Legal History of Abortion in the U.S.
For centuries, women who wanted to terminate their pregnancies sought out the services of underground practitioners who would accommodate them, with varying levels of care and professionalism. Most societies felt that the taking of an innocent human life was wrong, even a grave wrong from a moral or religious view, so most governments took steps to restrict or abolish the practice, and protect those innocent lives.
The state of Texas had a restrictive abortion law, which dictated that only in the case of danger to the mother’s life would abortion be allowed. The restrictive state law was challenged by “Jane Roe,” who asserted that she should be able to terminate her pregnancy for personal reasons, much broader than those provided under the Texas statute. She sued the District Attorney, Henry Wade, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas agreed with Roe, striking down the restrictive law. The case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and in the seminal case of Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), the Court carved out a new “right” under the U.S. Constitution, holding that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides a fundamental “right to privacy,” which protects a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy.
Legal scholars, across the political spectrum, privately agreed that the Court’s reasoning in Roe v. Wade was constitutionally flawed, and likely could not withstand the rigors of constitutional scrutiny. In other words, a day of reckoning awaited the unconstitutional expansion of rights to one class, to the lethal detriment of another class, granted in Roe. Political conservatives always held the that issue is one reserved to the states by the founders and the constitution, and that each state must deal with the issue as it deals with every other moral or criminal issue—according to the will of the citizens of each state. In that discussion, conservatives felt that the innocent life is human, and must be protected. Liberals felt that the issue should be left entirely up to the individual woman affected by the pregnancy, and that aborting the unborn fetus should be her prerogative, right up until the moment of birth. A great moral, legal and political tug-of-war ensued, wherein opponents of abortion attempted to limit the practice by enacting state restrictions on how far into the pregnancy abortion would be allowed, and liberals fought to keep the practice entirely unshackled from any restrictions.
In the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Mississippi’s 2018 Gestational Age Act, which had banned abortions after 15 weeks, with exceptions only for medical emergencies or fetal abnormalities, the law was challenged by a local abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization as too restrictive. The question was put to the Supreme Court, “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.” Justice Alito wrote the majority opinion of the Court, issued on June 24, 2022, stating therein that Roe and its progeny were “egregiously wrong from the start,” and the underlying reasoning supporting it was “exceptionally weak,” thereby overturning Roe. The practical result of the Roe decision, Alito noted that the Court’s overreaching in that line of cases had “enflamed debate and deepened division,” reasoning that overruling Roe would now “return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Political Implications of Abortion
Indeed, Roe had inflamed debate and deepened division among the American people, with feelings on both sides of the issue running to heated extremes. Leftist groups used the abortion issue to lure female and young voters to support their candidates, chanting incessantly that women must exercise control over their own bodies, and creating euphemisms like “reproductive liberty” to describe the act of ending the viable fetus living in the womb. Although some pro-life protagonists declared that all abortions were unacceptable, under any and all circumstances, most sought to balance the health needs of the mother with the baby’s right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Public polls, however, reflected that most of the country was nowhere near the extremes. Abortion in the case of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life was in danger, was something that most Americans reluctantly supported—even many religious groups. Few, however, supported abortion in the late stages of pregnancy. Most states attempted to regulate abortion past certain points in the pregnancy—the first trimester, for example. More liberal states pushed those boundaries all the way up to the moment of delivery, creating deep resentment among most citizens.
In the aftermath of Dobbs, which ruling had been leaked ahead of the announced decision, abortion advocates vehemently denounced the Court, and swore vengeance in their wrath. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N. Y., pledged violent retaliation as he shouted from the steps, “I want to tell you Gorsuch. I want to tell you Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
This sentiment was carried into the streets, and indeed affected the outcome of the 2022 mid-term elections. Polls had shown Republican candidates making sweeping gains in federal and state elections, but those were pared to a slim majority in the House of Representatives, and failure to take the Senate, by the time the elections were completed.
Democrats are currently whipping up upcoming election support based on the pro-abortion fervor that they hope will continue to grow as election day draws near. Their control of the White House and Senate has left the nation in shambles, with every economic and quality-of-life measurement reflecting in the worst presidential incumbent approval numbers in history. Support for Democrat congressional candidates is gloomy. But abortion—yes, abortion—that’s the winning ticket; in their collective minds, anyway.
Will the abortion issue carry the day for the Democrats in the 2024 elections? Will it still pack the same indignant punch in the minds and hearts of middle-of-the-road voters?
The reality appears to be much different than the promised whirlwind. Women being forced into back-alley abortions as a result of the Court overturning Roe has not materialized. In fact, each state has been deliberating its own abortion policy, deciding it based on local feelings and mores—as they decide most other issues. Most women still have access to an abortion if that’s what they choose, without burdensome hardships heaped on them. It all turned out to be nothing but a poof in the wind, instead of the circling hurricanes predicted by abortion advocates. A nothing-burger.
