In Roe v. Wade the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the right to liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution includes an unstated "right to privacy" that is in turn "broad enough to encompass" a right to abortion (which is also never mentioned in the Constitution) and this entails that states are constitutionally required to permit abortion on demand. Got it?
There was no reason to think the Constitution contains a right to abortion, and every reason to think it doesn't. Most obviously damning are all the state abortion bans enacted in the latter half of the 19th century, about the same time the Fourteenth Amendment was put into place. As Justice William Rehnquist wrote in his Roe dissent, "To reach its result, the Court necessarily has had to find within the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment a right that was apparently completely unknown to the drafters of the Amendment."
The consequence of Roe (and its companion decision, Doe v. Bolton) was a Court-mandated, nationwide policy of abortion on demand at virtually any stage of pregnancy. Thirty-nine years later, this policy has resulted in the legal and deliberate killing of some 53 million unborn human beings. That's 53,000,000 innocent members of the human family.
Abortion, under the Roe policy, is the leading cause of human death. The number of Americans killed because of Roe dwarfs the number of American casualties from every war in our history combined. More Americans die from abortion each day than died on that horrific day in September of 2001.
But those comparisons can be misleading. Abortion isn't death in the service of national defense, freedom and justice, or death as a result of natural causes, like heart disease (as tragic as those deaths are). Abortion is intentional killing for the convenience or supposed benefit of others; it is the elimination of those very young, defenseless and voiceless human beings who get in the way of what we want. Abortion, in other words, is precisely the kind of injustice that our soldiers have fought and died to defeat.
Tomorrow, Jan. 22, is the 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion on demand nationwide. At 2 p.m. we will hold the annual MCCL March for Life at the state capitol in St. Paul. We will commemorate the lives lost and women hurt. We will call for legal protection for unborn children and introduce MCCL's pro-life legislative agenda for the upcoming session. If you live in Minnesota, please join us.