Roe, Alito, and Justice for the Unborn

Some thoughts on Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked Supreme Court draft regarding Roe v. Wade:

The leak itself: The prevailing belief, that it came from someone on the pro-abortion side hoping to spark a last-ditch uproar—exactly as has happened—seems likely. Reaction on both sides of the aisle—pro-life Republicans demanding an investigation, pro-abortion Democrats totally uninterested in finding out who was responsible—certainly seems to affirm that consensus.

Pro-abortion hysteria: Reaction was immediate, and unhinged, not only from abortion activists and the lucrative abortion industry, but from their ever-faithful media lapdogs and pro-abortion politicians. “An abomination—one of the worst, most damaging decisions in modern history,” wailed the habitually overwrought Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Abortion advocates doxxed Supreme Court justices and are now trying to intimidate them with demonstrations outside their homes. Catholic churches have been vandalized as pro-abortion forces resort to the anti-Catholic bigotry that has long been their trademark. In Wisconsin, a pro-life office was fire-bombed. In Boston, a pro-abortion protester was arrested for assaulting a pro-life speaker. In Los Angeles, pro-abortion demonstrators clashed with police. And if 2020’s violent Antifa-BLM rioting is prologue, we’re in for more of the same—absent, of course, any theatrical denunciations from Schumer or other pro-abortion pols and media.

President Biden: Trying to square his “devout” Catholicism with his political ambitions in a pro-abortion party, Joe Biden has been all over the map on this issue over the years. So it was no surprise that in condemning the Alito draft—but not it’s having been leaked—he uttered words that inadvertently buttressed the pro-life cause and undermined his own. He defended a woman’s right “to abort a child,” acknowledging that a child exists in the womb; and then he declared, “I have the rights that I have, not because the government gave them to me … but because I am just a child of God, I exist.” The pro-life case cannot be stated more succinctly than that.

Precedent: Pro-abortion voices are howling that a Court ruling from almost 50 years ago, and a subsequent ruling affirming it, make Roe untouchable. “They do not have the right to change this,” claimed Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). She needs to become a little more familiar with the Constitution. Of course the Supreme Court can revisit prior decisions, and change or overturn those they deem egregiously wrong. Justice Alito cited a case in point: Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 “separate but equal” ruling upholding racial discrimination. That decision was in force longer than Roe has been; yet it was, thankfully, overturned by the Court in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education.

What Alito’s draft would actually do: In fact, Roe was even more extreme than Plessy, and Alito’s draft falls well short of what Brown did in overturning Plessy. Plessy did not mandate discrimination against African Americans, it simply allowed states to discriminate if they so chose. Roe mandated that every state allow the indiscriminate killing of unborn children. Brown rightly concluded that no state could deny any person equal protection of the law based on race. Alito’s draft, on the other hand—much like Plessy—would still allow states to deny equal protection to the unborn, if they so choose. Yes, it would finally strike down Roe’s unfounded creation of a constitutional “right” to abortion. After almost 50 years, that is a major achievement, and a great step forward. But it is not, as many conservatives now assert, the end of the national government’s responsibility on this issue. Because at bottom, this is not about “states’ rights.” It is about the right to life, the most fundamental of natural rights on which all others are necessarily based. If that constitutional right, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the 5th and 14th amendments, is to be upheld, we must ultimately—as one nation—follow the science, recognize the legal personhood of unborn children, and afford their lives the equal protection of our laws.

The politics: Pro-abortion Democrats and their media allies, desperate to stave off a projected huge Republican wave in the mid-term elections, are seizing on this as their chance to turn the tide. It won’t—unless Republicans run scared, as some often do on this issue. Americans are closely divided on abortion, and many support the kinds of state—and national—limits the Alito draft would allow, and pro-abortion Democrats oppose: bans on late-term abortions; protection for babies born alive following failed abortions; informed consent for women seeking abortions; parental notification before a minor can get an abortion; an end to being forced to pay for other people’s abortions with our tax dollars. Pro-life Republicans should stand their ground, support these popular restrictions and use them to illustrate the extremism of their pro-abortion opponents. They should also stand firmly in support of pro-life pregnancy resource centers, vigorously opposing pro-abortion efforts to drive those centers, and their loving care for women and children, out of existence—leaving abortion as the only choice for women in crisis.

