Jewish World Review May 22, 2013/ 13 Sivan 5773
The growing case for life
By Paul Greenberg
The jurisprudence of Her Honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the
Back in the summer of 2009, Madam Justice Ginsburg let the cat out of the bag, or rather the tiger, when she was talking about Roe v. Wade, the celebrated magna carta of abortion in this country:
"Reproductive choice has to be straightened out. There will never be a woman of means without choice any more. That just seems to me so obvious. The states that changed their abortion laws before Roe are not going to change back. So we have a policy that only affects poor women, and it can never be otherwise. ... Frankly, I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of."
Gentle Reader can just imagine what kind of population our contemporary
On this occasion Madam Justice was more than candid; she was right -- certainly by all the barometers of public opinion and the trend of legislative enactments in state after state. Can anyone now recall the political atmosphere in 1973 when the court handed down Roe v. Wade, and it was taken almost as inevitable that the tide of abortions would now sweep over the whole country? "
Instead of settling the abortion issue, the court's ruling initiated a Forty Years' War that continues to this day. Is there any great issue in American law that is less settled, or more unsettling, than Roe v. Wade? If so, it would be hard to think of one.
Even the most fervent fans of abortion admit that today their cause is on the wane, that they've lost the moral initiative in this struggle to win the minds and hearts of the American people. And are losing more of us every day.
Nothing so testifies to the ever growing strength of pro-life sentiment like such testimonials from the other side of this issue.
After some 40 years in the wilderness that this contentious debate has become, the momentum has shifted. Just since 2010, some 32 states have adopted more than 100 pro-life laws. Among them is one here in
Why this sea change in public opinion over the past four decades? Has the American conscience been aroused at last? Does it stir even among judges and law professors?
My theory is that neither law nor conscience explains this shift, but science. According to Roe, abortions for whatever reasons (or none at all) are permissible to the point of "viability," a legal rather than scientific term. And that point keeps being pushed back further and further till one day it will surely be recognized, as the biology texts have long informed us, that life begins at conception.
It is Roe v. Wade, the
The hope is that the
But if the
JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.
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