How to Ditch Roe

Today’s announcement has me thinking about matters of constitutional law. One of the matters I find most pressing is a little case called Roe v. Wade. While I rarely speak up in the Bloggernacle regarding my personal politics– mostly because my personal politics are quite diluted and hazy– this is an issue that I feel unabashedly strong about. And yes, I do think there’s a strong religious component in this sentiment, although I have no intention of demanding the same views of my co-religionists.

Anyway, for those of us who pray for the demise of Roe v. Wade, let us spend a minute today fantasizing about just such an event, in order to get us through the creeping ambivalence sparked by the President’s latest appointment.

Here’s the question, posed to me by my dad a few days ago:

You are an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. You have just heard an abortion case that turns on the authority of Roe v. Wade. When the Chief Justice takes the straw poll after oral arguments, five of the justices favor overturning Roe v. Wade. The Chief assigns you to write the opinion. How do you do it?

Deny the existence of any invisible right at all? Completely dismantle the entire concept of substantive due process or other un-enumerated rights? Just destroy the right to privacy? And Griswold along with it? Find some narrower grounds for overturning the decision? You have the chance to get rid of Roe v. Wade. All that remains is to figure out how.

Note: If you think you have a chance at actually being a Supreme Court justice in the future, and think you might actually write the opinion overturning Roe, I encourage you not to go on record here and thereby ruin your chances. Except for Harriet Miers– if you are Harriet Miers, please go ahead and respond here. Thanks!

47 thoughts on “How to Ditch Roe

  1. Does the answer have anything to do with the beautiful Austrian girl sitting next to me in class? Because if it doesn’t, I’m out.

  2. Davis, can she speak English? Can she open a law book? If so, President Bush might just be willing to nominate her to the Court if his current nominee doesn’t make it . . .

    Imagine the barriers broken— America’s first hot justice! A great achievement for hot people everywhere.

  3. That’s a good point. I’ll ask her if she’s interested. I’m all out of lame lines asking her if she did the reading.

  4. Ryan-

    save the question for when you are teaching conlaw someday. Then torture your students with it at exam time. That seems like a great question for a conlaw, health law, or reproductive rights course final. Seriously.

  5. I do have a more serious answer- but it will require much further thought and reflection- don’t think I can answer this off the cuff. It is an interesting thought exercise to be sure, and one in which I would like to engage given the appropriate time.

  6. I guess I am dumbfounded as to what our rights to privacy have to do with allowing someone to have an abortion. People are not given the right to willfully abuse children outside of the womb so why should there be a right to terminate a life within the womb without any restraints being given to that right. And I mean restraints broader than the gestation stage.

    The rights of privacy are to be considered so much as those who have abortions for reasons such as the threat of a mother’s life or in certain cases of rape or incest are not to be made public.

    With litigation of recent years that allows people to be charged if a child in the womb is killed as a result of another’s action with murder or litigation, I would think that we should extend the same rights to all children whether or not they child is wanted by the mother. I must add that I am ignorant as to whether the law requires a child to be able to be viable outside of the womb for such a penality. However, with late birth abortions, it is my understanding that at some of these stages, the children would be viable outside of the womb.

  7. Barb, I agree. While I was listening to the Roberts questioning I thought the questions about privacy were quite interesting precisely because I think someone can adopt a fairly expansive “right of privacy” and still think Roe sucks.

    Of course I’m not lawyer.

  8. “someone can adopt a fairly expansive “right of privacy” and still think Roe sucks”

    Yep. Roe is indefensible (unless I’m nominated to the Supreme Court. In that case, I haven’t thought about it.)

  9. I wish there would be less questions about Roe v. Wade and more about things like:

    How do you feel about the Patriot Act?…Church and State?…Emminent domain?…NAFTA/CAFTA?…etc.,etc.,etc.

    It just seems like Rowe V. Wade is used as a smoke screen to distract us from other and possibly more important issues, as if this were the only decision the SC has ruled on. There are other issues out there that we need to worry about as well.

