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“Askew, Misaligned, and Twisted to One Side”: Roe’s Devastating Impact on American Culture

By Jean Garton

Editor’s note. The late Dr. Garton authored one of the enduring classics of pro-life literature: “Who Broke the Baby? What the Abortion Slogans Really Mean. ” For decades she was a frequent contributor to National Right to Life News and National Right to Life News Today. We periodically repost one of her fabulous essays. This appeared in 2013.

Jean Garton

Words have always intrigued me, so my ears perk up when I hear one that is new. That happened a few months ago when my garage door decided to have a hissy fit. It went up and down, down and up, merrily clanking and banging along the way. When the serviceman arrived to check it out he discovered the problem. “Yup,” he said. “It’s definitely whopperjawed.”

Whopperjawed!?! What kind of word is that? When I couldn’t find it in the dictionary, I turned to the current fount and source of all knowledge: Google. There it was: ”whopperjawed” meaning askew, misaligned, and twisted to one side. That obviously described my garage door but, more certainly, describes our country today.

Nothing has caused the United States to be more askew morally; more misaligned culturally; or more twisted legally than the Supreme Court’s 1973 opinion on abortion.

Every January, since that destructive action which has taken the lives of more than 55 million unborn babies [now more than 60 million] , Americans have gathered across the country to participate in the March for Life to mark the infamous date. This year, the 40th anniversary of that decision, there are again marches in communities, state capitals, and at the national Capitol in Washington.

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said: There is nothing more powerful to dramatize a social evil than the tramp, tramp, tramp of marching feet. The thousands upon thousands of pro-life feet that will again march this year from one end of this country to the other serve to highlight the reality that there are two Americas—an America split over whether morality matters and whether truth matters.

The truth is that when life begins isn’t a matter of opinion any more. It is a matter of fact; of well-established science; and even of common knowledge. Anatomical studies have documented that the human body’s pain network is established by 20 weeks after fertilization, if not earlier. Neurologists report that unborn babies actually feel pain more intensely than do adults because the child’s pain-modifying system has barely begun to develop.

Given such medical evidence, is there any other conclusion we can draw except that abortion is inhumane and barbaric; a brutal action against the most defenseless of humans? The Right to Choose is simply a politically correct way to camouflage the torture and violence that abortion inflicts.

There is an adage that applies perfectly: people can have their own opinions, but they can’t have their own facts. And the fact is that today it is not enough to simply be human to enjoy the protection of the law. An unborn child must be a wanted human, a planned human, a human living outside the womb.

When it comes to abortion, the popular saying that “It’s Location, Location, Location,” takes on a life and death meaning. For all those helpless babies legally aborted since 1973, well, it’s just too bad. They were simply living in the wrong location.

So, here it is, 40 years later and males and females of all ages, colors, and political parties will gather to remember that day of injustice imposed by the Court in the name of choice. Some may wonder what good these events do anyway. I have wondered that myself as the years pass and the destruction continues. I participated in that first march in Washington and have joined a march in various states every year since 1973. What good does the tramp, tramp, tramp of feet do?

After the Court ruling I testified at hearings held by both the Senate and House on a Human Life Amendment. What good did those hearings do? I have given thousands of speeches, spoken numerous times in every state in the Union, and established the National Lutherans for Life organization. What good did any of those things do?

The answer is, to paraphrase Shakespeare, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Pro-Lifers, more things accomplished by your voices and values, your commitment and courage, than are found in your wildest dreams.”

Every step, every word, every meeting, every assembly of like-minded witnesses is like precious gold! First, those all give voice to the unborn children who can’t speak for themselves. Secondly, they give encouragement to the men and women in government who advocate for the unborn and their mothers. Third, they help cheer us on, causing us to realize that we’re not fighting the battle alone. And, fourth, these events are a reminder to the media, candidates, and political parties of why we are single-issue voters.

Not because we don’t care about the economy and unemployment; about the environment, immigration, education, terrorism, or a host of other current issues. We are single-issue voters because a candidate’s position about the sanctity of human life reveals the character and values of that candidate.

The late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus once put our responsibility this way: “So long as we have the gift of life we must protect the gift of life. So long as it is threatened, so long it must be defended. We have not yet seen the full fury of the storm that is upon us. But we have not the right to despair. Our entire struggle is premised not upon a victory to be achieved but a victory that has already been won.”

The Right to Choose has replaced what is right, and defending the right values and laws is seldom safe, easy, or popular. So it helps me to remember that ancient story when the giant, Goliath, came out against God’s people. The soldiers of Israel looked at that giant and thought: Ooh, he’s so big we can’t stop him.

But little David with his slingshot looked at that same giant and said: Ooh, he’s so big I can’t miss.

The mess surrounding the life issues–whopperjawed though it is–is sooo big, that we can’t miss either if we recognize the importance of our individual work and witness. As Charlton Heston, the late actor famous for his movie role as Moses, once said to the Arizona House of Representatives:

Political correctness is just tyranny with manners, so I wish for you to be un-popular. Popularity is just history’s pocket change. But courage … courage is history’s true currency.