The Abortion Issue in the 2024 Election
Pro-life forces are still against terminating innocent lives, and pro-abortion forces still stress abortion on demand. The American people are still somewhere in the middle. Political operatives on the left have been ginning up their base with promises that states will deprive them of their “right” to abort their children. Therefore, they must donate generously to Democratic candidates, and support their elections. Some conservative voices have been warning conservative candidates to stay away from the issue to the extent possible, and to take a “reasonable” public stance. Is it possible for a pro-life candidate to say, Okay, go ahead and abort some babies, for the good of our long-term survival as a political philosophy?
Here is some practical advice from someone who believes that terminating a pregnancy is the taking of innocent life. Yes, the “science” confirms that human fetuses are human lives, with organs and brains that function at a viable level. The more mature the fetus becomes, the more viable and alive it is. There’s no escaping that scientific truth. However, in the 2024 election, we are told to be a little more ‘pragmatic’ about the subject. Can I be pragmatic about killing babies? Am I become Hamas? Let us reason a little together.
Who is it that supports abortion? The left. Who is it that receives abortions? Mostly those on the left. Since 1970, approximately 59 million abortions have been performed in America. Most of those were minority babies. Most of those would have become Democratic voters. Those voices were silenced in abortion clinics.
If approximately 50 million potential Democratic Party voters have been removed by the Democrats from the voter polls, why are the Democrats still so keen to abort their babies? It’s political suicide, literally, to support the practice. Do they answer to a higher calling than garnering political power? They do not. Political power is their main focus, and they acquire it through any pretense or device they can contrive. So why do they so fervently support their own suicide? Because their long-term goals are always accomplished through short term gains. Counting the costs has never been the strong suit of the left. They never display any reservations about anything based on its cost. They simply plough the political field to harvest the crop of power, even if they know that field will be destroyed in the process. Burn it to the ground, and rebuild it in our own image, is their philosophy. Run up the debt until the nation is crushed under the weight of interest, and there’s nothing left for social services or welfare programs. It doesn’t matter; as long as they get more power today. This short-sighted methodology dominates leftist thinking, and is destroying everything that made America a great place to live and raise families.
So . . . why do Republicans fight so hard to keep Democrats from aborting their next generation of voters? Why do they fight so hard to preserve tens of millions who would probably end up on public assistance for most of their lives, and criminally victimize one another, as many do in our Democratically controlled cities? Would it not be more expedient for Republicans to just ignore the abortion issue? After all, like so many suicidal dalliances of the left—it’s a problem that eventually resolves itself. Imagine the state of our nation if Roe had never been the law of the land. Tens of millions more Democrat voters would have voted in leftist, Marxist, anti-American candidates, who would have turned the entire nation into downtown Detroit decades ago.
Is there any reason for Republicans to champion the cause of saving these unborn babies? Politically, the answer is no. Let the dead bury the dead. Ethically, morally and religiously, however—yes, there’s the rub. How many babies can we send to the ‘gas chambers’ of the abortion clinic, and still look at ourselves in the mirror? How many are expendable, for our own short-term political gains in the upcoming election?
Indeed, this is a very hard question. We are victims of our own morality, as much as the left are victims of their own godlessness. Pundits tell us to temper our stance, and speak in “reasonable” tones about aborting babies. Is that okay? WWJD? The left tells us that Jesus supports abortion. I can tell you for a fact that He does not. He holds all accountable for this evil and pernicious practice. It would be better, He says, that a millstone were draped around your neck and you were sent to the bottom of the sea, than you should offend an innocent little one.
Walk softly, and carry a big stick. Be as wise as serpents, but harmless as doves. Our nation is at an existential crossroads. This 2024 election will play a great part in determining our future as a constitutional republic; or, a totalitarian state. The stakes have not been so high since the Civil War, and the players are essentially the same as then, with very similar philosophies of governance. It seems that for this election, it is better for all conservative candidates to adopt a “reasonable” position on the issue of abortion, and allow the people to decide which side of the issue they support. Of course, we can teach by example as we do what is right, and how to care for the innocent among us. But perhaps the pundits are correct at this snapshot in time. Perhaps the answer to abortion should be, If leftists want to abort their babies, that’s up to them. We do not see abortion as a birth control device, but if others wish to cut themselves off from the happiness that naturally flows from living the true American dream, then we will not compel them. We will garner for ourselves the liberties that our Founders preserved to us, and create an environment that is hospitable to our children, and nurturing for the future generations of our nation. We may have to collectively bite our tongues, for a season, and perhaps God will forgive us when we are eventually able to cultivate a restored republic and live in peace and prosperity, where children are welcome and cared for by loving parents.