Yesterday was the fortieth anniversary of the infamous Roe vs. Wade decision. In honor of that milestone, John Piper has written a most interesting post on the subject. It’s long but worth taking the time to read. Charles Krauthammer, no social conservative, says that this is the one social battle that Liberals and Progressives are not winning. Here’s what John said:
John Piper | January 22, 2013
But before I show that, let’s clarify what the Supreme Court did forty years ago today. In Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court in effect made abortion on demand untouchable by law. The way this was done was with two steps.
One step was to say, laws may not prevent abortion, even during the full nine months, if the abortion is “to preserve the life or health of the mother.” The other step was to define “health” as “all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman's age — relevant to the well-being of the patient.”
For forty years this has meant that any perceived stress is a legal ground for eliminating the child. We have killed fifty million babies. And what increases our guilt as a nation is that we know what we are doing. Here’s the evidence that we know we are killing children.
1. Anecdotally, abortionists will admit they are killing children.Many simply say it is the lesser of two evils. I took an abortionist out to lunch once, prepared to give him ten reasons why the unborn are human beings. He stopped me, and said, “I know that. We are killing children.” I was stunned. He said, “It’s simply a matter of justice for women. It would be a greater evil to deny women the equal right of reproductive freedom.” Which means women should be no more encumbered by the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy than men. That equal freedom from the burden of bearing unwanted children is the basis for abortion that President Obama refers to again and again when he talks about equal rights for women. We know we are killing children.
2. States treat the killing of the unborn as a homicide.We know what we are doing because 38 States (including Minnesota) treat the killing of an unborn child as a form of homicide. They have what are called “fetal homicide laws.”
It is illegal to take the life of the unborn if the mother wants the baby, but it is legal to take the life of the unborn if she doesn’t. In the first case the law treats the fetus as a human with rights; in the second case the law treats the fetus as non-human with no rights.
Humanness is defined by the desire of the strong. Might makes right. We reject this right to define personhood in the case of Nazi anti-Semitism, Confederate race-based slavery, and Soviet Gulags. When we define the humanness of the unborn by the will of the powerful we know what we are doing.
3. Fetal surgery treats the unborn as children and patients.High risk pregnancy specialist, Dr. Steve Calvin, in a letter some years ago to the Arizona Daily Star, wrote, “There is inescapable schizophrenia in aborting a perfectly normal 22 week fetus while at the same hospital, performing intra-uterine surgery on its cousin.” When the unborn are wanted, they are treated as children and patients. When they are not wanted, they are not children. We know what we are doing.
4. Being small does not disqualify personhood.The five-foot-eight frame of a teenage son guarantees him no more right to life than the 23-inch frame of his little sister in her mother's arms. Size is morally irrelevant. One inch, 23 inches, 68 inches — does not matter. It is morally irrelevant in deciding who should be protected. We know what we are doing in killing the smallest.
5. Not having developed reasoning does not disqualify personhood.A one-month-old infant, nursing at his mother's breast, does not have reasoning powers. But only a few dare argue that infanticide is therefore acceptable. Most know better. Outside and inside the womb the infant cannot yet reason, but is a human person. We know what we are doing.
6. Being in the womb does not disqualify human personhood.Location or environment does not determine a right to life. Scott Klusendorf asks, “How does a simple journey of seven inches down the birth canal suddenly transform the essential nature of the fetus from non-person to person?” We know what we are doing.
7. Being dependent on mommy does not disqualify personhood.We consider persons on respirators or dialysis to be human beings. The unborn cannot be disqualified from human personhood because they are dependent on their mother for food and oxygen. In fact, we operate on the exact opposite principle: The more dependent a little one is on us, the more responsibility we feel to protect him, not the less. We know what we are doing.
(Those last four observations, #4-7, were summed up by Scott Klusendorf under the acronym SLED: Size, Level of development, Environment, Degree of dependence — none is morally relevant for the definition of human life.)
8. The genetic make up of humans is unique.The genetic make up of a human is different from all other creatures from the moment of conception. The human code is complete and unique from the start. Once that was not known. Now we know.
9. All the organs are present at eight weeks of gestation.At eight weeks of gestation all the organs are present. The brain is functioning, the heart pumping, the liver making blood cells, the kidney cleaning the fluids, the finger has a print. Yet almost all abortions happen later than this date. We know what we are doing.
10. We have seen the photographs.The marvel of ultrasound has given a stunning window into the womb that shows the unborn, for example, at 8 weeks sucking his thumb, recoiling from pricking, responding to sound. Watch this four-minute video of the developing unborn child. We know that they are children.
11. When two rights conflict, the higher value should be protected.We know the principle of justice that when two legitimate rights conflict, the right that protects the higher value should prevail. We deny the right to drive at 100 miles per hour because the value of life is greater than the value of being on time or getting thrills. The right of the unborn not to be killed and the right of a woman not to be pregnant may be at odds. But they are not equal rights. Staying alive is more precious and more basic than not being pregnant. We know what we are doing when we kill a child.
For Christians who believe the Bible, we could add at least ten more reasons why we know what is happening in abortion, and why it is wrong. But the aim here is threefold.
- To make clear that we will not be able to defend ourselves with the claim of ignorance. We knew. All of us.
- To solidify our conviction to resist this horrific evil.
- To intensify our prayer and our preaching toward gospel-based soul-renovation in our land, because hardness of heart, not ignorance, is at the root of this carnage.
AND THE CLINCHER
As the 40th anniversary of those two cases - Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton - approaches later this month, news media is already filling up with retrospectives from leaders on both sides of the issue about the past 40 years and the state of the abortion debate.
