Abortion: The Day Of Reckoning Approaches
January 3, 2022
The Supreme Court will rule on overturning the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion; whatever their decision, expect an outcry from either side of the debate.
The culture war in America has raged on for some years now. The battle lines have been drawn, and the ravages of conflict and its victims have been many. Although not of bullets and bombs, nor the quest for dominion over lands and people, this is a war of words and accusations, of philosophical, ideological and political differences. But still, much blood has been shed. And many of those who have fallen, as in any war, have been the most innocent.
Since it began, there have been a number of issues fought over in the culture war: gun rights, education, immigration, voting rights, law and order. But the one that can be said to have created the greatest outcry, frustration, anger, and heated protest, and that is the cause of much division among the American people is abortion, the termination of innocent human life. For pro-life advocates, the killing of the unborn defies the sanctity and dignity of life, and for the abortion supporters, it is said to be a woman’s choice and concerns only her body. The accusations and vituperation among both groups has been fierce, personal and deadly.
Since the Roe v. Wade ruling by the Supreme Court in 1973 legalizing abortion, over 62 million innocent unborn babies in the wombs of their mothers have been put to death, many in a most brutal and barbaric procedure. Politics plays a significant role in the debate, Republicans and Democrats have both taken every opportunity to restrict or codify abortion into law, respectively.
In any war there is always a hope for peace, where enemies would come together for the good of the people, in the spirit of ending the battle, and that leaders would sit down and reach a compromise and end the bloodshed. In the case of abortion, however, this important responsibility falls to the Supreme Court, and the attorneys arguing the case.
On December 1 (2021), both sides of the battle appeared and stood before the court and the American people, in an effort to hopefully reach a compromise. The nine justices heard oral opening arguments to find either for the defendant and overturn abortion, or uphold precedence and the Roe v. Wade decision for the plaintiff. This meeting of both sides of the abortion issue has been a long time in coming, but as has happened in some wars throughout history, any ruling the court makes will not satisfy all the people, and the battle and the protests, and the threats of unrest will persist.
The case before the court, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, involves the state of Mississippi and its restriction of abortion after 15 weeks, and regarding the life of the mother. There is also the question of whether all pre-viability prohibitions - 24 weeks - on elective abortions are unconstitutional. Lower courts have ruled in favor for the state, and the legislation is still enacted today. The Supreme Court, like factions in a war, is also divided.
There are currently six conservative and three liberal Justices on the Supreme Court, and based on their comments and the questions asked, it seems clear where their affinities lie, which should come as no surprise. Based on conservative justices Alito, Barrett, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Roberts, and Thomas, and their questioning as to where the right to an abortion is found in the constitution, the echo chamber in the mainstream media before the session ended sounded the alarm, “The Supreme Court seems poised to consider new limits on the right to abortion.”
Justice Thomas, in a rather uncharacteristic manner, was the most vocal in questioning the right to abortion. His remarks left no doubt what would be an essential element in his decision, and that there is no right to abortion in the constitution; he asked the attorney for the plaintiff “Would you specifically state what the right is? Is it specifically abortion, is it a liberty, is it autonomy, is it privacy?”
Justice Kavanaugh spoke of a common interpretation by some constitutional scholars that “Nothing in the document enumerates or protects these so-called abortion rights.” Chief Justice Roberts questioned whether 15 weeks is a sufficient amount of time to decide whether to have an abortion. It is believed that Roberts feels the best alternative is to uphold the Mississippi 15 week restriction, but not overturn Roe v. Wade.
Justice Sotomayor seemed out of sorts and quite disturbed by what I believe was her realization of what the ultimate ruling will be. She lashed out and became political, saying, “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the constitution and its reading are just political acts?” “I don’t see how it is possible.” For many, including those in the law profession, her vitriolic remarks were disturbing and unbecoming a justice of the Supreme Court.
I have only touched the surface here. Because of the monumental importance of the issue and eventual ruling, the exchange between the justices and lawyers was extensive, in-depth, and at times heated. Whatever the decision by the court, whether it finds for Mississippi or Dobbs, in the minds of many Americans the culture war will rage on, and abortion will continue to divide us. The court should reach a verdict by June 2022; let us pray they find for the unborn.
Visit Bob Pascarella's website at www.ShortStoriesInVerse.com