Jan. 22, 2010
Is the unborn child a human life? President Reagan used to say if you were in doubt whether a body you found on the sidewalk was dead or alive, you would never just assume it was dead.
President Obama, by contrast, famously answered Rev. Rick Warrens question about when the unborn child begins to have human and civil rights by saying that question is above my pay grade. But Mr. Obamas policies all assume the body on the sidewalk is dead.
Theres yet another thing you will never learn reading the papers about Roe. Just where were those abortion laws of the fifty states that were struck down by the Supreme Court that dread day? They were not in the family law codes. Nor in the child custody codes. Not in the medical licensing statutes.
The abortion laws of the fifty states were typically found in the Homicide sections.
No state made abortion a homicide in the first degree (pre-meditated murder, to most of
us lay people.) This may have been due to wise 19th century state lawmakers who did not want to prosecute women. And it may have taken account of the difficulty of obtaining convictions where the evidence of the unborn childs body was hard to find.
Still, that these laws were homicide laws tells you volumes. Some of our younger pro-life friends believe that the Court could not have known about the humanity of the unborn child in 1973. Not so. Yes, we know so very much more now. Yes, we have 4D ultra-sound that we did not have then.
But they knew in 1973. Everyone knew. I recall sitting in the Catholic hospital where my mother worked in the late 1960s. Across from me in the waiting room was an expectant Filipino woman. She could hardly speak English, but she wore a tee shirt with an arrow pointing down at her tummy. The tee shirt said: Baby. Everyone knew what that meant.
The state lawmakers knew as early as 1857, when science discovered that human life begins at conception. And every accurate scientific and medical textbook since has acknowledged this inescapable but, to politicians like Al Gore, inconvenient truth:
"The chromosomes of the oocyte and sperm are...respectively enclosed within female and male pronuclei. These pronuclei fuse with each other to produce the single, diploid, 2N nucleus of the fertilized zygote. This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development."
[Larsen, William J. Human Embryology. 2nd edition. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1997, p. 17]
President Obama: I have the honor to present to you the human oocyte and sperm. And they didnt even have to crash your White House dinner. I was introduced to them in high school biology. Sir, I wanted you to meet them.
Since the public has been deliberately misled about Roe v. Wade, it will be necessary to educate people about it. Thats why, when confronted with insistent media questions on overturning Roe v. Wade, I hope the pro-life community will resolutely respond:
Roe overturned all fifty state laws that protected unborn children and their mothers. Roe needs to be corrected.
Overturn is what happens to SUVs in a ditch. Overturn is radical and dangerous. The American people are inherently conservative and reflexively reject that which is radical and dangerous. Liberal activists and journalists know this. Thats why they always frame every question about abortionor at least the ones they lob at pro-life candidatesin terms of overturning Roe.
They know what they are doing. Shouldnt we?