In the midst of this flurry of media coverage a woman named Sandro Cano has quietly issued a media release on a Christian newswire service calling for the two Supreme Court cases to be overturned. This in itself might seem unremarkable, until you learn Cano’s other name: Mary Doe.
Yes, that Mary Doe.
In 1970, a 22-year-old Cano was pregnant with her fourth child, after having lost custody of two of her children and adopting out the third. Abortion was illegal in Georgia, the state where Cano was living, except in extreme circumstances, but lawyers argued that she should be allowed to abort. In a decision released on the same day as Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed.
While the better known Roe v. Wade struck down all state restrictions on abortion pre-viability, Doe v. Bolton extended the right to abort through all nine months of pregnancy.
But Cano has since claimed that the whole foundation of Doe v. Bolton was a lie: that she never actually wanted nor requested an abortion and that she was tricked into signing an affidavit about abortion in the process of filing for divorce from her husband and seeking to regain custody of her other children.
According to Cano she actually fled the state when her mother and lawyer tried to force her into getting an abortion.
In 2003, Cano launched legal proceedings to try to overturn the case that bears her name. “I was nothing but a symbol in Doe v. Bolton with my experience and circumstances discounted and misrepresented,” she wrote in an affidavit at the time.
But while her attempt to have the case reheard failed, this hasn’t stopped her from working to overturn the case in other ways. In her statement this week, Cano reiterated her belief that she was “fraudulently used by the Court system to bring abortion to America.”
“No one should have a right to kill their children. No mother should ever want to do so,” she said, describing her case as a “covenant with death.”
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Meanwhile, another women, Norma McCorvey, briefly captured headlines during last year’s election cycle when she released a pro-life ad featuring graphic pictures of aborted children and accusing President Obama of “killing babies” by his support for abortion.
Most won’t recognize McCorvey’s real name, but will instantly recognize her pseudonym: Jane Roe. Yes, that Jane Roe.
Though McCorvey worked as an abortion activist for years after Roe v. Wade was handed down, she announced a conversion to the pro-life cause in the mid 1990s. The conversion came after the pro-life group Operation Rescue moved in next door to the abortion clinic where she worked, and she came personally to know several pro-life leaders.
“I was persuaded by feminist attorneys to lie; to say that I was raped, and needed an abortion,” Norma stated in last year’s ad. “It was all a lie.”
“Since then, over 50 million babies have been murdered. I will take this burden to my grave,” she said.
In 2003, Norma filed to re-open Roe v. Wade, a petition that was dismissed. Much like Sandra, however, Norma continues to speak out about her involvement in the case.
“I'm 100 percent sold out to Jesus and 100 percent pro-life,” Norma writes in a testimony published on her website. "No exceptions. No compromise."
To many it will come as a shock that neither of the two women whose names are practically synonymous with legal abortion in America actually had an abortion, and that borth are now both passionately pro-life and have dedicated their lives to trying to overturn the cases that bear their names.
That very few know about Norma and Sandra is thanks no doubt in part to the silence of abortion activists and a largely liberal and pro-abortion mainstream media, for whom the defection of the pair is an embarrassment to be swept under the rug - especially given the women's unflattering descriptions of the deceptive techniques abortion activists used to get them on board in the first place.
Both of the women were young, uneducated, poor, and ripe for exploitation at the time they became the center of a national firestorm. And both of them say that their cases were based upon outright lies: in Norma's case, the lie that she had been raped, and in Sandra's case, that she ever wanted an abortion in the first place. These are facts that are best kept quiet if Roe v. Wade is to stand.
But according to Troy Newman of Operation Rescue, the pro-life movement could also do a better job of telling their own history and reminding people of the precarious foundation of abortion in America.
“Most of the pro-life movement is new,” Newman said in an interview with LifeSiteNews.com, “and the mistake of leaders like me is that we don’t talk much about” the history of the movement.
“I was with Norma when she converted to Christian, and then later to Roman Catholic,” said Newman. “I’ve been in contact with Sandra Cano. And it’s like because I know it, I don’t repeat it.”
The challenge of educating the younger generations was driven home by a Pew Research poll released this month that found that only 44 percent of people under 30 even know that Roe v. Wade dealt with abortion.
But according to Newman, it’s critical that people know the facts about Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. “The foundation of Roe is cracking and crumbling all around us and the ones who prop it up do so artificially by ignoring the facts and the evidence,” he said.
“The abortion industry decided they know how to win on abortion, and that’s not to talk about abortion, and don’t talk about history. But when we look at the objective facts, like Sandra Cano and Norma McCorvey, so many others who were involved or had abortions, they’re against it now," he said.
“And the only way pro-aborts seem to be able to propagate it is to hide the ugly truth of abortion," he added. "Never talk about abortion. Don’t talk about those who converted, and don’t allow any intellectual discourse.”
The stories of Norma and Sandra are important, he said, because they demonstrate how "people that have had any experience with abortion or who have thought about it for any length of time, naturally become pro-life."
"Sandra Cano and Norma McCorvey are no different," he said. "They’ve seen the terrible side effects of Roe v. Wade, and what it’s wrought on society. Countless seas of wounded poeople. The horrible tragedy of abortion."
Don't tell me you don't know there are lines of couples seeking to adopt babies because they cannot have them for one reason or another. There are organizations who take in pregnant mothers and help them through pregnancy and find homes for the child if the mother will just give that child a chance to live! There are homes out there waiting for babies, prospective parents hoping to adopt children, often resorting to reaching out to third world countries to find a baby to raise. Go ahead and Google "adopting a baby" and you will find that you have to get on a waiting list and jump through hoops to adopt a baby. There is more demand for babies from couples hoping to adopt than there is supply of babies that the mothers will give up.
Today I say to you, enjoy your journey in life and please don't support those who want to deny others their right to be born and have the chance you have had to live in this world.