Today’s big news is a “leaked” brief from the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) that suggests that the court will officially overrule Roe vs. Wade, which made abortion legal across the United States in 1973. The brief seems to say that the Constitution does not guarantee such a right and that Roe v. Wade should never have said that it did. This would push abortion rights to each individual state to decide the legality of it. Obviously, some will make it legal to the end of pregnancy or near to it and some states will ban abortion all together.
Abortion rights is a highly emotional issue. It gets to the heart of what kind of nation do we wish to be. Unplanned pregnancies come in various forms. For some, ending a pregnancy is simply a matter of convenience. For many others, it is life-altering, emotional, guilt-producing and terrifying. The issue pits some very fundamental rights and needs against each other.
On the one hand, the unborn (from conception) is a human being. That is genetically beyond question. The unborn is also a different human being than its mother (also genetically so). Ending the life of the unborn is not the same as removing your tonsils or appendix. That is choosing to remove a part of you, not somebody else. The unborn is also absolutely dependent on its mother for survival to at least 23 weeks of the 40-week gestation period. Must a mother tolerate this? Sometimes she could have prevented this pregnancy, but sometimes she could not.
Having a child changes your body and evokes deep emotion. One may not be able to afford a child either financially, socially or emotionally. It can change the preferred course of one’s life by altering plans for education or work or marriage. Nobody denies that an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy creates great problems. The question is whether we, as a state or country, want to deny a human being legal protection of his or her life in order to provide deliverance from the emotional and financial toll of having a child. Adoption provides some mitigation of the impact. There are plenty of childless parents who would love an adopted child. Still there is great impact to be endured.
Rights come into conflict with each other. Will we stand for the most fundamental rights for everyone? Do we even agree what is most fundamental? Certain worldviews don’t value human life at all. Abortion is seen as a needed form of controlling population, poverty and crime. Some have the hidden agenda of eugenics and want to eliminate certain “types” of people; all while vigorously defending “their rights”. Another question is whether we will ban abortion but put nothing in place to mitigate unplanned pregnancy or its impact.
The constitutionality is really the simplest question. The Constitution doesn’t speak about the issue. Dealing with the issue in a way that a woman can be at peace with herself 20 years later, that we as a nation can say we are serious about protecting all, and that God can look at us with approval is a bigger challenge.