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In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the so-called Partial Birth Abortion ban passed by Congress in 2003 and signed into law by President George W. Bush. Pro-life conservatives around the country are enthusiastically hailing this ruling as a first step toward reversing the infamous 1973 Roe v Wade decision, which legalized abortion on demand.
For example, Rev. Frank Pavone voiced the support of Priests for Life saying, "We are grateful to all who worked so hard to pass this law and to educate the public about this unspeakably violent procedure."
Dr. Paul Schenck, Executive Director of the National Pro-Life Action Center on Capitol Hill said, "In its opinion, the Court today has begun to right a terrible wrong."
Troy Newman, leader of Operation Rescue, said the decision was "another in a string of recent victories for the pro-life movement." He went on to say, "This is the first legal crack in the crumbling Roe v Wade foundation, and is the first, necessary step toward banning the horrific practice of abortion in this nation."
In a press release, the Christian Coalition of America said, "With today's Supreme Court decision, it is just a matter of time before the infamous Roe v Wade decision in 1973 will also be struck down by the court."
I, too, am happy to see that the Supreme Court has upheld the illegality of certain Partial Birth Abortions, which are actually more correctly identified as infanticides. After all, since the Roe decision in 1973, over 40 million little innocent, unborn babies have been mercilessly, but legally, slaughtered in the wombs of their mothers. So, any ruling that has the result of limiting the legal killing of babies is a positive development.
However, I only wish I could be as enthusiastic about the Court's PBA decision as the others quoted in this column, but I am not. I certainly do not believe this is the beginning of the end for abortion on demand in America. Actually, I fear that this decision serves only to further augment abortion on demand in the legal framework of America.
For one thing, the ruling clearly distinguishes between abortion and infanticide and concludes that Partial Birth Abortion actually qualified as infanticide, which was never legalized in the Roe decision. Of course, this is correct, but stop and think about it: In an attempt to accommodate the Roe decision, physicians, mothers, and the various states and communities in which these procedures took place were allowed to commit this type of infanticide (without encumbrance or prosecution) for over thirty years.
Thirty years of Republican domination of the Supreme Court. Thirty years of electing myriads of "pro-life" Republicans to the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. Thirty years of promises. Thirty years of fundraising by scores of "pro-life" groups. And now, thirty years later, what we have is the U.S. Supreme Court limiting, not abortion, but infanticide.
For example, in responding to the euphoria of many pro-life groups' claiming that the PBA decision has begun the legal process of overturning Roe, the Mobile Press-Register said, "The court has done no such thing; and in the majority opinion, justices pointed out that the ban doesn't violate a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy." The Press-Register got it exactly right.
Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy (a faithful defender of abortion rights) said, "The Act allows, among other means, a commonly used and generally accepted method, so it does not construct a substantial obstacle to the abortion right."
Did you get that? The justice writing the majority opinion said that the ruling "does not construct a substantial obstacle to the abortion right."
At this point, it would be very helpful for everyone in the pro-life community, including those from groups mentioned above, to read Pastor Bob Enyart's excellent analysis of this ruling. Go to:
Pastor Enyart points out that not only does the Partial Birth Abortion ban not stop any legal abortions, it does not even stop all Partial Birth Abortions. In his lengthy review of the Court's ruling, he notes that even a Partial Birth Abortion may be performed as long as the baby has not been delivered past its navel.
You read it right. This ruling authorizes the abortionist to take the baby out of the mother's womb up to the point where the baby's navel is visible and still perform his dastardly work of killing the baby. And there is more.
The bill even authorizes the abortionist to kill the partially-delivered baby if the baby has been delivered past its navel, if the baby passed the "critical point by accident or inadvertence." (p. 18 III, A)
Of course, this means that late-term abortions are still legal in the United States. Therefore, how can pro-life groups really believe this ruling is the precursor to Roe's demise?
We know that Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia have already expressed willingness to possibly overturn Roe. I believe Samuel Alito might also be willing to overturn Roe. Chief Justice John Roberts is yet unknown on this issue. As for Kennedy, forget it. He would never vote to overturn Roe.
Therefore, as the Court is currently configured, we are at least one vote, and maybe two, short of the five necessary to overturn Roe v Wade at the Supreme Court level.
However, as I have already pointed out in this column, Congress could have already overturned Roe anytime it wanted to. It could have exercised its authority found in Article III. Section. 2. of the U.S. Constitution and removed abortion from the jurisdiction of the Court. Consider, too, that both houses of Congress and the White House were controlled by "pro-life" Republicans from 2001 through 2006, and nothing was done to end abortion on demand.
As it is, "pro-life" groups around the nation are hailing this latest Supreme Court ruling as the beginning of the end for abortion on demand. I only wish that were true. Instead, more than one million innocent unborn babies will continue to be murdered in their mothers' wombs each year, more phony pro-life Republicans will use abortion as a sales pitch in an attempt to obtain the votes of social conservatives, and "pro-life" groups will continue sending out more fundraising letters.
At the end of the day, I wonder if we are really as concerned about ending abortion on demand as we are about raising money and promoting a political agenda?