Wednesday January 27, 2010

U.S. a “Nation under Judgment” Since Roe v. Wade: Princeton Scholar

By Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 27, 2010 ( – Princeton legal scholar and philosopher Robert George told pro-life leaders at the March for Life Rose Dinner last Friday that the infamous Supreme Court decisions in 1973 that legalized abortion on demand unleashed “a struggle for the soul of the nation” and that as long as those decisions stand, the United States is a “nation under judgment.”

Delivering the keynote address, George told the assembly gathered in the ballroom of the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C., that when “seven justices created a license to kill the unborn” through Roe v. Wade and its companion case Doe v. Bolton, they unknowingly unleashed a seismic upheaval of the rule of law in the United States. The very injustice of Roe and Doe, George stated, undermined law’s moral authority in American society and constituted “an outrageous usurpation” of the people’s constitutional rights “to shape law and policy” through representative government: state legislatures and Congress.

“If the Constitution can be read to imply anything about abortion, it is that unborn human beings are, like everyone else, entitled to ‘the equal protection of the laws,’” asserted George. But instead, the Supreme Court violated the plain sense of the Constitution by deriving a “generalized ‘right to privacy’” from the very clause in the 14th Amendment which declares: “no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”

Far from seeing the consequences of judicial tampering with the Constitution, the Roe Justices “seemed blithely to assume that abortion would be easily integrated into the fabric of American social and political life.”

But far from the Supreme Court’s vision of legal abortion as “a humane and enlightened policy” that would ease the burdens of women and society, those decisions have exacted an enormous human cost on the U.S., George stated. A full 36 years later, Roe and Doe now claims “fifty million unborn victims — each a distinct, unique, precious human being” with post-abortive mothers as its “secondary victims,” who must struggle with the physical, psychological, and emotional damage from abortion.

Women in general have fared worse, not better, as a result of the decision, he said. George pointed to the upsurge of “irresponsible – even predatory – male behavior,” the increase – not decrease – in out-of-wedlock births. “Illegitimacy has skyrocketed in the age of abortion,” he said.

But on top of that, George noted that Roe and Doe “corrupted physicians and nurses by turning healers into killers,” and unleashed embryo experimentation to the point where the State of New Jersey has allowed the “horrific and grisly practice of fetal farming.”

A further consequence of the decisions was polarization of American political life. Pro-life Democrats left a party that once stood behind, but then abandoned, their core values, and joined the Republican Party, since Ronald Reagan had maintained a solid pro-life platform. George told the assembly that he counts himself as one of the “disaffected Democrats” carried out of the Democratic Party by “force of conscience” due to its embrace of abortion.

However, George reminded his audience that the Roe justices did not expect their decisions would galvanize the pro-life movement, and lead to the forging of new friendships and alliances. He observed that the nascent pro-life leadership, once “largely Catholic,” saw the Evangelical churches become “fully activated” in the pro-life struggle, leading to “an unprecedented Catholic-Evangelical alliance” on a whole range of social issues.

“It is this alliance that stands in the gap today in the fight against cloning and embryo-destructive biomedical research,” George said.

Unfortunately, he noted that a small cadre of Catholics and Evangelicals has tried to persuade fellow co-religionists into supporting President Barack Obama by arguing he is “effectively pro-life” and his policies would reduce abortion. George derided this claim as “delusional,” contending all the policies Obama wants repealed – “the Hyde Amendment, the Mexico City Policy, funding limitations on embryo-destructive research, informed consent laws, parental notification statutes” – would fuel the abortion industry and increase the pre-born death count by as much as 300,000 lives per year.

“Thanks be to God, the conflict over abortion has not produced, and will not produce, a civil war. Still, we must not forget that we are a people under judgment. We are called to account for the national sin of abortion,” said George, who observed that President Abraham Lincoln believed the Civil War was God’s judgment for the United States tolerating slavery.

He urged pro-life advocates, even those not politically engaged, to pray for the end of abortion, reminding them that their duty was “trying,” and the outcome ultimately belongs to God.

“Even at this dark hour for our movement, let us here highly resolve to hasten the day when this nation, under God, will be truly and fully and finally dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal.”