The Psalmist said much the same: Be of good courage and the Lord will strengthen your heart. (Psalm 27:14)

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A 21st Century Guide to Roe v. Wade

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

Editor’s note. This appeared in the monthly digital edition of National Right to Life News.

We have a new college intern at the National Right to Life affiliate where I work, the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation. Because of her youth, most of her memories are of this century. Therefore, I will need to explain to her one of the cruelest developments of the past century—the tragic 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling known as Roe v. Wade.

As one of the youngest members of the Millennial Generation, Katy is hardly alone in her astonishment at Roe. She comes from a family which celebrates every birth and is especially smitten by their youngest member, a toddler cutie named Quinn. For Katy, it is inconceivable how an atrocity such as Roe could have come about.

So here are a few of the many people whose roles were influential in creating the right to abortion that culminated in Roe.

In the 1970s Dr. Bernard Nathanson performed tens of thousands of abortions and was one of the prime leaders in the battle to legalize abortion. He was so insistent on making abortion legal (as he later admitted ) that he grossly inflated the number of deaths that were occurring from illegal abortions. He helped found the pro-abortion lobbying and political action group now known as NARAL.

In the early ‘70s a woman named Norma McCorvey found herself in the midst of a crisis. She was single and pregnant and in dire financial straits. Desperate, she turned to a lawyer, Sarah Weddington, who exploited her mercilessly. Weddington and another lawyer took the case, which challenged the Texas abortion law, all the way to the Supreme Court. The outcome was Roe v. Wade.

Norma admitted later that she had lied about being gang raped, which was one of the more sensational elements of her case. Also, she ended up giving birth to the baby, so the Roe of Roe v. Wade never had an abortion.

The High Court decided Roe along with a companion case known as Doe v. Bolton. Taken in tandem, the two cases brought us abortion on demand—for any reason or for no reason—during all nine months of pregnancy. Still, in subsequent years states were able to enact restrictions on abortion such as informed consent, 24-hour waiting periods, and parental consent, which helped to cut abortion rates (In Pennsylvania, for instance, the Abortion Control Act cut abortion totals in half.)

The U.S. Supreme Court Justices who ruled in favor of Roe, and in favor of legalizing abortion in all fifty states, were all men. They did not have access to the 4D Ultrasounds we have today—ultrasounds which can show babies smiling…crying…and yawning in their mothers’ wombs.

Justices Blackmun, Berger, Marshall, Brennan, Powell, Stewart and Douglas thought, wrongly, that a so-called right to abortion would grant women more freedom. They were unfamiliar with the tear-filled testimonies of women who had abortions, and who regretted them. They were not exposed to the body of research that shows women suffering physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual harm as a result of abortion.

Interestingly enough, both Dr. Nathanson and Norma McCorvey later renounced their roles in legalizing abortion and became staunch advocates for life. Although both are deceased now, their legacy for promoting life continues in the books they wrote and the people whose lives they touched.

Those people who have been born post-Roe have never known a world in which abortion was illegal. And yet, there are so many individuals, such as Katy, who are determined to restore legal protection for innocent human life. They may not have lived in an America without abortion, but they can envision it—and it is that vision which propels their marching, lobbying, and advocating.

The 21st century needs to be the century of a rebirth of a pro-life culture, where every human being is treasured as the gift that he or she is. With people such as Katy around, that cultural rebirth can happen sooner than we can imagine.

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‘Ours is a movement . . . about love and mercy’

By Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

Editor’s note: I was privileged to hear the opening prayer Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas gave at the March for Life. But until I ran across it today on the webpage of the Archdiocese of Kansas’s newspaper, the Lenten, I had not read his homily for the Vigil Mass of the March for Life at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C. delivered the night before the March which is excerpted below. He is also the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

Tonight, we gather to commemorate the 46th anniversary of the tragic twin Supreme Court decisions (Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton) that legalized abortion essentially for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy. As a result, since 1973, there have been 61 million innocent American children killed in the wombs of their mothers.

The Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton cases were based on deception. The late Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade, lied about being gang-raped. After her pro-life conversion, Norma acknowledged that she was deceived by her attorneys about the reality of abortion. For the last 20 years of her life Norma McCorvey labored tirelessly to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision.

Sandra Cano, the Jane Doe of the Doe v. Bolton decision, never wanted an abortion. Her lawyers, whom she had engaged to assist with regaining the custody of her children, used her difficult circumstances to advance their own ideological goal to legalize abortion. She actually fled the state of Georgia, when she feared that her lawyers and family members intended to pressure her to have an abortion.

The late Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the Founders of NARAL, originally the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws and now the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, admitted to inventing statistics about the number of illegal abortions. The claim of the Supreme Court that the United States Constitution contained a right to abortion is absurd.

The late Justice Byron White in his dissent from the Roe and Doe decisions characterized them as “an exercise in raw judicial power.” The late Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissent on Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992 said that he could say with certainty that abortion is not protected by the Constitution “because of two simple facts: 1) the Constitution says nothing about it and 2) the longstanding traditions of American society have permitted it to be legally proscribed.”

