A SAD AND SHAMEFUL ANNIVERSARY.
--Justice Byron White dissenting in Roe v. Wade
January 23, 1973, is a shameful and a sad date. Shameful, because on that day the Supreme Court arrogantly took away what is "endowed by the Creator," the "unalienable" right to life of every human being. And sad, because our country has not yet rectified this outrage. Instead of the "self-evident Truths" in the Declaration of Independence, it is the Court's dishonest verdict that rules the land.
When the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions were first announced, many pro-lifers thought that this miscarriage of justice would soon be erased from the books. Law professors on both sides of the abortion issue criticized the decisions' lack of a constitutional foundation and their legal brutishness. And ordinary citizens, too, were outraged by the obvious injustice perpetrated by the Court.
Yet the court-imposed right to abortion is still on the books. Roe and Doe may be frayed at the edges, but this revolting product of the Court's "raw judicial power" is still intact. In fact, Roe v. Wade has already lasted much longer than its counterpart from the 19th century, the Dred Scott v. Sanford decision justifying slavery in 1857.
The first problem was that most law professors and members of the legal profession sat on their hands instead of loudly protesting the violence done to the Constitution and the law in general. Many, unfortunately, were glad that the Court legalized abortion on demand, even though they might have been squeamish about the unconstitutional means of imposing the invented "right."
The second problem was that Congress, the "voice of the people," was tongue-tied. The Democratic leadership in Congress simply caved in to the demands of radical feminists who had gained influence within the Democratic Party as a result of the disastrous "McGovern reforms" of the party rules.
The third problem was, of course, that "ordinary citizens" who actually were outraged by the Court's ghastly verdict represented a relatively small group of informed pro-lifers, not yet well organized. Most "ordinary citizens" were (and still are) pro-life but they were neither informed about the truly radical nature of the Court's decision nor organized. Hence they did not join in the opposition over the Court's verdict, even though they showed a growing restiveness about the practice of abortion itself.
There are several reasons why pro-life opposition did not reach "critical mass" in the early seventies.
Even before Roe v. Wade, pro-abortionists and their friends in the mass media had begun to make religion, specifically Catholicism, the issue instead of abortion. Keeping and making abortion on demand illegal was hysterically equated with "imposing Catholicism on this country"--a crass appeal to anti-Catholic bias. Wherever pro-lifers marched or picketed in public, the TV cameras would zoom in on the few priests and praying nuns participating in the rally. The message was clear: the Catholics are threatening your "rights." They later used the same technique to make the beliefs of "conservative Christians" the issue rather than abortion itself.
Next, again with enthusiastic help of their friends from the media and the judicial bench, the pro-abortionists made "choice" and the rights of the woman rather than killing an innocent child the overriding issue. Roe v. Wade blandly stated, "We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins"--and promptly decided that an unborn child's life can be terminated in a "private" act. Over time, slippery pro-abortion politicians changed their tune from "I'm personally opposed to abortion but..." to "I support a woman's right to choose"--carefully avoiding what the "choice" actually was.
The single most important reason, though, why Roe v. Wade didn't collapse under the weight of its constitutional, logical, and moral defects is that the public never understood what the decision really meant. And for that you can blame foremost the "institutional media."
The New York Times, supposedly America's newspaper of record ("all the news that's fit to print"), year after year would write that the Court legalized abortion in the first three months of a pregnancy--carefully avoiding the radical scope of Roe and Doe: abortion on demand for the full nine months as long as the woman found a willing abortionist. That apparently wasn't "fit to print." Repeated written requests by NRLC's staff to correct the Times's misleading characterization were met with the response that its reporting was truthful. Unfortunately it was only a small part of the truth.
Selective reporting like this (and much worse) throughout the media cemented in the public's mind the misconception that abortion occurs only in rare, extreme cases for serious medical reasons. Pro-lifers correctly claiming that abortion on demand was the law of the land were characterized by the media monopoly as women-hating extremists.
Now, just think how much worse things would be if there were no National Right to Life Committee, ranked among the top 10 lobbying groups in the nation's capital; if evangelicals and other non-Catholic groups hadn't joined the pro-life movement; if pro-lifers hadn't flexed their political muscle and defeated the so-called "Freedom of Choice Act"; if we hadn't forced the pro-abortionists to defend the indefensible and exposed their fundamental dishonesty with our campaign to ban partial-birth abortions.
Just think what would happen if phony campaign finance "reform" would be allowed to silence our voice and give the institutional media airtight control over the information stream.
The fact is, today the pro-life movement is much stronger than in 1973. Our opponents know that. That's why they want to silence us. You and I won't let them. They must fear theirs is a lost cause. >TXIt is.>EN
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|Title Annotation:||Roe v.Wade case, 1973|
|Publication:||National Right to Life News|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2000|
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