  10. Barb- the penumbral “right to privacy” is the cornerstone of the right to abortion in this country. That is the gist of “substantive due process” and the method by which the Supreme Court has cut a multitude of new rights from whole cloth.

    Roe’s framework arbitrarily drew the line at trimesters: during the first two trimesters, any state regulation barring abortion was subject to strict scrutiny (state had to have “compelling reason” and statute had to be “narrowly tailored”). During the second semester, regulations designed to protect the woman’s health, but not to further the State’s interest in potential life, were permitted. And during the third trimester, when the fetus was considered “viable,” prohibitions were permitted provided the life or health of the mother is not at stake.

    A sensible minority of the supreme court justices have noticed, as you do, the fallacy of that reasoning applied to abortion. How can one draw these lines? Indeed, the process seems very arbitrary.

    Webster and Casey both recognized the inherent problems with the viability determination. In fact, In Webster, Justice Rehnquist laments as does Barb, that Roe’s “framework’s key elements – trimesters and viability – are not found in the Constitution’s text, and, since the bounds of the inquiry are essentially indeterminate, the result has been a web of legal rules that have become increasingly intricate, resembling a code of regulations rather than a body of constitutional doctrine.” So who knows when “viability” begins?

    According to Casey, “[t]he soundness or unsoundness of that constitutional judgment in no sense turns on when viability occurs. Whenever it may occur, its attainment will continue to serve as the critical fact.” (That cleared things up- thanks!) At any rate, the “squishiness” of the viability line is probably a good reason why the Court in Casey compromised by lessening the burden on states from strict scrutiny review to “undue burden” (whatever that means!) review.

    If I were to write the opinion in Ryan’s proposed hypothetical, I would probably not do away with the penumbral right, as much as I would want to. I doubt it would get a majority opinion. Rather, I would continue the Webster vein of hacking away at abortion “rights” specifically, probably by focusing on the squishiness (and thus non-justiciability) of the viability standard. I would write that legislatures should decide on viability, since in addition to ever-changing scientific discovery regarding when viability actually happens, there are some pretty hard and fast normative values for when “viability” occurs. I would then suggest giving the legislatures decision on viability a “rational basis” review. I would add as evidence of non-justiciability that the courts have haggled over the question of “viability” for nearly three decades now with no clear consensus.

    If you tinker with it that way, then you don’t need to even get rid of the actual “right” to abortion, you can just say that its up to the legislatures (rather than the courts) to decide when viability occurs, and that this decision must have a “rational basis.” That is the way to quietly extinguish Blackmun’s lamented “single, flickering flame” between “the promise of Roe” and the “darkness of the plurality” in Webster.

    And Barb sees that squishiness too.

  11. The point of the above is that, unfortunately, the penumbral right has such inroads now in so many areas that I don’t think the Supreme Court can, as Scalia might like, go back and now reverse it.

    So it will have to do so on different grounds. The foundation for those grounds, as feared by Justice Blackmun, has already been laid by Webster and Casey. All we need is for one puff of “non-justiciable” air to forever extinguish the remaining flame of Roe.

  12. Note: If you think you have a chance at actually being a Supreme Court justice in the future, and think you might actually write the opinion overturning Roe, I encourage you not to go on record here and thereby ruin your chances. Except for Harriet Miers– if you are Harriet Miers, please go ahead and respond here.

    It seems the best way to become a Supreme Court justice is to have no qualifications whatsover except being a buddy of George W. Bush.

    The same goes for FEMA directors.

