The Supreme Court this fall will hear a case from Mississippi that bans most abortions after 15 weeks, except in cases of rape where the crime has been reported to police, or the life of the mother is in danger.
Lower courts have rejected the law as unconstitutional because of the precedent set by Roe v. Wade in 1973 and reaffirmed and expanded in subsequent rulings, even as the abortion lobby has continued to press that the procedure be legal at any stage and for any reason.
Pro-lifers are encouraged because of the three justices named by former President Donald Trump, all of whom are Catholic and one, Amy Coney Barrett, who has made public statements about her opposition to abortion. Barrett has also said she would not let her personal views affect her interpretation of the law. Watch for the left and their media allies to begin lobbying the justices through one-sided TV stories, editorials and op-ed columns about how any restrictions will lead to “back-alley abortions.” They have similarly behaved on this and other issues favored by the left.
Even some who favor abortion rights believe the decision was based on bad law. As The Washington Examiner has noted: “Ruth Bader Ginsburg (an abortion proponent) called the ruling ‘heavy-handed judicial activism.’ Laurence Tribe wrote ‘behind its own verbal smokescreen, the substantive judgment on which it rests is nowhere to be found.’ Former Harry Blackmun clerk Edward Lazarus wrote ‘[A]s a matter of constitutional interpretation, even most liberal jurisprudes — if you administer truth serum — will tell you it is basically indefensible.’”
Abortion has contributed to the caustic environment in which we now live. People kill each other nightly on the streets of major cities. Buildings are burned and riots are becoming increasingly “normal” behavior. A Wall Street Journal story predicts we face a summer of “unrest.”
This disrespect for human life, law, order and morality has extended to pressure at the other end of life with assisted suicide laws in some states and, as we have seen with COVID-19, a lack of concern about the elderly in nursing homes.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks the number of abortions in the U.S., more than 62 million abortions have been performed since 1973. Guttmacher acknowledges the figure may be lower than the actual number. Black women have experienced “induced abortions at a rate nearly four times that of white women for at least three decades.” One might think that if black lives matter, the weakest and most vulnerable would matter most. Think of the potential of these lost lives.
While the number of abortions has been in decline in recent years for several reasons, including the free services of crisis pregnancy centers, which work to dissuade women from getting an abortion, (Planned Parenthood charges for the procedure), any lost innocent life is one too many.
The greater philosophical — even theological — question is this: Is abortion the cause of our increasingly decadent culture, or a reflection of it? Given the societal upheaval, I am inclined to believe it is a reflection of our self-centered and depraved minds, along with the loss of a shared morality. We are now mostly our own “gods,” deciding right from wrong subjectively, if we still believe in and can intellectually defend the concepts still exist.
By itself, the yearning among pro-lifers for a positive Supreme Court decision in the Mississippi case may not reverse our national decline, but it could be one step in the right direction.
• Cal Thomas, a nationally syndicated columnist, is the author of “America’s Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires, Superpowers and the United States” (Harper Collins/Zondervan, January 2020).
Sign up for Daily Opinion Newsletter