February 16, 1998

Roe v. Wade devalues human life

By Steve Scroggins


Economists study market forces that vary the prices of goods and services but they have no measures for the social forces that cheapen the value of human life. Nonetheless, numerous incidents suggest a diminishing value.

Susan Smith, of Union, S.C., drowned her two young sons. A Macon woman smothered her daughter, dumped her body and fabricated an abduction story. We regularly read about newborns abandoned in toilets and dumpsters. In the last few months, a Griffin man allegedly slammed his infant son's head against pavement and a Cordele woman allegedly cut her 11-year-old son's throat.

Even "savage" beasts protect their young from harm. What went wrong with the natural parental instincts in these cases? Is the number of "aberrations" like these growing? I submit that society has placed more and more emphasis on self-gratification and less on traditional mores that value human life, even those of children.

The 1970's have been described as the "me decade" of narcissism. The Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision (Jan. 22, 1973) authorized unrestricted first-trimester abortion in all states. "Choice" became the euphemism for choosing economic or social convenience over the life of an unborn child. The rare "medical dilemma" to protect the mother's life is now an insignificant percentage of all abortions performed.

Is the prevalence of abortion linked to society's increasing violence? Is abortion a "cause" or an "effect?" I think any action that diminishes the value of human life results in increased anti-social behaviors of all kinds. In the 25 years since Roe v. Wade, we've seen increasing numbers of remorseless killers, "gang bangers" and Dr. Kervorkian-type thinking. Many of these stories induce shock at first, but over time, we become numbed to reports of senseless violence and random evil.

Violence against adults is horrible, but violence against children affects us on a deeper level because most of us have a built-in instinct to protect little ones. People who raise money to feed the hungry know that images of starving children are the most effective in loosening contributor's purse strings. In the Gospel, Jesus frequently uses parables with children because the instinct to care for and protect children is assumed to be universal.

In politics, those who want to increase government spending or change policies often exhort others to cooperate "for the children." Our current President cannot deliver a State of the Union speech without repeatedly invoking child welfare. Yet, this same President has twice vetoed bills to ban what amounts to infanticide.

"Partial birth abortion" is killing an infant half way through the birth canal. Medical experts agree that there's never a medical or health-of-the-mother justification for this "procedure." Any pretense of caring for children while defending partial birth abortion is irrational at best, if not brazen hypocrisy.

The realities of 25 years of abortion "choices" are too horrific to face, so we avert our eyes and cling to euphemisms. We can't cherish children and explain these staggering numbers. Thanks go to Father Tim McKeown of St. Joseph's Catholic Church for recently suggesting new analogies for these numbers.

Since 1973, 30 million human beings have been erased by abortion. That's the equivalent of five Third Reich holocausts. Thirty million people equates to over 14 TWA Flight 800 explosions a day, to over 19 Oklahoma City bombings a day, to more than two Titanic sinkings a day or to losing the entire population of Houston County every month.

Terrorist atrocities, natural disasters and airline tragedies dramatized by media coverage evoke intense emotions and usually induce calls for increased security, safety or preventive measures. If such events occurred daily, Congress, regulators and law enforcement would all swing into urgent action.

Are we really so numbed that 137 abortions per hour doesn't prod us to immediate action? Please articulate your own position on this issue to your elected representatives. The unborn can't speak but we know what their choice would be.

Copyright 1998 Steve Scroggins - All rights reserved.

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National Right to Life -

National Abortion Rights Action League -

From The Federalist -



July 4, 1776, fifty-six men pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor as their commitment to a list of principles they believed were absolute truths. At the top of that list was the unalienable right to life. The document is known as the Declaration of Independence.

January 22, 1973, seven Supreme Court justices legalized the utmost form of discrimination against a certain class of Americans based on their age, location, and desirability to their immediate families. This landmark case, we know as Roe vs. Wade.

When the guilty receive capital punishment, many term that a barbaric practice. Most imminent executions make the national news. Vigils are held, and TVs light up from coast to coast. But when thousands of innocent, unborn children are put to death, we call it a constitutional right. This barbarism goes unmentioned, except for the celebrated condemnation of those who attempt to stand between innocence and certain death.

In the time it takes to read this essay, six unborn children will be sacrificed to the whims of convenience, six nameless fellow citizens. In another day, their names might have been Hancock, Chase, Adams, Harrison, Morris -- or Jefferson.

Fifty-six men, who believed that the unalienable right to life was God ordained, instituted the foundation of the greatest country in world history. But today, our elected representatives cannot even find the decency to condemn infanticide. "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" are the cornerstones of freedom. The incremental rejection of the sanctity of life will ultimately lead to tyranny. Indeed -- if the right to life is not universal among all humans, then on what basis can any of us legitimately claim it?

This next weekend, Independence Day celebrations will fill beaches and parks to capacity. But on Monday, the lives of 4,000 children will end in abortions. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Do we?

 ---From The Federalist -

 Other quotes on abortion and the court

Veritas vos Liberabit -- The truth will make you free. "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (Jesus speaking to the Jews in John 8:32)

On "Constitutional support" for abortion

"I can't imagine the Founding Fathers intended the Constitution to protect infanticide." --Dick Armey.

"...[F]ive verbose jurisprudes who can't bear to describe what they have declared lawful and can't provide a single coherent reason why they replaced the legacy of Hippocrates with that of Dr. Mengele." --Tony Snow on "live-birth abortion."

++ "When the history of the rise and fall of America is finally written, it may well be recorded that the beginning of the end was signaled by the blind submission of a pagan people to the tyranny of a 'nine-headed Caesar'." --Linda Bowles

Justice Scalia's dissenting remarks, on the Supreme Court's decision to strike down a state law barring infanticide, are worth repeating:

"I am optimistic enough to believe that, one day, Stenberg v. Carhart will be assigned its rightful place in the history of this Court's jurisprudence beside Korematsu and Dred Scott. The method of killing a human child one cannot even accurately say an entirely unborn human child proscribed by this statute is so horrible that the most clinical description of it evokes a shudder of revulsion. And the Court must know (as most state legislatures banning this procedure have concluded) that demanding a 'health exception' which requires the abortionist to assure himself that, in his expert medical judgment, this method is, in the case at hand, marginally safer than others (how can one prove the contrary beyond a reasonable doubt?) is to give live-birth abortion free rein. The notion that the Constitution of the United States, designed, among other things, 'to establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, . . . and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,' prohibits the States from simply banning this visibly brutal means of eliminating our half-born posterity is quite simply absurd... I dissent."

Regarding the Supreme Court's rejection of Nebraska's legislation against live-birth abortions, George W. Bush said, "States should have the right to enact reasonable laws and restrictions, particularly concerning the brutal practice of partial-birth abortion. The American people can take steps to protect children who are in the process of being born, and they should have that right. I hope to be able to come up with a law that meets the constitutional scrutiny. And, unlike Al Gore, I pledge to fight for a ban on partial-birth abortion."