We assemble in 2019 with some new hope that the recent changes in the membership of the Supreme Court may result in a re-examination and an admission by the court of its tragic error 46 years ago. We pray that state legislatures and the people of this country will again have the ability to protect the lives of unborn children.

At the same time, we are sobered by the ferocity and the extremism of the proponents of legalized abortion as evidenced in the recent confirmation process to fill a vacancy on the U. S. Supreme Court. Recently, two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned the suitability of a judicial nominee because of his membership in an extremist organization, the Knights of Columbus.

Why are the Knights labelled extremists? Because they embrace and support Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life and marriage! Supreme Knight Carl Anderson in a January 1st letter to his brother Knights recounted the vast amount of charitable and humanitarian work that the Order does in our own country and throughout the world. He then noted: “This [same] love also motivates us to stand with the Church on the important issues of life and marriage, precisely because the Church’s teaching reflects and is based on that love. We stand with our Church because we believe that what our faith teaches is consistent with reason, is timeless and transcends the changing sentiments of any particular time or place.”

II: The Beauty and Ecumenical Composition of the Pro-Life Movement

One of the great goods that Our Lord has drawn forth from the terrible tragedy of legalized abortion has been to unite in common cause Christians of different denominations and members of other faith traditions who share a common concern for the defense of the sacredness of all human life. I am particularly grateful for the presence tonight of leaders of the Orthodox Church who honor us by joining us in prayer. The Orthodox Church has been a strong and consistent advocate for the sanctity of life. I personally treasure the friendships that have been forged with Evangelicals, Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Anglicans, and many non-denominational Christians through my involvement with the pro-life movement.

I believe that Jesus takes delight in seeing his priestly prayer of the Gospel, in part, being fulfilled: “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me” [John 17:20]. We are grateful for all the non-Catholics with us tonight who have come to join us in prayer, and we look forward tomorrow to marching with many, many other brothers and sisters in Christ and all those who honor God’s sovereignty over human life.

III: Upholding the Dignity of the Human Person

Sometimes, our opponents criticize pro-lifers for only caring about the unborn. While in such a broad-based movement there are obviously some exceptions, in my experience of the pro-life community this is simply not true.

Millions of pro-life individuals volunteer and financially support the thousands of Birthrights, Pro-life Pregnancy Care centers and Pregnancy Resource centers that provide medical, financial and moral support to parents who often in the midst of difficult circumstances choose life for their child. These centers of love are committed to accompanying parents long after the birth of their child. They are committed not only to the survival of the baby, but to empower mothers and families to thrive for a lifetime.

The pro-life ethic challenges us to care about the sacredness of every human being throughout the life spectrum. We are called always and everywhere to promote the dignity of the human person.

Protecting the life of the unborn children is the pre-eminent human rights issue of our time, not only because of the sheer magnitude of the numbers, but because abortion attacks the sanctuary of life, the family. Abortion advocates pit the welfare of the mother against the life of her child. Every abortion not only destroys the life of an innocent child, but it wounds and scars mothers and fathers who must live with the harsh reality that they hired someone to destroy their daughter or son. In reality, the welfare of parents and their child are always intimately linked.

We are concerned about the life and dignity of the human person wherever it is threatened or diminished. …

IV: Unique from Day One: Pro-Life Is Pro-Science

The theme for this year’s March for Life, Unique from Day One — Pro-Life is Pro-Science, seeks to dispel the notion that advocacy for the protection of the life within the womb is somehow at odds with modern scientific knowledge. Abortion advocates often seek to portray opposition to abortion as an imposition of religious belief. While our Christian faith definitely speaks to the sanctity of life as the biblical readings for tonight’s Mass illustrate, one does not need religious revelation to know the killing of innocent human life is inhumane.

The advances of scientific knowledge and technology over the past 100 years have confirmed that a unique human life begins at fertilization. The unborn child, beginning as a one celled zygote and throughout its embryonic and fetal stages of development, possesses DNA, a genetic code, distinct from his or her parents. Ultra-sound technology has given us a window into the womb, allowing us to witness the miraculous unfolding of the development of a new and unique human life.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the founders of NARAL and himself an abortionist, became pro-life not because of theology or any religious sentiment, but from his own study of the scientific advancements in embryology and fetology. While it is true that Dr. Nathanson eventually became Catholic, it was long after he had become a pro-life advocate because of science. …

V: Made in the Divine Image

In the very first chapter of the Bible, God reveals important theological truths. …

Most significantly, the first chapter of the Bible asserts that human beings are the masterpiece of all creation. Men and women are uniquely made in the Divine Image. Psalm 139 reminds us how God knit us together in our mother’s womb and that we are fearfully, wonderfully made. Human beings alone amongst all of creation are given the ability to reflect, to understand, to ponder, and, most importantly, the freedom to choose the good and the noble, the freedom to choose to do God’s will or not.