  13. At the risk of repeating Jordan, I think I just find that viability is arbitrary standard and irrelevant anyway because a fetus has a realistic chance at becoming a human at any post-coital stage of development (redundant, I know). I then find that because of those two facts that whatever penumbral rights there are shouldn’t operate to conflict with the state’s right to protect such a chance, because no “liberty interest” can conflict with the state’s right to protect those who dwell in it, regardless of location. Of course, that means that certain states would choose not to protect such a chance, but our principles of federalism would remain far more intact than Roe, Casey, and Carhart have left them. (Casey being by far the worst of these decisions based on some half-ass stare decisis analysis. Sorry about the cussing.) I would then inform Congress that if it wants the so-called penumbral rights to be inferred into the Constitution, it might be a good idea to start making amendments (nothing infers a right like saying it outright), so that no state gets taken off-guard by depending on the 11th Amendment’s assurance that it has the police power. That way, no state is surprised by finding out 200+ years after it signed the constitution that the power they thought they had no longer exists, and in many cases, apparently never existed.

  14. Harriet (#14),

    You’re being far too hard on yourself. Many of our best justices weren’t judges before becoming justices. And I think the fact that on numerous occasions, the National Law Journal named you one of the nation’s 100 most powerful attorneys and as one of the nation’s top 50 women lawyers, not to mention running a perennial AmLaw 100 firm for a number of years, puts you in fairly rare company. Apparently, you’ve been listening to many of your critics who believe that in order to be a good justice, you need to have been a judge…I mean, what was the Senate thinking with that whole Earl Warren thing? Or maybe it was because you worked closely with the president before being appointed. But then again, that would eliminate Taft, Warren, and O’Connor, to name precious few. I guess you’ll just have to articulate what it is exactly you think disqualifies you for the job, because I can’t get it from your post.

  15. “the National Law Journal named you one of the nation’s 100 most powerful attorneys and as one of the nation’s top 50 women lawyers”

    Why? Because she had the President’s ear. When that becomes a *qualification*, let me know. Justice Miers, meet Justice Rove and Justice Guy who Carries Around the Nuclear Football.

  16. Jordan, I follow and concur with every point that you said.

    I had the misfortune some months ago during the last presidential campagin to see a rally of women lamenting their fears of this Roe VS Wade being overtuned.

    The part that made me shudder the most was the chant rising from the masses, “Keep your laws off of my body.”

  17. As the token white-guy-who-is-ABD-in-a-scientific-discipline, I want to to know when Bush will appoint the first PhD-in-a-scientific-discipline SC justice. Doesn’t SCOTUS have a need for technologists? I could hire a staff to write my actual opinions, right?

    Plus, SCOTUS could have a cooler website.

  18. I’m not a lawyer, but I have studied history and I think the original intent of the Constitution was an agreement between the states. As a justice I’d smack down every federal law or discovered ‘right’. Abortion, welfare, education, etc., etc., etc. should be a State problem. If it isn’t in the Constitution the federal government ain’t allowed to even think about it.

  19. Tim said:
    “It just seems like Rowe V. Wade is used as a smoke screen to distract us from other and possibly more important issues”

    Upon what basis does one conclude that certain other issues are “more important” than Roe v. Wade? The fact that Roe v. Wade is treated as important is prima facie evidence of its importance. I don’t know what other criterion to use to measure “importance,” other than what the public and their representatives deem important, unless you’re advocating the “Whatever-Tim-J-thinks-is-important” standard, in which case I doubt you’ll be persuading anybody.

    Aaron B

  20. That is an idealistic approach, Daylan, but you wouldn’t get enough votes on this court to be able to accomplish the objective. The question was how we would write the opinion to keep a majority of fellow justices on board in today’s judicial climate.

    Although I agree with your approach… Unfortunately, unless we pass some amendment to the contrary, it looks like penumbral rights are here to stay. It doesn’t mean, however, that a justice who properly applies the constitution can’t slow or halt the inroads such penumbras seem to be making.

  21. Aaron B,

    So the only thing that’s important is what the general public is intersted in? What?!!!

    Maybe we should have Roberts give his opinion on the Brad Pitt-Jennifer Aniston break-up. It seems that there is much more interest there than anything that goes on here.

    Your response proves my point. The press and Congress continue to jam Roe V. Wade down our throat, while ignoring EVERY other possible thing that a Supreme Court Justice can rule upon, because they don’t want us to worry about it.

