We Are Grateful That Partial-Birth Abortion Has Been Outlawed, But...

June 2007

The Supreme Court ruled in Gonzales v. Carhart (April 18) to outlaw partial-birth abortion (also known as late-term abortion), a barbarous procedure in which a baby is partially delivered, and his skull is pierced with a scissors. The five-to-four decision was supported by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito.

However, the ban on partial-birth abortion will not save the life of one baby. As Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer, the President of Human Life International, said, "we recognize, however, that not one baby will be saved by this decision…" (www.catholicnewsagency.com, April 19). In Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissenting opinion, she noted that this ruling "saves not a single fetus from destruction." There are other ways of performing this procedure (but this is supposedly the safest way for the mother). Furthermore, the outlawing of partial-birth abortion does not endanger Roe v. Wade.

The bigger news (overlooked or ignored by George W. Bush prolifers) was that Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia in Gonzales v. Carhart filed a concurring opinion saying that Roe "has no basis in the Constitution," and that they want to overturn Roe (according to The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, April 19). Neither Roberts nor Alito (both appointed by Bush) signed that concurring opinion, nor did any other Justice sign it.

According to the Chronicle (April 19), "Kennedy, Roberts and Alito said repeatedly that they assumed the continuing validity of a 1992 ruling [Planned Parenthood v. Casey] that upheld a constitutional right to abortion, but limited it by allowing restrictions that did not impose an undue burden on women [having an abortion]."

You have two options:

  1. Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at newoxfordreview.org AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
  2. Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.

If you're already a subscriber log-in here.

New Oxford Notes: June 2007

Read our posting policy Add a comment
Changing the law will never be enough to stop Planned Parenthood. The organization already has a back-up plan in the case that Roe v. Wade is overturned: performing abortions on Native American reservations and in international waters, in order to circumvent the law.

The only real way to end abortion is to educate the public, not merely to overturn Roe v. Wade but to overturn the “culture of death” itself. The law is not forcing people to get abortions; Planned Parenthood will always thrive as long as it continues to get business. We need to change the hearts of our brothers and sisters who think that abortion is acceptable. These people are not stupid; they would understand why abortion is wrong if only someone would properly enlighten them.

Unfortunately, Catholics fighting to end abortion seem to focus only on the political arena. They assume that by changing the law, they can change the culture; but it’s the other way around. It’s easy enough to send letters ad infinitum to one’s senator. It’s easy enough to stand for Christ in a voting booth. But these methods cannot fight the culture of death residing in people’s hearts.

I know several people from my parish who take a few hours every Saturday morning to stand at the curb outside a local abortion clinic, pray the rosary, and witness to those who plan on undergoing “procedures”. I have joined them sometimes, and I ought to do it more often. Although they have been forced some distance away from the clinic by the FACE Act, anyone driving in for an appointment clearly sees them, with their pro-life signs, witnessing to the truth. More than once, people have stopped and told them that, having been affected by this witness, they decided not to go through with an abortion.

The Supreme Court may not be capable of saving a life, but we are. In our pursuit of an easy way to fight evil, we have turned to political means. We have put all other issues aside and dedicated our political decisions to the issue of abortion alone. What have we gained as a result? Nothing, save an unjust war. The Republican Party has used our convictions to gain reluctant support for all other manner of evil. It’s time we faced the truth: no matter what our elected officials do, abortion will remain an issue as long as the American people remain ignorant. Are we afraid to be Christ’s witnesses outside of a voting booth?
Posted by: ursus
July 08, 2007 10:43 PM EDT
Add a comment