Our hat is off to Commentary columnist John O’Sullivan and the Chicago Sun Times for his column Tuesday entitled “Do you really know our abortion law?” This is precisely what Chicagoans and millions of other readers across the nation need desperately to hear.
Column Shows People Don’t Know Roe
It’s a message after our own heart as the Pro-Life Action League is deeply in the throes of a national campaign to educate the America people on the parameters and real permissiveness of Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton, the 1973 abortion rulings. Here are highlights of his column:
After comparing European and American abortion laws that show that Europe’s are stricter, and the US laws wide-open, he says what people think they think about abortion is influenced by what they actually know about it. But the ignorance about abortion is so vast that clarification about what the 1973 rulings actually say is desperately needed.
Well, Ramesh Ponnuru has written a book that clarifies the issue once for all. It’s title is “The Party of Death,” and in it Ponnuru, senior editor of National Review, tells what Roe and Doe did in making abortion legal in America. His main point is that the rulings gives a woman a total right to have an abortion right up to the moment of her baby’s birth, something Americans don’t want to believe.
He also makes it clear that Roe insists that states may neither ban nor regulate abortion when a doctor has said a woman’s health could be affected if she doesn’t get the abortion. And Doe vs. Bolton says the doctor’s medical judgment is exercised in the light of all factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman’s age, all relevant to the well-being of the patient.
Abortion: Legal Even During Birth!
In brief, O’Sullivan notes, here is unfettered choice posing as a clinical decision. He writes that Roe and Doe together allow a woman and her doctor to have a legal abortion for any reason at any time before birth, and arguably even during birth. This is the law of the land. Most Americans don’t know this, but if they did, the majority would oppose it, since polls show that 68 percent of Americans don’t like abortion in the second or third trimester. Yet they do not believe it is legal in both.
Ponnuru says the truth is that most Americans oppose most abortions but still say they support Roe. They can say that because they don’t understand Roe. It is past time that they begin to understand that Roe allows abortion on demand for the full term of pregnancy, for any reason or for no reason.
Americans are uneasy about abortion anyway, since they know now that what is in the womb is a baby. Ponnuru says the question is whether all human beings have a right “not to be killed,” or whether we accept a category of humans who are non-persons. Technology allows us to see the baby in the womb and it’s no “clump of cells.”
Ponnuru thinks Americans still pay a high enough allegiance to human rights, based on our own beginnings which make us heirs of a revolution grounded in moral truths, such as “we hold these truths to be self-evident.” Americans are beginning to see the unborn as humans who are heirs to these rights.
America versus Europe on Abortion Law
Europeans, though they have more restrictive laws, do not have our background of human rights and are more crass about abortion. Americans want to tighten up abortion laws, while Europeans generally believe that eliminating abortion would be impractical. So Americans, with the most unrestricted abortion law in the world, are more likely to outlaw abortions than Europeans who have tighter laws but less concern for human rights.
Lifted out of the text and set in the middle of the column is this bold statement about the absurdity of Roe: “A woman can obtain an abortion right up to the moment of the birth.” As Americans begin to let that truth sink in, abortion will start to melt like the last snow of spring.
Write John O’Sullivan care of the Chicago Sun-Times, Editorial Department, 350 North Orleans, Chicago, IL 60654. Tell him “thanks.”