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Unhappy Anniversary

Feb 4, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 20
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Roe v. Wade turned 40 last week, and we were finally greeted with some bracing honesty from those arguing for abortion on demand. But if Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams is to be commended for her honesty, it must be said her forthright argument is chilling. How’s this for a headline: “So what if abortion ends life?” She writes:

We make choices about life all the time in our country. We make them about men and women in other nations. We make them about prisoners in our penal system. We make them about patients with terminal illnesses and accident victims. We still have passionate debates about the justifications of our actions as a society, but we don’t have to do it while being bullied around by the vague idea that if you say we’re talking about human life, then the jig is up, rights-wise.

It seems absurd to suggest that the only thing that makes us fully human is the short ride out of some lady’s vagina.

Some 54 million abortions have been performed in this country since Roe v. Wade. While it may be a banal decision at a Planned Parenthood clinic, it’s exceedingly rare to find Americans standing in judgment of the innocent elsewhere. Outside of abortion, the vast majority of “-choices about life” we make are how to preserve, protect, and defend it. 

In fact, one of the main things that sets abortion apart is that “we” never made a choice about it—nine unelected Supreme Court justices did. Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has called Roe v. Wade “heavy-handed judicial intervention [that] was difficult to justify and appears to have provoked, not resolved, conflict.” 

Further, the notion that it’s “absurd to suggest that the only thing that makes us fully human is the short ride out of some lady’s vagina” is itself absurd. In America that “short ride” does make you a natural-born citizen, which confers upon you certain rights. 

If you’re now wondering how far Williams is willing to go to justify abortion, know that she’s willing to reject wholesale the founding principle of America. “The complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal,” she writes. 

You’ve heard this before, but in an age of legally sanctioned abortion it bears repeating: “All men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” In the face of such conviction, Williams can only shrug and say “So what?” The Founders in their wisdom also ensured our unalienable rights would include freedom of expression, up to and including, as we see these days, the forthright advocacy of barbarism.

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