    They want us to believe that the Patriot Act (and the subsequent patting-down of 6-foot blondes in airports) is Constitutional, because we’re under attack. They want us to believe that it’s okay for the government to remove us from our homes, AT-WILL, to make way for a WALMART simply because they will pay more taxes. Yet we hear nothing from the “Media Watchdog” about such issues. Instead we hear countless hours of debating about whether “he said this about abortion” or “he made this ruling on reproductive rights.” I don’t forsee Roe V. Wade being overturned simply because no one in Government will take a stand, no matter whom we elect to represent US in office.

    This should probably be its own thread as I don’t want to threadjack and distract all of you from this important topic.

  22. Come on, Tim. Be serious. When we talk about “importance,” we’re talking about “important” issues upon which the Supreme Court can have a meaningful impact. The Supreme Court has constitutionalized the abortion issue. People feel strongly, one way or another, about abortion. Thus, the issue becomes “important.” The Supreme Court cannot meaningfully impact the state of Brad Pitt’s and Jennifer Aniston’s marriage. This distinction is an obvious one.

    Moreover, it’s a bit ridiculous to pretend that all the focus on Roe from “the press and Congress” is somehow an elitist preoccupation that doesn’t derive from the interest of the masses. Does anyone in the world, other than you, really believe that the press and Congress are involved in some conspiracy to get people to focus on abortion? I doubt it. Don’t you think it’s a bit more plausible to believe that many, many people in the U.S. feel strongly about the legality of abortion (pro and con), and as a result, our Congressional representatives focus on the issue, knowing they’ll have to answer to their constituents if they don’t address the issue appropriately? Don’t you think the Press thus focuses on the issue, for this very reason? I know of no one else, anywhere along the political spectrum, who would disagree with this rather obvious observation. You’re the first.

    Aaron B

    Aaron B

  23. I agree with you, just being facetious (sp?). Here’s my problem, our Congressional representatives have never had to answer to their constituents. They simply do as they please as if there were no checks or balances whatsoever. Take a look at the lst energy bill signed in Congress and endorsed by Bush. A Congressman gets his name on a bridge in ALASKA which connects 50 people in a remote village with another town, which they’ll never use–and all for quite the bargain price of around $50 mil. Yet, where was the outrage? Oh yeah, it was over how Roberts viewed Roe. I am by far from the only one. Check out http://www.lonepatriot.com, formed by a former Air Force officer, who is also a church member. Read some ETB’s old talks (even the GC ones), check out “None Dare Call it a Conspiracy,” read Ether 8. It’s all there. We are simply being force-fed information by PRIVATLEY owned news organizations, and PRIVATELY owned politicians.

    BTW, if ROE is ever overturned it will probaby share the same fate as Capital Pun.-that is-being relegated to the states. Which most people on the religious right will claim to be a huge victory–but in no way will this end abortions.

  24. Very interesting posts. I thought NDCiaC was banned from all libraries by the trilateral commission. Hehe. Sorry Tim, just kidding. But Tim I do have to correct you on one point, searches in airports are not unreasonable according to SCOTUS which has the authority under the Constitution to determine the meaning of the word reasonable in the Constitution. SCOTUS is like the moder day prophet that tells us homosexuality it a sin, but at the same time we can cut our hair and we don’t need to grow beards.

    BACK TO THE TOPIC: I would agree mostly with Jordan that privacy cannot be abandoned at this stage. You could not get a majority, at most a plurality, like Casey. It is possible to use the balancing argument to overturn Roe, and that avoids eliminating the right to privacy. The courts has already held in several opinions that when balancing competing Constitutional interests different levels of scrutiny can be applied. Like Jordan said, a ration basis test would be all that is required to give the power back to the states.

    Unfortunately, the effect on the number of abortions performed each year is unlikely to change significantly because the blue states have most of the abortions and are the most liberal states. Blue states will not enact strick abortion laws. Furthermore, access to transportation will allow women to travel to the closest state with the most liberal abortion laws to still kill that fetus.