VI: Redemption – God Pursues Us

The choice by our first parents to deny God’s lordship, to refuse to do his will — to seek to be their own god, had disastrous results. It brought back the original chaos — a moral chaos. You want a glimpse of this moral chaos, just read a newspaper, watch the evening news, or observe the nihilism present in much of our art, music, literature, and films. If you want to view a powerful illustration of the tragic consequences of this moral chaos, watch the movie Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer….

VII: Mercy – the Heart of the Gospel, the Heart of our Pro-Life Work

If you want to know the value God places on every human life, just contemplate the image of our Crucified Lord. Tonight, we heard proclaimed a very small portion of St. Luke’s Passion Narrative. Jesus entered fully into our human condition. …

The Gospel is all about mercy. Our Lord’s mission is all about mercy. And we, His disciples, must also be about mercy. Our pro-life ministry is about mercy: 1) mercy for the innocent and defenseless child in the womb, 2) mercy for frightened and overwhelmed mothers in the midst of a difficult pregnancy, 3) mercy for post-abortive mothers or fathers who deeply regret authorizing the killing of their own child; 4) mercy for the abortion advocates who verbally attack us and label us extremists; 5) mercy for those who wish to disqualify from public office members of the Knight of Columbus or anyone else in whom “the dogma lives loudly”; 6) mercy for abortion clinic workers, volunteers and, yes, even abortionists.

Nearly every diocese in the country has an abortion healing ministry, most often called Project Rachel, to bring hope and healing to all those wounded by abortion: the mothers, the fathers, and anyone involved in advocating, assisting or performing abortion. God’s mercy is endless. For all are made in the Divine Image and are of such inestimable worth that God died for them.

IX: Pro-Life Pauls

Ours is a movement that is all about love and mercy. We give thanks for amazing Paul-like conversions of abortion advocates, who have become the powerful pro-life apologists. As we pray through this night and we march tomorrow, let us pray that we can be great and effective witnesses for life, witnesses for love, witnesses for mercy. …

Let us come forward in a few moments filled with faith and awe to receive the Bread of Life who is the Lord of Life. Let us give thanks for the great dignity God has given to us, to be made in his image and even more to be his living temples, his living tabernacles in the world. Let us receive with great joy, devotion and confidence this God who has pursued us and died for us. Let us ask the Lord of Life to help us be His witnesses of merciful love in the world!

Praise be Jesus Christ, the Lord of Life forever and ever!

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The ripple effects of “rolling back” Roe v. Wade

By Dave Andrusko

The Abortion Industrial Complex has known for years and years that no matter how many misrepresented polls they trot out, support for abortion is discrete, finite, and subject to erosion. As we have documented countless dozens of times, a majority of the American people consistently opposes the reasons 90+% of all abortions are performed. That’s why abortion advocates wrap abortion is gauzy rhetoric about “reproductive rights/reproductive health.”

Yesterday I re-read a post that appeared at the National Journal titled “’Roe’ Is the Scaffolding on Which a Slew of Liberties Are Built.”

The thesis is simple enough. Let me explain by first switching metaphors.

A countless number of subsequent decisions on issues far outside our single issue purview are bound to Roe, Lourdes Rivera argues. It’s like a loose thread. You “pull on” Roe (roll it back), and the whole ball of yarn comes undone.

Or, as Rivera, argues,

A cornerstone precedent like Roe reaches both backward and forward in time: From the past cases it elaborated on, to the later cases it influenced.

What to say?

Looking “backward” in time (for us) we see how “privacy” and “autonomy” were like empty vessels the courts filled rationales that legalized not only failing to treat babies born with disabilities but also to starving and dehydrating patients to death.

The “forward in time” for us is how these same vague terms morphed into support (“scaffolding” to use Rivera’s metaphor) for the “right” to assisted suicide. We’ve seen how the underpinning for legalizing abortion can be imported into the controversy over “assisting” someone to die.

Put another way, Roe is the anti-life virus that jumped from the preborn to the child born with imperfections to the medically vulnerable of any age.

I would like to agree 100% with Lourdes Rivera in one respect. He believes that “rolling back” Roe would have a “ripple effect.”

I would hope so—that it would reestablish protections for other vulnerable populations vanquished by the logic of Roe v. Wade.

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Roe v. Wade: Through a Daughter’s Eyes

Editor’s note. This appears in the current digital edition of National Right to Life News. Please share this story and the entire contents of the 48-page issue with your pro-life family and friends.

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

Maria V. Gallagher and daughter

We all look at life from different perspectives. This is also true when we consider Roe v. Wade, the abominable Supreme Court ruling which has led to the deaths of more than 60 million preborn babies.

I look at Roe from the viewpoint of a daughter and as a mother of a daughter. At the time that my mother became pregnant with me, she and my father were facing financial ruin. My father had lost his job and, during the course of her pregnancy, my mother would be fired for the “offense” of being pregnant. The pressures my parents faced must have been tremendous.

If Roe had been the law of the land at that time, could I have been a statistic? Could my mother, in desperation, have turned to an abortionist during the depths of her heartache?

Thankfully, back in those days, the law protected me.

As it turned out, I was too young to be aware of the High Court’s cataclysmic decision back in 1973. And yet, perhaps, I saw the effects.

