Larry Horist: Abortion-on-demand may be on the ropes (Part Two – This is Critical!)
In Part One, I dealt with the general issues surrounding the Supreme Court case involving the Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks as opposed to the current 24-week restriction. The 24-week threshold is based on the CURRENT arbitrary and imprecise medical determination and a political definition of “viability.” I emphasized “current” since as modern science has gained more knowledge about the developing fetus, the time of viability has been moving earlier into the gestation period.
Argument Number 1: Abortion should be allowed before “viability.”
In simple terms, “viability” means that the child can survive outside the womb. Pro-lifers challenge the very definition of viability – arguing that a developing human being in the womb is “viable” from conception as long as the unborn is nurtured by the host mother. They point out that even a full-term baby is not viable (survivable) without the care and nurturing of others – mostly the mother.
Premature babies at 24 weeks can survive – and many have. At 24 weeks, the child already has human features – as the photo atop this commentary shows.
Argument Number 2: It would create an undue hardship of women wanting an abortion.
Since the Supreme Court is considering two options – banning abortion after 15 weeks or reversing Roe v. Wade totally – there are two levels of arguable hardship – having to get the abortion before the 15-week deadline or having to carry the child to term.
As a sub-argument, the pro-abortion advocates say that overturning Roe v. Wade would have millions of women seeking illegal and dangerous “back-alley abortions.” If based on pre-Roe v. Wade figures, that number would not be anywhere near the exaggerated projected claim of “millions.”
The essential question, however, is at what time in the developmental process is the unborn person a protectable human being with the constitutional RIGHT to life. We know that happens before physical birth because of the many cases in which fetal death or injury were adjudicated in favor of the fetus as a human being.
Taking a human life summarily or arbitrarily can never be defended based on hardship or inconvenience to the person taking that life. That put the issue back on the question of WHEN – when is that developing human a fully recognized person with rights of his or her own – the right to live regardless of the hardship or inconvenience of another.
Argument Number 3: Women have come to rely on abortions
This is generally known as the “reliance doctrine” in law. It basically means that something that may otherwise be considered illegal or improper has won such wide acceptance among the public that the egregious practice should be allowed to continue.
We saw that in 2020 in Pennsylvania where tens of thousands of mail-in votes were counted after the legal deadline for submission. Election officials had changed the deadline due to the Pandemic, but it was a violation of the law and the Pennsylvania Constitution. The otherwise illegal ballots were allowed to be counted – instead of being rejected as the law required — because well-intentioned people had relied on the illegal procedural change.
Argument Number 4: It is a woman’s right exclusively to make the abortion decision.
This is the one argument that I have always found to be the most preposterous. This flies in the face of the Constitution’s promise of equal justice … science … and logic. In every abortion, there are three stakeholders – the mother, the father and the unborn child.
While biology has made it the role of the woman to host and naturally nurture the unborn in the initial stages of development, that fetus is not part of her body as is a liver or a kidney. It is not part of the female standard equipment.
Making the woman the sole decision-maker is not unlike slavery in which the owner has the exclusive power of life and death over the slave. The unfettered decision by the mother that the human being developing in her womb has no right to live is contrary to all concepts of law and logic.
The “right” of which pro-abortion advocates speak is a technical or arbitrary right that has been confirmed – inappropriately in the judgment of pro-fifers – by a misguided Supreme Court responding to the zeitgeist of an earlier time – responding to politics instead of the Constitution’s admonition to a preeminent right to life – the constitutional promise to LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Everything in the Constitution is predicated on the right to life. Without it no rights exist.
Abrogating the rights of the father runs contrary to law and traditions where joint responsibilities and liabilities are generally recognized. Parental rights are generally recognized in both parents. In the case of the life or death of the offspring, all power is currently provided to the mother. The father’s role is only recognized in the case of a birth. Should the father be able to demand an abortion for economic or other reasons?
