Roe v Wade should be the law of your conscious, not the law of the land.
The Supreme Court has been asked in the past (Webster case) to overrule Roe v. Wade., and thus reverse the decision that a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion. In reaching these decisions, the justices have made, in my humble view, an error of omission in not dealing with the implicit acceptance of balancing individual rights with the “interest” of the state. On the face of matters, as a result of both Roe and Webster, abortion is, at present, a constitutionally protected right and therefore ranting to the contrary is nothing more than a reflection of moral or ethical confliction.
What “Conservative” pundits, and the evangelical crowd in general, totally refuse to admit is that Roe was right in its result, but horrible in its reasoning. Moreover, these very same right to life evangelists make great haste to point out their support for individual rights in the realm of gun control, free speech, illegal searches and seizures, etc., yet would deny a woman the same class of individual rights. What they would deny a pregnant women on Sunday they, themselves, demand be theirs in their talk shows on Monday. Their position is that there is no right to an abortion, neither constitutionally (at the state or federal level) or individually.
Yet, the conclusion reached by the Supreme Court, that a woman does have a right to determine whether to abort her pregnancy, was correct in my view – as far as that goes, and per se, because it is a clear implication that we do, indeed, have individual inalienable rights. That the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are not just clichés but are, in fact, absolutes. That it is true that the individual is not subordinated to the “interest”of the state, or any other governmental entity, philosophy, or religious creed. That, in fact, a right is a moral principle that delineates, provides for, and authorizes your and my freedoms as we interact socially and that the sole moral purpose of government is to protect and defend that right and those freedoms.
However, that was not the upshot of the court. Roe v. Wade held that “state interest,” not individual rights per se, justify interfering with a woman’s right and that the state has the power to control her body; either for her benefit, or for the benefit of a fetus. Webster went so far as to find the court focusing on how and when the right should be upheld (created out of whole cloth in the minds of some) and how it should be constrained to enhance the “state interest” in the mother, or the potential human life in her belly. The result was clear: the state can regulate abortion, with the clear implication that the aforementioned rights as envisioned and written by our Founding Fathers are not absolute. Roe and Webster placed yet another layer of dirt on the grave of the unique American idea that the state ought to by reason, and compelled by The Declaration and Constitution, be subordinated to the individual.
This assumption that rights may be usurped for “state interest” leaves me utterly cold. The question that is left is to what degree will this right, or any right, then be subject to limitation due to “state interest?” The First Amendment, which grants me the right to write and express this opinion, or the Second Amendment that requires that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms shall not be infringed are right and proper not just because they happen to be explicitly stated, but rather because they are a reflection of the necessities required for man to succeed in his pursuits of life, liberty, happiness and holding property – what the founders knew to be the key features of the natural state of man. These explicit rights should not be infringed, but the results of what the court has done with regard to abortion draws into question the absolute nature one would ascribe to them. Add to this conclusion, the fact that there is no specific mentioning of abortion in the U.S. Constitution, that, in fact, it is profoundly a right reserved to the states, or (I would argue) to the individual as prescribed by the 10th Amendment. That those rights reserved are actually MORE precious and now clearly in peril is the dangerous slippery slope the court has slid down, and we end up in a very bad place both logically and morally.
In my view, abortion is a right that cannot be “balanced” away. That the basic rule for survival on earth is that man must be free to use his rational mind to build, keep and enjoy his life. A pregnant woman has the individual, natural, right to determine her own destiny and the destiny of her body (which clearly includes anything growing in it); to choose what constitutes her own best interest and private happiness and to work for its achievement, so long as she respects the same rights in the others whom she must deal with in society. Inalienable rights must, by their implicit meaning, be kept absolute lest we open the pandora’s box and find not hope, but tyranny…
One cannot conclude that it is correct for the state to be in a position to negotiate moral principles or to limit the freedom and liberty you or I require by our nature. It is not for me, and therefore cannot be for the state either, to condone or condemn someone else’s having an abortion – even in the last months of pregnancy. In this way, it should be clear that the Supreme Court should function to protect rights and not to impose their moral standard when there is no violation of the rights of others. What may indeed be a right, may very well create a moral dilemma, but that must be a matter reserved for the individual as I believe was the clear intentions of our Founding Fathers.
The only proper function of government, as stated so eloquently by Ludwig von Mises, “is solely and exclusively in guaranteeing the protection of life, health, liberty, and private property against violent attacks. Everything that goes beyond this is an evil.” Society, as such, cannot have an “interest” separate from those who make up the society – society is not an individual, rather it is composed of individuals. Therefore, those who lay claim to carry the weight of society and speak for it are simply exhibiting irrationality beyond the pale and motivated by power lust.
I believe our Founding Fathers in crafting The Declaration, The Articles, and The Constitution understood clearly the fundamental principle of government being subordinated to the individual. It is THE unique American idea. Everything else follows from that principle. The Constitution is supposed to prevent an invasion of individual rights by the government – any government. As a consequence it is, by design, a limited form of government. I would argue the framers clearly desired in crafting the 10th Amendment that that people must be free to act by virtue of their conscious, without permission of the federal government or their state, in areas outside the scope of the government’s specified (explicit) powers.
Understanding the the unique American idea brings this matter to a close. If and when Roe v. Wade is reviewed by the Supreme Court, I believe they should clearly and unequivocally throw down Roe v. Wade yet simultaneously affirm abortion as protected uniquely as a natural right of the people that cannot be regulated, paid for, or otherwise intruded upon by either the Federal Government, or the States. It is a matter, like many, that ought to be left to the people, and in this case a woman, her doctor, and to whomever or whatever she may pray.