2004 election offers hope to pro-life cause

The re-election of President George W. Bush would mean a solidified conservative base on the Supreme Court.

Twenty years from now, the electorate might look back on the way it cast its ballots in 2004 and know it played an important part in stemming the slaughter of innocent and defenseless life. A total of 44,670,812 babies have been killed in the womb since Roe v. Wade was first handed down in 1973. That staggering number amounts to one baby every 24 seconds. By the time you finish this column another 12 will be aborted. In Minnesota, more than 446,840 babies have been destroyed since 1973.

In 1992, the Supreme Court handed down the worst decision in the Court’s 215-year history. Casey v. Planned reaffirmed Roe v. Wade, solidifying for another 20 years, the “right” of a woman to eject and destroy the life living within her for the sake of convenience, regardless of whether the procreative act was voluntary. The Roe, Casey and Stenberg regime effectively legalizes the systematic killing of half a million babies each year.

Not only did Casey have grave consequences for innocent life, but Casey is also a nonsensical judicial opinion. The decision’s “undue burden” standard is entirely unworkable, granting plenary discretion to federal judges and little power to state lawmakers.

Similarly, the Court’s health exception, which must be included for the state to proscribe the abortion of post-viable fetuses, vests plenary discretion in the hands of doctors. The two requirements together are so broad they create abortion on demand and nullify the little power that Casey did leave to the states to protect their interest in “potential life.” The requirements themselves smack of legislating from the bench.

The Casey decision is the quintessential example of judicial activism, in which unelected and unaccountable justices subvert the intent of the Legislature, act as a nine-person constitutional convention and read into the Constitution rights that were never meant to be conveyed originally. The text, structure and history of the Constitution provide absolutely no basis for the Court’s finding of a woman’s right to an abortion.

Perhaps even more illustrative than Casey was the Supreme Court’s 2000 decision Stenberg v. Carhart, which refused to uphold the federal ban of the partial-birth abortion procedure. It is important to come to grips with the reality of the partial-birth abortion procedure at issue in Stenberg. The record of the Stenberg case gruesomely describes steps three and four of the process as “extraction of the body excepting the head” and “evacuation of the intracranial contents of a living fetus to effect vaginal delivery of a dead, but otherwise intact, fetus.”

In other words, the baby’s head is punctured at the base of the skull, the brain tissue is sucked out and the skull is crushed so the baby can be removed from the womb. Unfortunately, Stenberg is the revolting and natural consequence of Casey.

Scientific evidence makes the tragic consequences of the Court’s decisions even more clear. Studies establish that as soon as 20 weeks, babies feel pain. Multiple surgeons report having witnessed babies jerk, flinch and physically react to assorted stimuli. Moreover, there is evidence to suggest unborn babies experience pain even more intensely than born people. Also revealing are studies showing that at 43 days, babies have registered brain waves, and at 56 days, babies have complete and functioning organs. By 20 weeks, babies have hair, suck their thumb and are able to grasp and kick. Yet Roe, Casey and Stenberg have classified the killing of this life a fundamental right.

This presidential election should bring hope to the pro-life cause and invigorate social conservatives. This year, voters have an opportunity to play their part in ending the death that Roe, Casey and Stenberg have legalized. Since the Supreme Court’s inception in 1789, on average, a new Supreme Court justice is appointed to the Court every 22 months. Remarkably, the last justice appointed to the current Court was Justice Stephen Breyer, nominated more than 10 years ago by former President Bill Clinton.

Over the next four years, the United States will likely see a dramatic reshuffling of the Supreme Court and as many as three new Supreme Court justices appointed to the high bench.

Justices William Hubbs Rehnquist, Sandra Day O’Connor and John Paul Stevens might all step down during the next presidential term. Accordingly, the potential to overturn history’s most tragic Supreme Court decision hangs in the balance of this year’s presidential election.

While a Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry victory would mean another 20-year wait for the pro-life cause, the re-election of President George W. Bush would mean a solidified conservative base on the Supreme Court and real hope for overturning the single most atrocious case ever handed down. There are many important issues for voters to analyze during this election season; none are more important than the protection of defenseless and innocent life.

Bryan Freeman welcomes comments at [email protected]