Friday, January 22, 2010

Roe v. Wade at 37: Still Wrong

Special Report

By Ken Blackwell on 1.22.10 @ 6:09AM
The American Spectator

Tens of thousands of pro-lifers will descend upon the streets of Washington, D.C. today. They will come this year -- as they have come every year since 1974. It won't matter if there's a "wintry mix." In 1985, the Inauguration of a President was forced indoors for the first time in history. An arctic blast forced cancellation of the Inaugural Parade. But two days later, with frigid winds unabated in their fury, the March for Life went on as scheduled.

They come to bear witness. They come to protest a grave injustice. Some young people have grown up coming every year to this March for Life. Thousands of young people will camp out Thursday night at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and attend Mass early on Friday morning. Thousands of others will attend worship services at area Evangelical and Lutheran churches.

No cause since the great Civil Rights movement of the 1960s has brought together such a diverse group of supporters. Every race of mankind is represented. Every continent has sent its representatives.

The pro-life movement has battered down the walls of ancient prejudice separating Catholic from Protestant, and Protestants from other Protestants. Marchers will also hear the sounds of an ancient Hebrew shofar -- the ceremonial ram's horn that alerted God's people as far back as the Exodus.

You might think that the 2008 elections would have put an end to right-to-lifers' incessant agitation. You would be wrong. Only when America herself is adjourned will you hear the end of outcry against this most un-American of rulings.

What does Roe mean? It means that an abortionist can kill an unborn child and we have no right to object. "If you don't like abortion, don't have one," says a morally bankrupt bumper sticker from the other side. How about: "If you don't like slavery, don't own one?"

We've heard a lot about "the Kennedy seat" in the Massachusetts Senate race this week.

I'd like to talk about the Kennedys' friend. Archibald Cox was certainly a liberal. He was certainly an intellectual. You can't be a Harvard Professor without being an intellectual.

But when it came to grading the work of that Harvard Law School graduate, Justice Harry Blackmun, Prof. Cox gave the striving jurist a failing grade:

[Blackmun's opinion] fails even to consider what I would suppose to be the most important compelling interest of the State in prohibiting abortion: the interest in maintaining that respect for the paramount sanctity of human life which has always been at the centre of Western civilization, not merely by guarding life itself, however defined, but by safeguarding the penumbra, whether at the beginning, through some overwhelming disability of mind or body, or at death.…

The failure to confront the issue in principled terms leaves the opinion to read like a set of hospital rules and regulations, whose validity is good enough this week but will be destroyed with new statistics upon the medical risks of child-birth and abortion or new advances in providing for the separate existence of a fetus.… Neither historian, nor layman, nor lawyer will be persuaded that all the prescriptions of Justice Blackmun are part of the Constitution.

Even a liberal, even a Harvard Law Professor, even a friend of the Kennedy family like Archibald Cox knew why Roe is wrong. And the marchers know it, too. From the little children holding their moms' hands to the eighty-somethings being wheeled up to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court: they all know Roe is wrong.

I am proud to stand with the protesters. I am proud to live in a country where we can still peaceably assemble and petition our government for redress of wrongs. We are marching in Dr. King's footsteps when we do so.

Lincoln said it well: Nothing stamped in the divine image was sent into the world to be trod upon. We believe unborn children are so stamped. We believe every child should be welcomed in life -- and protected in law. May God bless the United States and this honorable court. Especially, may He bless the court with the wisdom at long last to do justice.

Ken Blackwell is a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and a senior fellow at the Family Research Council.


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