In my elementary school, it seemed the classes were smaller for the children younger than I. When I went to a store in a mall to make a purchase, I felt that I was not being given the respect I deserved, even though I was very young.

The fact is, the reverberations of Roe, like a pebble in a pond, could be felt well beyond the initial point of impact. I felt it at school and in my neighborhood—even if I could not trace its cause.

By the time I reached high school, I faced an abortion-saturated society. Rumors flew through the corridors of our school of students who had had one. Growing up during those times meant realizing that a terrible atrocity had been legalized and was taking place, perhaps thousands of times a year, in my hometown.

Thankfully, by the time I was blessed with my beautiful daughter, I had been volunteering in the pro-life movement for quite some time. So I knew the importance of raising her with a pro-life perspective.

When she was about six years old, she looked with wonder at a display of soft-touch fetal models at a pro-life educational display at a church festival. She lovingly held the realistic depictions of preborn babies at various stages of development. As we left the display, she insisted on running back a second time so she could catch another glimpse.

And that is when I was able to see Roe v. Wade through my own daughter’s eyes. I felt teary-eyed, knowing that abortion was still part of her world. And yet, I felt joy knowing that she recognized the humanity of the preborn child—a deeply-held belief she clung to as she grew and matured.

Through my daughter’s eyes, I view Roe as a monumentally unjust historic event which has decimated her generation. And yet, I hope, in the depths of my soul, that her generation will end the scourge and renew the face of America—one precious life at a time.

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46 Years Ago the Deadly Fate of Over Sixty Million Lives Was Sealed

By Heather Weininger, Executive Director, Wisconsin Right to Life

My little girl, nine weeks after conception.

As we remember the pivotal decision made on January 23, 1973, ago, I want to share why we continue to fight so hard for the unborn.

The picture in this post is of our youngest daughter at nine weeks old. Her arms are just budding out; you can clearly see one of her little legs; and the formation of her face is just beginning. This ultrasound image has hung on our refrigerator for months. Over the past week, it’s become clear that it was truly providential why it remained there.

Why am I sharing this picture ? I wasn’t quite sure why we’d left this picture on our refrigerator. Our daughter is now four. We have had another baby since then, and l have had many other ultrasound scans. But a few days ago, I took a closer look at this picture and then counted to see how old she was in it. She was nine weeks old.

Nine weeks is a very critical age for the unborn. Babies just like this are the target of Planned Parenthood here in Wisconsin and across the country. Babies just like this are the very reason Planned Parenthood recently filed a lawsuit to exponentially expand their abortion business across Wisconsin – to be able to perform more chemical, RU-486 abortions – on babies like my little girl, up to 10 weeks old, at all of their 21 clinics in Wisconsin.

We have been fighting for the lives of the unborn for a very long time, but the fight will continue as long as there are people who refuse to tell the truth about our unborn children. We must be the ones who share the images of the “clumps of cells” and the “products of conception,” so people understand they are being told a lie.

When a woman seeks an RU-486 abortion[“medication abortion”], she is not told that her baby has hands, feet, a face, or a beating heart. Instead, Planned Parenthood is telling these women to take the first pill, then the second at home, and, afterwards, they will experience a heavy period.

What happens when she is at home and, instead of a heavy period, she sees a little baby with hands and feet? Where does she turn? How does she heal? What does she do with her baby?

This is the reason our work is about more than fighting for the unborn and sharing the truth of their humanity. It’s about offering women life-affirming alternatives to abortion; giving them the practical resources they need to choose life; finding help for women who need healing after an abortion; and being the voice of truth regarding the humanity of the unborn and the horrible reality of abortion.

Our agenda is simple: We will keep working to share the truth and, when abortion has become unthinkable, we will continue to share this truth to ensure abortion remains a terrible thing of the past for your children and mine.

Remember the millions of women and men who have been hurt by abortion over the last 46 years. Let us be the ones who continue working for the rights of the unborn, even when we are weary, even when we are feeling defeated.

Keep working.

Keep going.

Keep working for those who can’t.

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Today in History, Roe v. Wade

By Molly Noble Bull

Editor’s note. I saw this too late to run yesterday but I knew I readers would love to see it today.

The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

— Jeremiah 1: 4-5

On Monday, January 22, 1973, I was watching black and white television. I taught in an elementary school at that time and cannot recall why I was home on a school day.

In any case, the television was on, a soap opera maybe. I can’t remember for sure. All at once an important announcement flashed across the television screen. Something like, “The United States Supreme Court announced today that Roe v. Wade is now the law of the land, legalizing abortion.”

I was never a Catholic. I was an Episcopalian at the time, but I was already a pro-life Christian. I was also a member of the Ad-Hoc Committee in Defense of Life via my Catholic friends.

So, as soon as I heard the news, I started crying. I was still sobbing when I phoned my friend, Alice, and told her the news. We were still talking and sobbing when another announcement flashed on the screen. “Former President Lyndon B. Johnson just died at his home in Johnson City, Texas.”

