Rebuttal obscures abortion realities

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I’m very grateful to Mr. Jack Bernard for his rebuttal to one of my letters on abortion. Although he did resort to some cheap shots about me and many of the U.S. Supreme Court justices being “right-wing extremists” and “very religious Catholics,” his arguments were sincere and relatively well-reasoned.

But, as is always the case with abortion, I believe that Mr. Bernard is the one who has blinders on when it comes to this issue, as is clearly revealed by his many factual errors, poor understanding of the role of the SCOTUS, and his unsubstantiated accusations of the motives of those of us who are pro-life/anti-abortion.

And, most egregiously, Mr. Bernard completely ignored the true issue at hand, which is the reality of abortion as the intentional killing of a pre-born human life.

To start with the factual errors, although Mr. Bernard claims that in 1973 abortion “was illegal in a minority of states,” the fact is that it was only legal in four states: Alaska, Washington, New York, and Hawaii. Thirteen other states had recently expanded their exceptions, but to say it was illegal in only a “minority” of status is blatantly false. (I used his own resources to confirm this, by the way).

He also accuses Trump SCOTUS nominees of lying about their support for the idea of “stare decisis” when it came to Roe. They did no such thing. They simply said that Roe does have the status of precedent, as does any decision the Court makes, but that does not preclude overturning such a precedent, and no nominee would ever clearly indicate how they would decide on a hypothetical case. That would make it impossible for them to be objective and consider each case on its merits.

Plus, we have a very rich history of overturning precedents that were wrongly decided, such as those pertaining to slavery and civil rights. We do not have a tradition or practice of making precedents absolute, thank God.

But more to the point is Mr. Bernard’s contention that the 1973 Roe decision was “exactly the sort of compromise that is supported by the majority of US citizens” because it declared that “a pregnancy must not be terminated if the fetus is viable.”

First, it’s not the job of the Court to figure out what the majority of citizens think on an issue and apply it to a case before them.That’s the role of the legislature, not the judicial branch. The SCOTUS in particular has the task of determining if a given law is constitutional or not, regardless of its substance or intention.

They are not to put the cart before the horse and decide a case based on policy preference over the preeminent issue of the law’s constitutionality, which is exactly what the justices did with Roe and why it had to be overturned.

It’s also not the job of the Court to define when an abortion can and cannot take place. That too is a role for the legislative branch, though I would argue that no governmental institution should claim the right to decide when a life is “viable” since all human life should be protected at all stages of development.

Mr. Bernard also fails to mention that the 1993 decision of Planned Parenthood vs. Casey effectively eliminated the viability requirement by saying an abortion could be performed at any time to protect the “well-being” of the mother, which is an extremely vague requirement that has been used to allow abortion up to the point of birth.

The Dobbs decision actually gives states the right to permit abortion at all times for any reason, if they choose, and places like New York and California are doing that, sadly. Most states will likely strike the kind of compromise that Mr. Bernard feels is so desirable by setting limits on [when] abortion can take place.

But that gets us to the real point of this whole debate, which is abortion itself.

Either the zygote, embryo, or fetus is human life, or it isn’t. No sane person would argue that it’s not human life, so let’s grant that from the moment of conception, there is an actual human life in the womb.

Some say it is OK to destroy that life up to the end of the first trimester for this or that reason, but whatever line you choose is arbitrary, especially as the science of pre-natal biology has improved and shown us that fetuses can feel pain as soon as 12 weeks, and that the heart beat or activity, at least, starts at 6 weeks.

So, the line at which abortion should be permitted keeps getting pushed back, but in the end, it’s an illegitimate line that should not be drawn at all. All human life is precious and should be preserved, and spared the absolutely horrific process that is abortion, where the child (as Biden called it) is either dismembered, poisoned, or stabbed in the head.

