nothing to do with their willingness to do what most doctors shrink from doing.
If you do twelve [abortions] in a row, it can make you feel bad, one abortionist told Hitt. Doing just one would be enough to make some people feel bad, but theres no accounting for taste in these things.
The purpose of legalizing abortion, says Hitt, was to eliminate botched abortions. To that extent, Roe has been successful. So much for the pretense that Roe was an impartial attempt to divine the meaning of the Constitution. It was, as its critics have said all along, a judicial attempt to make public policy masquerading as jurisprudence.
Former Justice Harry Blackmun, author of the majority opinion in Roe, sees the decision as a necessary step on the road to emancipation for women, according to Harold Koh of Yale Law School, who has interviewed Blackmun at length. Like most of his colleagues, Blackmun wasnt embarrassed to tell us what he wanted the Constitution to mean, even if that didnt square with what it had universally been understood to mean. Nor does the sheer number of abortions seem to trouble him, even now.
Of course Blackmun wasnt quite candid enough to say, in that famous majority opinion, that he was consciously advancing his vision of the emancipation of women. You wont find that in the text. Instead, he affected to be interpreting the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments, without respect to his own policy preferences and sympathies. To read that opinion, youd think he was entirely aloof from contemporary trends and fashions, and that it was sort of an accident that the result just happened to coincide with the progressive agenda du jour. How surprised this austere jurist must have been when the Times and Post applauded his ruling!
In the liberal press its the abortion providers and their allies in the judiciary who are morally sensitive, and the anti-abortion protesters who are crude and crass. Those protesters dont rate sympathetic treatment any more than, say, a doomed fetus.
Nor does this press display any sense of loss when that doomed fetus is multiplied by tens of millions. If Shakespeares mom gets an abortion, the only important thing is that shes exercising her constitutional rights.
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