Roe v. Wade was buried on about page 10 of the daily newspaper the next day. The big story was the death of a former president. As important as President Johnson’s passing was, pro-life America was unable to get the news out about abortion and what Roe v. Wade would eventually mean to more than 60 million unborn babies.

The REAL story that day and every day since then was the legalized murder of our nation’s unborn. Babies come in all colors: black, white, brown, and yellow.

I love them all.

I believe that human life begins at conception.

According to the Bible, God the Father does, too.

Editor’s note. You can learn more about Molly at www.mollynoblebull.com.

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CBS Evening News’ coverage of Roe v. Wade on January 22, 1973

By Dave Andrusko

Today is the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a judicial usurpation of legislative power that reverberates to this day.

Six years ago, Heartbeat International created a site in anticipation of the 40th commemoration of the tragedy that is Roe v. Wade. Among other opportunities, visitors were encouraged to post where they were on January 22, 1973, and how they will commemorate this “act of raw judicial power” (to quote dissenter Justice Bryon White).

On the bottom right of the site was a four-minute-long kinescope of CBS Evening News, anchored by Walter Cronkite, in which Cronkite announced that the unnamed decision that day had “legalized abortions.” Correspondent George Herman took it from there to explain the details of Roe (and Doe v. Bolton).

When I first saw it, in light of the ancient technology (and the 46 years that have passed), I couldn’t help thinking of Cronkite’s “You are There” series which used real network correspondents to tell historical stories as if those stories were being televised live. Only this, of course, was not a re-enactment from the past, but living history.

Needless to say, Herman, like all correspondents, only partially described the decision[s] accurately. Three things stood out.

One was a reference that later in pregnancy states could take action “to protect the unborn child”!

“Child”?

Second, the decision[s] “thus sets limits on the right to abortion on demand,” which, in fact, they did not.

Third, and this is key to understanding where Justice Harry Blackmun was in 1973 (he became much more of an ardent feminist in later years), Herman reported, “In effect the court made abortions subject only to the decision of the pregnant woman’s doctor.” Not the woman, but “the pregnant woman’s doctor.”

Two guests were briefly interviewed. The first was Alan Guttmacher, “president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and a leader in the International Planned Parenthood Federation in the 1960s and early 1970s,” according to the Guttmacher Institute (GI), formerly known as the Alan Guttmacher Institute. GI was spun off from PPFA in 1968 and has ever since earned the misbegotten reputation as a non-partisan source of abortion-related information.

Guttmacher told CBS Evening News, “I think to raise the dignity of a woman and give her freedom of choice in this area is an extraordinary event.” January 22, 1973, he accurately predicted, would be seen as a “historic day.”

Father James McHugh gave the pro-life response. At the time McHugh was executive director of the U.S. Bishops’ Office for Pro-Life Activities. McHugh (who later became Bishop McHugh) spoke of the decision having withdrawn “human rights” from the unborn. “The judgment of the court will do a great deal to tear down the respect previously accorded human life in our culture,” he accurately predicted.

In case you think our Movement has not made a difference, consider this. Herman concluded by remarking matter-of-factly, “If the experience of New York state is any guide, America will eventually have one abortion for every two births.”

That is not the case for one reason and one reason only: you.

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Why all Americans should want Roe v. Wade overturned—regardless of their views on abortion

A reversal of the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling would be pro-Constitution and pro-democracy

By Paul Stark Communications Associate, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life

Editor’s note. This appears in the current digital edition of National Right to Life News. I hope you are enjoying the entire 48 –page issue and you are sharing it with pro-life family and friends.

In its Roe v. Wade decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution prohibits Americans from legally protecting human beings in utero. Killing those human beings, the Court said, must be allowed for any reason.

You don’t have to be pro-life in order to want this decision overturned. That’s because Roe was a flagrant judicial mistake that usurped authority belonging to the American people rather than to the Court.

John Hart Ely, the eminent legal scholar and Yale law professor, famously concluded that Roe “is a very bad decision,” but “not because it conflicts with … my idea of progress.” Instead, he explained, “It is bad because it is bad constitutional law, or rather because it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.”

Here are three of Roe’s most egregious errors.

(1) Roe asserted a right to abortion that is actually just a non sequitur.

Roe said that the Fourteenth Amendment includes a right to abortion. The Fourteenth Amendment says nothing about abortion. The Court claimed, however, that the amendment’s protection of “liberty” (states may not deny it without due process) implies a “right to privacy” that is “broad enough to encompass” a fundamental right to abortion.

Why think this? The Constitution does protect many freedoms, but countless activities, including many activities done in “private,” are not considered protected liberties under the Constitution. Why is the dismemberment and destruction of unborn human beings protected? Roe said that abortion restrictions can be a “detriment” to people (raising a child, the Court observed, is taxing). But that’s also true of other legal restrictions that are uncontroversially permissible (such as a ban on infanticide even when an infant’s parents face economic hardship).

This was the Court’s “argument” for a right to abortion. The conclusion is a non sequitur—it simply does not follow from anything the Court said.