Going forward: The pro-life movement, besides supporting all these life-affirming initiatives, must re-double our education efforts, using technology, science, and personal witness to tell the beautiful story of new human life growing in the womb—so that one day, please God, all Americans will stand together, to lovingly welcome and legally protect the lives of innocent unborn children. Only then will justice have prevailed.

Published by Rick Hinshaw

I have spent the last three decades in primarily Catholic communications work: as a reporter, news editor, columnist, and for eight years editor of The Long Island Catholic; several years as co-host and co-producer of The Catholic Forum program on the diocesan Telecare channel; two stints as Director of Communications for the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights; and a year as Associate Director for Communications at the New York State Catholic Conference. I also served for three years as Public Information Officer for the late Nassau County District Attorney Denis Dillon, a staunchly Catholic and active pro-life leader. Over that more than 30-year career, I have gained an ever deeper understanding of and appreciation for the moral and social teachings of our Church. In my various roles I have lent my voice to articulating those teachings and their applicability to the critical issues of our time. That is what I intend to do with this blog. Moreover, at a time when our political and social disagreements seem to have degenerated into constant vitriol, vilification, verbal abuse and intolerance of those who hold differing opinions, I hope that this blog can contribute, in some small way, to a restoration of respectful debate and discussion, where we can defend our beliefs forcefully without demonizing any who disagree with us. As a Catholic commentator, that is what I have always striven to do--remembering that even as we are called to stand firmly in defense of our Church, her teachings, and our right to be heard in the public square, we are also called always to be the face of Christ to the world--most especially to those with whom we disagree.

6 thoughts on “Roe, Alito, and Justice for the Unborn

  1. We knew hysteria would happen the second any information on this bill hit the airwaves. I agree its likely a leftist who made the leak public. People on the right generally follow the rules and also have ethics, which I do not observe very often on the left. Leftists are willing to twist the law and cheat to get their way. I believe unquestionably that the court has the right to change the law. I also realize ( unlike the unhinged left) that sadly little will actually change. Blue states are NOT apt to make abortion more restrictive. In today’s paper NY was even was proposing to pay for the abortions of illegals. Where the money for this will come from was not made clear.On the plus side, if you live in a red state, my supposition is that your tax dollars will no longer be used to pay for such treatments. I adopted my two children. , and I thank God for the women who gave them birth and chose to give them life. Women who believe they have no option to give birth or a raise a child would do well to avoid having sexual activity until their circumstances change.That would be the simple and intelligent decision to make Rather than making a decision to murder your child. The vast majority of abortions arise from women for whom a baby is an inconvenience, not from cases of rape or incest.

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    1. Leslie, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, and your personal story. How beautiful that in this age, with what Pope Francis has called a “throwaway culture,” you opened your heart and your home to God’s gift of life, making it possible for your children’s mothers to choose life for their babies and for your children to grow up in a loving home. God bless you. And you are right, so many (millions) of babies are killed because their parents–fathers as well as mothers–simply refuse to be responsible for their behavior and choices.

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  2. I don’t want to stifle the momentum. There is a parallel but related issue. A singular entity, Planned Parenthood, receives an enormous amount of federal funding supposedly for providing a variety of Women’s Health Services. Several individuals have maintained that the great majority of that funding has been dedicated to providing and perpetuating legalized abortions. Perhaps some of the current zeal to remove the legacy of Roe v. Wade could be harnessed to remove federal government funding of Planned Parenthood and relegated it to the state along with the legislative responsibility.

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    1. You are absolutely right, John, defunding Planned Parenthood is critical to protecting unborn life; and it is unconscionable that our government, state and national, forces us to be complicit in the killing of the unborn by pouring untold millions of our tax dollars into the coffers of the nation’s leading abortion perpetrator, Planned Parenthood. Trump took steps to scale some of that funding back, but it must be stopped entirely.

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