Roe v. Wade Destroys Democracy, Dignity

THE ‘ON FAITH’ QUESTION John McCain and Sarah Palin say it’s time to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme … Continued

THE ‘ON FAITH’ QUESTION

John McCain and Sarah Palin say it’s time to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Do you agree? What is the right moral choice?

As a woman and a lawyer, I agree with Alice Paul – the author of the original Equal Rights Amendment – who observed that “abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women.” But one need not agree with my view that abortion is a violation of the human right to life in order to agree with John McCain and Sarah Palin’s position that Roe v. Wade must be overturned, returning the abortion issue to the individual states. As champions of democracy by the people and for the people, McCain and Palin understand that the issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat.

McCain and Palin are also correct in pointing out that the reversal of Roe v. Wade would be only the first step in the long path toward ending the violence of abortion. As they explain on their website, “Once the question is returned to the states, the fight for life will be one of courage and compassion – the courage of a pregnant mother to bring her child into the world and the compassion of civil society to meet her needs and those of her newborn baby.”

At the core of this issue is John McCain’s commitment to nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench. And on this issue, McCain and Palin are in the company of many scholars who support legalized abortion but recognize that imposing it through the Supreme Court violates basic principles of federalism.

Cass Sunstein, a professor at Harvard Law School and an informal adviser to the Obama campaign, recently wrote that “[a]s it was written in 1973, Roe v. Wade was far from a model of legal reasoning, and conservatives have been correct to criticize it. The court failed to root the abortion right in either the text of the Constitution or its own precedents.” Sunstein acknowledged that the Roe court “ruled far too broadly,” by taking “the highly unusual step of setting out a series of rules for legislatures to follow.” “It is no wonder,” Sunstein recognizes, “that millions of Americans felt, and continue to feel, that the court refused to treat their moral convictions with respect.”

McCain and Palin recognize that the moral convictions of Americans on both sides of the issue deserve the respect of healthy debate in the public square and final resolution in the halls of our legislatures. They believe in the democratic process.

But the lack of respect that the Supreme Court showed for democracy and the moral convictions of Americans will seem miniscule next to the lack of respect that Barack Obama has in mind in his plans to nullify hundreds of common sense abortion regulations with one stroke of his pen.

At a Planned Parenthood rally last year, Obama pledged that as president, he would sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). FOCA would codify Roe nationwide, and effectively repeal each and every law regulating abortion, including partial birth abortion bans, bans on tax-payer funded abortions, laws that require parental notice for minors seeking abortion, laws that protect healthcare providers’ rights of conscience, and even laws that require that women be given informed consent materials about the medical dangers of abortion.

“If passed and signed into law, FOCA would codify a woman’s right to abortion and strike down a host of federal and state restrictions,” explains the National Organization for Women.

John McCain and Sarah Palin oppose these blatant attacks on the rights of Americans to govern themselves and decide the protections due to the least amongst us through the democratic process. Whether the assault comes from the Supreme Court or the White House, the destructive effects of Roe on our democracy and our human dignity must end.

Dorinda C. Bordlee is Vice President & Senior Counsel of Bioethics Defense Fund, a public-interest law firm dedicated to advocating for the human right to life through litigation, legislation and public education.

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  • Paganplace

    Oh, can we *get off it, already?* Pretending single-issue politics is where we need to be looking at right now is just for profit-driven news agencies to try and game it out so the ‘horse race’ keeps us all glued to the sets by being scary and close as possible. First things first. How we gonna *feed our kids,* *House them.* Promise them a future. Maybe you ‘Pro-lifers’ will get your way after all. No one could *pay* for abortions, never mind prenatal and child care, at this rate, however desperate you make circumstances by voting for corporate Religious right candidates anyway.Maybe you can *feel* all righteous, then. Just don’t look in the trash bins.

  • Paganplace

    BTW:”McCain and Palin recognize that the moral convictions of Americans on both sides of the issue deserve the respect of healthy debate in the public square and final resolution in the halls of our legislatures. They believe in the democratic process.”*No, they *don’t.* * You hearing any ‘debate’ coming out of Ms Abstinence-Only-With-An-Unmarried-Pregnant-Teen-Daughter? No. She can’t even answer questions about ‘Do you have any business whatsoever being a heartbeat away from the nuclear codes, Ms Down-Home Apocalypse? They’re just trying to ‘pull to the Right’ in hopes they can get more votes for the richest to keep exploiting the people that *do* exist. As long as people don’t look at the ripoffs and get all self-righteous about failed policies that just happen to unacceptably dehumanize women. Especially those who ain’t as rich as Palin.Forget about it.