I challenge Mr. Bernard to watch a video on what actually happens in an abortion and still make his anodyne comments about it being acceptable to a majority. The majority can be and has been wrong about things, especially when the pro-choice forces control the media and have indoctrinated our populace on this issue.

There are many other things about his argument I could refute or critique, but let me end with Mr. Bernard’s assertion that “conservatives like Trey will pretend” we do not see the many “more welfare kids” that will result from overturning Roe, and that we ignore the “plight of these families” and blame “the mothers for their situation.”

Tellingly, he does not provide a source for this most spurious of claims, which is often made by pro-abortion advocates without a shred of evidence and with a massive dollop of cynicism and mendacity.

I challenge Mr. Bernard to visit the website of a place like the Pregnancy Aid Clinic and see the services they offer to pregnant women, from healthcare to adoption services to actual financial assistance. They also offer counseling to women who have had abortions because the reality of the act is such that women who have them are deeply wounded and damaged by the practice.

It goes without saying that those of us on the pro-life side care very much about the mothers and their children, and that in addition to funding and working for organizations that help these women, are in full favor of public assistance to these women.

Conversely, Planned Parenthood and many abortion advocates counsel abortion first and foremost and care little for the women after the procedure is completed. They don’t want to hear about the pain and suffering, both physical and mental, that women undergo as a result of this ghastly and de-humanizing practice, much less consider the implications of killing an unborn child.

In closing, I would just ask the Mr. Bernards of the world to get their facts straight, understand the role of the SCOTUS and our various governmental branches, recognize the brutality that is the abortion procedure, the hurt it does to women, and the very clear fact that pro-lifers are the ones who really care about the mothers and their children, both in word and deed.

If they can do this, maybe we can have an honest debate, but given the foundation of lies that undergirds the abortion movement, I am quite doubtful that will ever happen.

Trey Hoffman

Peachtree City, Ga.

1 COMMENT

  1. The actual SCOTUS decision that affirmed a woman’s “right to choose” whether or not to have a baby…wasn’t Roe v Wade. It was Griswold v Connecticut, ruling that women could purchase and use contraceptives without government interference or prosecution.

    Further, Roe v Wade did not, contrary to popular misconception, state that women had the “right” to abort a child in the first trimester of pregnancy. The actual text of the decision states the following:

    “On the basis of elements such as these, appellant and some amici argue that the woman’s right is absolute and that she is entitled to terminate her pregnancy at whatever time, in whatever way, and for whatever reason she alone chooses. With this we do not agree. Appellant’s arguments that Texas either has no valid interest at all in regulating the abortion decision, or no interest strong enough to support any limitation upon the woman’s sole determination, are unpersuasive. The Court’s decisions recognizing a right of privacy also acknowledge that some state regulation in areas protected by that right is appropriate. As noted above, a State may properly assert important interests in safeguarding health, in maintaining medical standards, and in protecting potential life. At some point in pregnancy, these respective interests become sufficiently compelling to sustain regulation of the factors that govern the abortion decision. The privacy right involved, therefore, cannot be said to be absolute. In fact, it is not clear to us that the claim asserted by some amici that one has an unlimited right to do with one’s body as one pleases bears a close relationship to the right of privacy previously articulated in the Court’s decisions. The Court has refused to recognize an unlimited right of this kind in the past. Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U. S. 11 (1905) (vaccination); Buck v. Bell, 274 U. S. 200 (1927) ( sterilization).

    We, therefore, conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified, and must be considered against important state interests in regulation.”

    And:

    “For the stage prior to approximately the end of the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman’s attending physician.
    For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.
    For the stage subsequent to viability, the State in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.”

    Nowhere in the text of Roe v Wade does it state that the woman herself has a “right” to obtain an abortion. The decision was left up to her attending physician…and the State…balancing the health of the mother and the potential human life.

    So many people argue over Roe v Wade and its reversal without ever once having read the SCOTUS decision, so I thought I’d point out that the majority of opinions, either for or against…are misconceptions about what the Court actually ruled.