Argument Number 5: Abortion is a woman’s health issue
It is almost unbelievable that the health issue is even advanced as a reason for literally taking the life of another developing human being. It is also a two-sided issue. There are legitimate physical and mental health issues associated with having a child AND having an abortion. One can only advance the health argument if one completely disregards the health of the developing human and the health risks – mental and physical – of abortions.
In support of the woman’s exclusive right and the so-called “health issue,” the abortion advocates used the term “body integrity.” Again, this is based on the denial of rights to that other body – the developing human in the womb.
Argument Number 6: The Constitution does not ban abortion
First of all, the Constitution deals with overarching concepts of rights and freedoms. It does not ban murder. What it does is to articulate inalienable rights – under which laws are enacted in defense of those rights.
Argument Number 7: Opposition to abortion is merely a religious issue
In the hearing, Justice Sotomayor specifically said that opposition to abortion is “a religious issue.” It was shocking to hear a justice of the Supreme Court make such an absurd assertion. To apply her standard across the board, murder is a religious issue because the Ten Commandments include “Thou shalt kill.” This was more of a deflection from the serious issues than a contribution.
Argument Number 8: The fetus is not a human being
The assumption upon which the entire pro-abortion rests is that in the earliest stages of gestation, the developing human is not … human. Is not a person. But that transition from useless and unwanted piece of flesh to a recognized human is determinable by the ever-changing opinions of doctors implemented by the capricious and arbitrary actions of legislators.
There is no event that can identify that transition between fleshy tissue and human being. The fetus at 15 or 24 weeks is essentially the same being at 15 weeks and one day – or 24 weeks and one day. There is nothing in science or biology that can draw a distinction and when a fetus can be killed – but be protected one day later. That moment is imprecise and every changing.
There is only one event at which scientists can clearly see a transition to human – and that is conception. That is the moment that the DNA is complete. At that moment, the developing human has hair and eye color … the shape of the ears … and even latent diseases. The only difference between the fertilized egg and the newborn child is physical appearance. And in too many cases, the aborted baby is disturbingly human looking – bodies with fingers and toes and all the internal organs – which Planned Parenthood was harvesting and selling.
Argument Number 9: Abortions were allowed under common law in colonial times
Whether that is partially true or widely accepted is irrelevant. One could have made the same point for the preservation of slavery. If something is wrong, its practice in history is not a good argument. If it were, we would still be talking about the ancient form of human sacrifice.
Argument Number 11: Abortion is favored by a majority of the people.
First, that is an oversimplification. While polls show support of the concept of abortion, the public also favors a varying array of restrictions — most notably major opposition to late-term and post-birth abortions. The number of people supporting abortion drops significantly when asked: “Do you approve of abortions for economic reasons?” or “Do you approve of abortions if unwed?”
But even in noting the levels of public opinion on various aspects of abortion, the fundamental argument is totally flawed in that the Supreme Court is the one branch of government that must stand apart from popular opinion of political viewpoints. But rather, focus on the constitutional language and inference.
For the past 48 years, the essential question at the core of the abortion debate has never changed. There is no argument that the fertilized human egg is the launching point of a real human being – a person who has, at some point, all the inalienable and constitutional rights recognized in America. The issue is at what point society confers the civic sacrament of humanness. The very arbitrary and ever moving point of biological citizenship is, in and of itself, proof that there is no definitive answer outside of conception, itself.
It seemed to me in listening to the entire proceeding that the pro-abortion arguments were based on arguably false assumptions and political considerations. Overturning Roe v. Wade would not be a political decision – as Justice Sotomayor claims – but allowing it to stand would be. We know that because one of the pro-abortion advocates major arguments has been public popularity based on political viewpoints and polls.
All we can do now is wait for the decision. I will not be attending any pro-life rallies since public pressure is no longer appropriate or effective. Let those who want to pander for media attention go for it. The rest of us will stay calm and pray for a good outcome.
So, there ‘tis.