  • Farnaz

    Guess what? There is nothing reminiscent of logic here. Following your line of reasoning we may ask, why not put the right to vote in the hands of the states? Truth be told, though, my annoyance comes from elsewhere. I am heartily sick of McCainites who dwell on abortion rather than address themselves to our sick economy and murderous foreign policy.I hate to tell you this, Dorinda, but pro-lifers aren’t idiots and many know that the endless recycling of this issue is meant to divert them from the more pressing questions they face. For example, how will I pay for groceries this week?

  • sparrow

    Why is this blatantly political kiss ass for Palin/McCain here? If those two words weren’t in every single sentence (I mean can we get anymore brown nose?) maybe it would be a worthy bit of writing but puhlease! Jeez, On faith- why didn’t you just let this person pay for an ad? There isn’t even an attempt to write a thoughtful, intelligent, discussion of issues- how craven can Ms. Dorinda be? Very it seems.

  • Anonymous

    Abortion remains a literal life and death issue for the millions of children who get aborted in the name of “right” and “privacy.”Statistics show that close to 98%, yes 98% of abortions are abortions of convenience, done by women who can afford the child. In the richest and most powerful country in the world, that should come as a surprise. Yet, pro-abortionists continue to harp on and focus entirely on the 2%, yes ONLY 2% of abortions which are justifiable from the point of medical ethics, illness in the mother, fetal deformities, including incest and rape.

  • Anonymous

    Only very rarely do rapes lead to a pregnancy, since there are many factors that influence pregnancy and all the factors rarely come together within the time frame of a single intercourse. The extreme emotional trauma to the woman becomes an additional factor that does not favor pregnancy.It is humane to spare the woman additional trauma by forcing her to carry a child to term, for the well being of the mother is also vital to the well being of the child. In such a case abortion can be induced at the earliest possible time, even as early as preventing implantation of the zygote (fertilized ovum).Similarly in incest there is a humanitarian consideration. The chances of a child born with genetic defects is higher, and the emotional stress to the woman who has been forced into the situation is legitimate.In incest and rape we are dealing with sexual intercourse against the will of the woman and serious psychological trauma caused without her consent.The option for abortion in such cases should be covered by law.As to physical illness in the mother (which threaten her life) and fetal abnormalities (which seriously threaten the quality of life of the child), one can consider “mercy killing” without denying the fact that it is killing. The obstetrician is withing the bounds of his professional ethics to opt for abortion in such cases.But abortion for convenience, which is the case in 98% of cases, it is a different matter altogether. It is total moral bankruptcy to permit abortion as the right of the mother without taking into consideration the existence of an independent human being developing within her womb, for whose coming into existence she is directly responsible. The man ought to be held responsible too, but it should not be forgotten that the woman consented to the sex knowing that her biology makes her different in relation to reproduction.The Constitutional Court of Germany has come up with a wonderful solution to the great moral conflict and satisfies all parties (except the child), at least legally. Abortion remains unconstitutional but it is permitted as a non-punishable offense when certain criteria is met.This issue has been discussed at length elsewhere on this forum on and off for the past three months or longer. It might be worth the while of anyone interested in this topic to read the arguments and counter arguments on the blogs of the following panelists:Catholic America, Professor Anthony Stevens-ArroyoFr Thomas Reese SJProfessor Mark John ReynoldsCharles “Chuck” ColsonSusan Jacoby

  • Anonymous

    It should come as a consolation that contraception, although not 100% reliable works in nearly 86% of cases. That means only 16% of the time is pregnancy in spite of correct use of contraceptives.Comprehensive sex education should be made mandatory in all schools and in every home schooled program. Sex education should include besides merits of abstinence before emotional maturity and contraceptives to prevent STD and pregnancy, the basics of human embryology, not in great detail as basic medical science but as basic scientific information on human development in the womb.

