When the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Roe v. Wade decision 41 years ago today, it was celebrated by some as a freedom that would benefit women. History has shown, however, that the decision has had an undeniably negative impact on American society. It has coarsened the nation and cheapened human life.
It goes beyond abortion, says the National Review’s Wesley J. Smith.
“Roe relativized nascent human life by making the moral value of a fetus dependent on whether he or she is wanted,” Smith writes. “Perhaps even more destructively, it also legitimized the dangerous notion that taking human life — killing — is a morally acceptable answer to human suffering.”
The legal principles espoused in Roe have been used to further devalue human life, he explains.
“Assisted suicide advocates explicitly tie their death agenda to the abortion license, claiming that anyone who supports the right of ‘pregnancy termination’ should also support the right of the sick and disabled to self-terminate,” Smith writes. “Following Roe’s legal playbook, assisted suicide advocates have repeatedly sought court rulings creating a constitutional right to what they euphemistically call ‘aid in dying.’”
He’s right, and judges are making the logical leap from abortion to assisted suicide. Human life is no longer a universal value.
New Mexico Judge Nan Nash recently discovered a new right to “aid in dying” for the terminally ill, and based her ruling on the “right to privacy” the Supremes discovered in Roe.
“This court cannot envision a right more fundamental, more private or more integral to the liberty, safety and happiness of a New Mexican than the right of a competent, terminally ill patient to choose aid in dying,” the judge wrote in a ruling last week.
Closer to home, the coming gubernatorial election will largely focus on the issue of abortion. Attorney General Greg Abbott is pro-life, but the newly minted celebrity Texas Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis is adamantly pro-abortion.
During the last legislative Session, she filibustered a pro-life bill because it set some reasonable limits on abortion clinics and terminating pregnancies after 20 weeks.
Though she’s spending the spring and summer calling her presumptive GOP opponent an “extremist,” she’s the one who holds an extreme position on abortion: it must be available to all women, at no cost to them, at any point during a pregnancy.
Her position reflects the view that ultimately comes down from Roe. She claims she’s “pro-life,” but she qualifies that to mean life she thinks worth living.
“I care about the life of every child: every child that goes to bed hungry, every child that goes to bed without a proper education, every child that goes to bed without being able to be a part of the Texas dream, every woman and man who worry about their children’s future and their ability to provide for that future,” she says.
Beyond the unspeakable tragedy of 55 million abortions since 1973, we’ve seen Roe v. Wade undermine what used to be a universally accepted truth: that human life is precious.