That’s no secret among those who have read the Roe decision and tried to track its logic. Roe “provides essentially no reasoning in support of its holding,” acknowledges Edward Lazarus, a supporter of legalized abortion who clerked for Justice Harry Blackmun (the author of Roe). “As a constitutional argument,” adds University of Pennsylvania law professor Kermit Roosevelt (another supporter of legalized abortion), “Roe is barely coherent. The Court pulled its fundamental right to choose more or less from the constitutional ether.”

And that’s putting a positive spin on it.

(2) Roe distorted history in order to seem less ridiculous.

Roe’s claim of a Fourteenth Amendment abortion right is even worse than unfounded. It’s flatly contradicted by the very people who agreed to the Fourteenth Amendment in the first place.

That amendment was adopted in 1868. During the same era, states enacted a wave of statutes banning elective abortion. The Ohio legislature, for example, ratified the Fourteenth Amendment in early 1867. A few months later, the same legislature voted to strengthen Ohio’s abortion ban, with the committee overseeing the bill calling abortion “child murder.”

These facts pose a fatal problem for Roe’s alleged abortion right. According to Roe, the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits doing exactly what the people who adopted the Fourteenth Amendment actually did. This is a ridiculous view. It’s presumably why, among the decision’s other debunked historical claims, Roe tried to suggest (on the basis of a tissue-paper-thin theory put forward by a lawyer for NARAL) that the anti-abortion laws weren’t meant to protect unborn children. Overwhelming historical evidence shows otherwise.

“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,” noted Justice William Rehnquist in his Roe dissent. “The only conclusion possible from this history is that the drafters did not intend to have the Fourteenth Amendment withdraw from the States the power to legislate with respect to this matter.”

The American people have never agreed to a constitutional right to abortion. That’s a fact, and it’s an obvious and undeniable fact.

(3) Roe offered a circular argument to justify its decision about who lives and who dies.

Which human beings may be legally protected from lethal violence and which human beings may not be? Roe drew the line at “viability”—when a child can survive (albeit with assistance) independently of her mother. (Roe also said, however, in conjunction with Doe v. Bolton, that any limit on post-viability abortion must include an exception so broad that it could effectively nullify the limit.)

What reasons did the Court give for this hugely significant decision, one with life-or-death consequences on a massive scale? Well, none. The Court had “no reason at all,” observes Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe (a strong abortion supporter). It chose viability arbitrarily. Roe merely offered this one-sentence circular explanation: “[Viability is the ‘compelling’ point] because the fetus then presumably has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb.”

Viability is important, that is, because viability is viability. “The Court’s defense,” quipped John Hart Ely, “seems to mistake a definition for a syllogism.”

If legislators crafting a law had no rationale whatsoever for a crucially important choice, that would be appalling. This is far worse. Supreme Court justices are not lawmakers. They are judges who are supposed to interpret and apply the law that already exists. And they didn’t even pretend that their viability criterion had anything to do with it.

How Roe undermines democracy

So Roe v. Wade badly misapplied the Constitution—or just disregarded it altogether—in order to invent and impose a new nationwide abortion policy. Why is this such a big deal?

Justice Byron White, a dissenter in Roe, explained the problem in his dissent in Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists. “[T]he Constitution itself is ordained and established by the people of the United States,” he wrote. “[D]ecisions that find in the Constitution principles or values that cannot fairly be read into that document usurp the people’s authority, for such decisions represent choices that the people have never made, and that they cannot disavow through corrective legislation.”

Roe took the authority to determine abortion policy away from the elected branches of government. It undermined our democracy and the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution. And it continues to do so as courts decide the fate of even the most modest abortion-related laws enacted by our elected representatives. That’s why Roe must finally go.

Supporters of Roe aren’t in the habit of trying to defend it on its legal merits. “You will be hard-pressed to find a constitutional law professor … who will embrace [Roe] itself rather than the result,” says Kermit Roosevelt. Those who defend Roe do so entirely because they like the policy it created. But this is America. The people should be allowed to have a say.

“[A] bad decision is a bad decision,” writes Richard Cohen, a supporter of abortion, in the Washington Post. “If the best we can say for [Roe] is that the end justifies the means, then we have not only lost the argument—but a bit of our soul as well.”

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Roe v. Wade’s disastrous impact on medical ethics

By Nancy Valko

Editor’s note. This appears in the digital January issue of National Right to Life News. Please share selected stories from the 48-page edition with family and friends.

Marie Valko at age 3 with her newborn sister Karen

Most people volunteer for the pro-life movement. I consider myself a draftee. For me, there was no “choice.” I became a conscript because of personal and professional experiences that followed in the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision.

I was a young intensive care unit nurse in 1973. Like most people I knew, I was shocked when abortion was legalized. As a medical professional, I couldn’t imagine good doctors and nurses condoning — much less participating in — such a brutal act.

However, I quickly found that my medical colleagues were split on the issue. In a foreshadowing of what was to come, those supporting what was then said to be “only” early abortions were the most vocal and insistent. Our formerly cohesive unit began to fray.