  • Anonymous

    Matt Maher: “We need to show love to someone who is struggling to love themselves, so they can love the child growing inside of them. It is a failure for democracy when we can’t even debate the real issues of politics, because we are spending our time fighting for ones who can’t.”Statistics show that 98%, yes 98%, of all abortions performed in the US are abortions of convenience, chosen by women who can afford the child. In the richest country in the world, it makes perfect sense that not many women would be so utterly poor as to not afford a child. The problem is that the child comes at a time when the woman doesn’t want it.

  • Anonymous

    Matt Maher: “We need to show love to someone who is struggling to love themselves, so they can love the child growing inside of them. It is a failure for democracy when we can’t even debate the real issues of politics, because we are spending our time fighting for ones who can’t.”Statistics show that 98%, yes 98%, of all abortions performed in the US are abortions of convenience, chosen by women who can afford the child. In the richest country in the world, it makes perfect sense that not many women would be so utterly poor as to not afford a child. The problem is that the child comes at a time when the woman doesn’t want it.The last sentence in your essay seems to be almost contradictory: “It is a failure for democracy when we can’t even debate the real issues of politics, because we are spending our time fighting for ones who can’t.”If the child growing in its mother’s womb is treated as a non-entity by law, as Roe vs Wade implies, then is it not legitimate to settle that issue very urgently, because there is a wrong message out there which encourages abortion, along with the concern for the few women who seek abortion for genuine reasons?

  • Anonymous

    Just visited your website Ms Dorinda Bordlee. You are doing fantastic work! Keep it up!

  • Anonymous

    An interesting comparison could be made on this Forum:View on abortion, Roe vs Wade and religious affiliation/religion/Christian denomination.

  • Anonymous

    On Faith Panelist view on abortion and Roe vs Wade and religious affiliation/religion/Christian denomination.Arguments in favor and against – humanist/secular/religious

  • Anonymous

    AtheistJew – ConservativeChristian:Catholic:Orthodox Christians:Church of England and its counterpartsHindu:Nominal/cultural and casteBuddhist:Nominal/culturalEasternMuslim:Nominal/culturalJain:Nominal/culturalSikh:Nominal/culturalPagan:PracticingAll religions: nominal/practicing and country of origin and residence

  • Anonymous

    All religions impart a value system.But whether the value system is practiced by the adherents of the faith plays an important role.The culture in the country of residence and the values the society upholds impacts significantly on whether the values of a religion are actually practiced.In the case of abortion, China has a one-child-policy. Abortions are forced and therefore the rate is high.In India, abortion is legal, but it is neither a constitutional right nor forced. The vast majority of the population is desperately poor, yet the rate of abortion remains incredibly LOW.

  • Anonymous

    There should be a meaningful way to explain the comparatively high rate of abortion in the richest nation on earth which has nearly 85% Christians, the US.European nations and other Western democracies are mostly secular.The nations in the ex-Soviet bloc has for the most part atheist influence (Poland is a rare exception).

  • Anonymous

    It is shocking to read how pathetically distorted some of the arguments in favor of abortion has become because US law has granted it as a “right” to women without acknowledging the existence of the child in the womb until it is old enough to survive without its mother.

  • Anonymous

    From the thread of Rev Mohler: forgetthis:…September 29, 2008 10:58 AM

  • Anonymous

    So that’s 13 Anonymous Coward Posts. I may as well add one to the pile.

  • Arminius

    Thank you, Paganplace, Farnaz, and Sparrow for having the consideration to use your handles.I no longer read any post by someone too damned lazy to use a handle.

  • sparrow4

    Arminius- seems the log in id doesn’t always work. But don’t you find it odd that Dorinda has yet to weigh back in on this? Perhaps it is too tough for her out here? Besides- we’ve got your back. People like spidey2 are just fools and this article is a mindless waste of cyberspace. I bet she is part of the McCain campaign. she says:”At the core of this issue is John McCain’s commitment to nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench” Now I find this to be one of those instances of cranio-rectal syndrome. whatever makes her think conservative justices don’t legislate? If anything the bush administration has put justices in place to who nothing but legislate based on a GOP platform.She thinks abortion is the ultimate violence against women. I have news for her- the hand of law inside my body is far more violent and outrageous than abortion. One thing I have to say for these people- they’re great acrobats. we used to call people like this double jointed. Or maybe it was “two-faced”?

  • knivesanddemons

    Isn’t it true, then, that since the unborn child has rights, that if a woman chooses not to be pregnant at any given time that they are denying life to be created? Therefore, I propose sex slave camps for all women where they are forced into sex and given fertility drugs so they can be creating, and not denying as much life as possible. Who’s with me?

