Roe v. Wade: A Constitutional and Moral Abortion Tragedy

Opinion   |   Sen. Orrin Hatch   |   Jan 22, 2012   |   12:46PM   |   Washington, DC

Some anniversaries should not have to be celebrated because the events they mark should not have occurred.  January 22, 2012, the 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, is one of them.  That decision is one of the greatest moral and legal tragedies in American history.

It is a moral tragedy in multiple ways, and they all stem from one inescapable fact.  Every abortion kills a living human being.  No word game, subject change, or political spin can change that fact.  There have been nearly 50 million abortions since 1973 and, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, the “decline in abortion incidence has stalled.”  More babies in America lose their lives to abortion every two days than American service members have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003.

As President Ronald Reagan wrote on Roe‘s 10th anniversary, the question is not when human life begins, but what is the value of human life?  That remains the question today.  Our Declaration of Independence says that every individual is created and given rights by God.  The federal government spends hundreds of billions of dollars each year on programs to help the poor, elderly, sick, or disabled.  Why?  It is nothing less than moral schizophrenia to say that the very same people who should be helped today could have been killed before they were born.

There is a glimmer of light peeking through this otherwise dark cloud.  After nearly four decades of pro-abortion propaganda and the drumbeat that abortion is a constitutional right, most Americans still oppose most abortions and a majority says that they are pro-life and that abortion is morally wrong.

Roe v. Wade is also a legal tragedy in the way it reached these morally tragic results.   Make no mistake, there is no right to abortion in the Constitution; the Supreme Court simply made it up.  Take a step back from the subject of abortion for a minute and think about what this means.  The Constitution is supposed to be the primary way that the people impose limits and rules on government.  The Constitution is written down so everyone will know what those limits and rules are.  George Washington said that the people’s control over the Constitution is literally the heart of our system of government.  Our freedom depends on it.  But when the Supreme Court changes the Constitution, as it did in Roe, it takes control of the Constitution away from the people, and their freedom along with it.

The phrase “judicial activism” gets tossed around a lot these days, as if it is nothing more than a label for any decision you do not like.  Judicial activism really means judges taking control of the law in order to produce certain results.  Claiming that there is a right to abortion in a Constitution that says no such thing, and using this made-up right to strike down state and federal laws, is as activist as it gets.

President Reagan wrote in his essay: “We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life – the unborn – without diminishing the value of all human life.”  Make no mistake about it; the end result of an activist judiciary that rejected our most cherished constitutional principles is the loss of 50 million innocent lives.  In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court used judicially tragic means to achieve a morally tragic end.  By highjacking the Constitution and creating this so-called right to abortion, the Supreme Court attacked not only the value of human life itself, but also the liberty of all Americans.  I hope that this decision has few anniversaries left.

LifeNews Note:  Orrin Hatch is a pro-life Republican U.S. Senator from Utah.