However, I was professionally offended by the pro-life argument that legalizing abortion would lead to the legalization of infanticide and euthanasia. It was one thing to deny the truth with an early and unobserved unborn baby but it was quite another to imagine any doctor or nurse looking a born human being in the eye and killing him or her.

How wrong I was!

Infanticide and medical discrimination against people with disabilities

My eyes were opened with the 1982 “Baby Doe” case in Indiana. Baby Doe was a newborn baby boy with an easily correctable hole between his esophagus (food pipe) and trachea (windpipe). He was denied lifesaving surgery by his parents and a judge because he also had Down Syndrome. He also was not fed. Six days later, even while his case was being appealed to the Supreme Court, Baby Doe starved and dehydrated to death.

When we read the story, my husband and I wanted to adopt Baby Doe. But all offers of adoption were refused.

When our daughter Karen was born a few months after Baby Doe, we were stunned that she had both Down syndrome and a severe heart defect. I was determined that she would not become another Baby Doe.

The cardiologist told us that Karen had an 80-90% chance of survival with one open-heart surgery by age 6 months. He also gave us a “choice” –to let Karen die. I was outraged that he could even consider not treating my daughter like any other baby with the same heart defect.

Even worse, when my daughter was hospitalized with pneumonia at 4 months, I was tipped off that my trusted pediatrician had made her a “do not resuscitate” without my knowledge or consent because “Nancy is too emotionally involved with that retarded baby.” I then realized that “choice” was just an empty slogan that had infected medical ethics.

Although Karen survived that incident, she unfortunately died at age 5 1/2 months, just before her scheduled surgery.

At last I finally joined the disability rights and the pro-life movements.

The “right to die” movement

A few years after Karen’s death, I was shocked by the so-called “right to die” movement that pushed “living wills” to refuse even food and water by tube if or when a person became incapacitated. I became involved in the Nancy Cruzan and Terri Schiavo cases.

Both involved seriously brain-injured, non-dying young women declared “vegetative,” a dehumanizing term invented in 1972. I wrote an op-ed for my local paper predicting that the potential pool of victims would expand if death by starvation and dehydration was allowed.

I was thinking about my own mother who had Alzheimer’s and cancer. At one point I was asked if our family was going to feed her. I replied that my mother would die naturally from her condition, not starvation and dehydration.

How far we have descended! Now, prominent doctors and the American Nurses Association are promoting what Compassion and Choices calls voluntary stopping of eating and drinking by mouth (VSED) as a legal option to “speed up dying” for competent people with serious illnesses. “Living wills” to prevent even spoon-feeding for people with dementia are also being developed.

Why? To “speed up dying” for people with serious illnesses. “Living wills” to prevent even spoon feeding are being developed.

Physician-assisted suicide

The “right to die” movement ultimately morphed into the “Compassion and Choices” (formerly the Hemlock Society), the extremely well-funded organization that promotes physician-assisted suicide by lethal overdose. In the late 1990s, Oregon became the first state to legalize assisted suicide. Now a handful of states and the District of Columbia have followed Oregon but the relentless effort to legalize physician-assisted suicide continues in the other states.

Over the years, I had cared for many suicidal people and I saw the seductive effect of people like Jack Kevorkian (the famous “Dr. Death”) had on them. As a nurse, I knew how dangerous it was to portray suicide as a “solution” to many at-risk people.

But it became personal when Marie, my 30 year old daughter, killed herself using an assisted suicide technique that she learned reading the pro-assisted suicide book Final Exit. My Marie had struggled with drug addiction for 16 years and in spite of our best efforts and those of her therapists, she finally succumbed to despair. She was the only suicidal person I ever lost.

I was not surprised when two people close to Marie became suicidal after her death. Fortunately, they were saved.

“Suicide contagion” is not a figment of someone’s imagination but a real phenomenon. It is no coincidence that the U.S. suicide rate has skyrocketed since Oregon first legalized physician-assisted suicide.

Euthanasia

I also discovered that it’s only a very short step from “I wouldn’t want to live like that” for assisted suicide to “No one should have to live like that” for euthanasia.

In 2003, Dr. Lloyd Thompson, then head of the Vermont Medical Society, escaped prosecution for intentionally giving a paralyzing, “life ending drug” to an elderly woman with terminal cancer whose breathing machine had been removed. The family had opposed prosecuting the doctor.

Ironically and around the same time, I was threatened with the loss of my job after I refused to increase a morphine drip “until he stops breathing” on an older man who did not stop breathing as expected after his ventilator was removed. The patient was presumed to have had a stroke when he did not wake up from sedation after 24 hours. I reported the situation up the chain of command at my hospital but no one supported me. I escaped termination that time but I refused to back down.

An autopsy later showed that the man had no lethal condition or brain injury.

Conclusion

As the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus wisely said,” I believe in the slippery slope the same way I believe in the Hudson River. It’s there.”

But until and unless we are ready to recognize what we unlock when we legalize “just a little bit” of medical killing, we may find that the slippery slope has no bottom and that no one is safe.

And I saw it all start with the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

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