  • kert1

    KYOPUTYour arguments are weak and a little disturbing. I’ll give my opionion since it may help some.”Well, what about you? What if you had been aborted?”What right do you have to deny this child life?””This child has a right to life.”You don’t even mention the difference of a just and not just war. Just wars are done as self defense and don’t allow for unjust killings. I can’t kill my baby because I had to kill a man who wanted to kill my family. That is rediculous. 2 wrongs don’t make a right. War is awful but it is necessary while evil exists.The death penalty argument is even worse. So I can kill my baby since we execute people who have been convicted of murdering intentionally. The baby is as innocent as life can get and the murderer has committed the worst crime imaginable. States have the right to execute the worst of criminals because they have violated the most basic right of humans. The right to live. Killing a perfectly innocent baby has nothing to do with this.

  • sparrow4

    There is a dissonance between the words “life” and “alive. A fetus is alive, but then so are all the cells in a body (ok- not nails and hair), and so are the organs.By confusing the word alive for life, you’re imposing a moral stricture onto this. I would say, Kerti, that you post a detailed, medically and biologically sound timeline for the development of a fetus because vague generalities won’t cut it. Then you make the mistake of extending you life argument to war and the death penalty. Both of those are political and/or legal choices in which we ignore the meaning of life in order to use them. You can’t have it both ways. A woman’s right to equality is in the Bill of rights and the Constitution. Taking a religious or spiritual definition to take away those rights is unconstitutional as well as unethical. You ascribe importance to an unborn mass of cells, yet none to those already born. Isn’t that hypocritical in the extreme?

  • globalone

    KYOPUT,I see your liberal, left-wing college professors have taught you well. Your use of “relative truth” is most obvious.The topic at hand is Abortion. The war in Iraq, mortgage foreclosures, and the true color of green tea are all irrelevant to the topic. Your responses are littered with the merits of abortion in comparison to other subject matters. Which, by the way, is completely absurd.You either believe that it’s okay to crush a baby’s skull in order to distance yourself from being held accountable or you don’t.

  • kert1

    SparrowWell I can’t give too many specifics on life, since I am not a scientists and don’t have time. The argument is that a human life if formed at conception. This is because our DNA becomes whole at this time. It contains all the genetic information that is you and is completely unique. This uniqueness is inherant from conception and will show itself fully as we develop. If the life is lost then this uniqueness and everything with it will be lost forever. I believe this is the tradgedy of abortion. Just a simple straightforward argument for life. I’m sure you can find more if you are interested.By the way I am not trying to confuse terms. I don’s see a big difference in life and alive. I’m more concerned with the word human. I’m concerned with saving human life not any life. That is what our DNA shows us. We are human from birth.I don’t really understand the rest of your blog. I’m thinking that you aren’t reading mine in context. I was replying to KYOPUT’s argument that life begins at birth, which quite frankly is really weak and a little hard to comprehend. I’m sure that you would have problems with her arguments. My convictions on abortion have nothing to do with war or the death penalty but come from the scientific evidence I presented.

  • sparrow4

    Kerti- no arguments from me about the tragedy of abortion. But we seem to have fundamental differences regarding what these terms mean for a woman and for society.Of course we are all human from – I think you meant – conception. But the difficulty I have with this is the emphasis put on a potential person at a cost to a pre-existing person. They always say a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush. we can’t always think about the potential – the world is full of endless possibilities and its impossible to live all of them out. For all the arguments about life and pro-life agendas, I have yet to hear any of them express concern for the woman, or for her rights. Not allowing a victim of rape to have an abortion? that is cold and creuel, but pro-lifers focus in the fetus only. Until pro-lifers deal with this, they don’t have any credibility.

  • vsylvestre

    Oh FFS, another abortion thread. What a waist of everybody’s time.1) Neither political party in the USA is going to end legal abortion, period. Dorinda C. Bordlee is wasting her time, not to mention ours.Oh, and to anonymous – nobody cares about your statistics. Abortion is a legal right, and we don’t need your ‘good reason’ to have an abortion. If you care so much, go adopt some kids – here in the USA we have thousands of kids rotting in foster care. Of course it’s a lot easier to sit behind your monitor and whine than actually DO SOMETHING to help people. Jesus called and he is not impressed with your constant bleating.