    As for the viability issues, that is changing all the time. Babies are now viable at 24 weeks and may be viable at 22 weeks. These are very very expensive babies, but they are viable outside the womb.

    And for the earlier post, don’t remember the number, partial-birth abortions are comepletely indefensible. After the head of the baby is out there is no medical advantage to killing the baby before taking the rest of it out of the womb. In fact the time it takes to end the babies life is about the same as the time it takes to finish delivering the baby.

  25. Tim J., you have some valid concerns. You should work on expressing them in “non-crankspeak.”

  26. Tim J., you have some valid concerns. You should work on expressing them in “non-crankspeak.”

  27. Also, Tim J., your final point about Roe is not troubling to some. There are many Roe opponents who would overturn the decision not because they oppose abortion per se, but rather because it’s terrible constitutional law.

  28. Mr. Greenwood (#17),

    Of course, you’re leaving out Marshall, who got the nod because he and Adams were friends and close political allies. And don’t forget about how Warren got the nod because he and Eisenhower made political deals together. Oh, yeah, and there’s Taft, who got the nod because he and Harding were good friends from his days in the executive office. And even Rehnquist was well known to Nixon because he worked as Nixon’s A.G. Am I to understand that your position is that none of these people should have been justices because they were close to the sitting president (i.e., had their collective ears)? I agree that better choices could be made (Posner or Easterbrook would be ideal candidates in my opinion). But should she be impugned because she happens to know the president well?

    I’ll tell you what: I’ll point out to you when having the president’s ear qualifies someone as a justice when you can show me a world where meritocracy reigns in place of knowing the right people.

  29. Jimbob (#16): Or maybe it was because you worked closely with the president before being appointed. But then again, that would eliminate Taft, Warren, and O’Connor, to name precious few.

    Not to mention Abe Fortas.

  30. Why didn’t George nominate me to the Supreme Court? I’m just as much a Bush crony as Harriet Miers, and at least I have some background in being a judge.

    Okay, judging horse shows, but that’s more than’s she’s got.

  31. Rehnquist was not A.G., but rather an assistant and head of the Office of Legal Counsel. Also, the fact that he knew Nixon actually worked against him–Nixon thought he was a sideburned clown and nominated him only on the urging of others.

    Taft had the additional benefit of already having headed one branch of the US Government. Do you think that qualification might be worth considering when appointing him to head another branch?

    Earl Warren had been Governor of California, as well as state A.G.

    To suggest that Harriet Miers as as well-credentialed as these three, to say nothing of John Marshall, for crying out loud, is flatly ridiculous.

  32. The whole Roe v. Wade focus is a sham to alarm political bases and drum up donations. If Roe was overturned today, how many states would restrict abortion in the 1st two trimesters? Utah? And even in Utah, there would probably be a health of the mother exception you could drive a truck through. Then you have the practical restriction in much of the country today of “yeah, abotion is legal, good luck finding someone who performs them”, which certainly wont change whatever the court does.

    Griswold is fascinating; we have religious anti-condom zealots and judical activists to thank for Roe.

  33. gst:

    I misspoke: I meant “with” Nixon’s A.G., not “as” Nixon’s A.G. But my point stands–those close to the president tend to get picked by the president. Thus, what is flatly ridiculous is you missing my larger point that it is not uncommon for a president to pick those politically close to him.

    Also, no one seems to be saying what makes one “well-credentialed.” They only say that Miers is not well-credentialed, and assume everyone else knows what they mean. Your distinctions between Miers and the other justices I’ve mentioned, for example, all focus on public service. Is that the only way to become well credentialed in your book? Is it not enough that she was, by all accounts, an excellent private lawyer at a prestigious law firm dealing in complex matters? Why does that put her below an excellent lawyer at a federal agency or in the executive office? Hell, at my law school, most of those who went into government work did so because they had to (no offense meant to anyone); no private firm was offering them any jobs. I haven’t yet made my mind up on the “credential” issue, but I think someone should at least explain what it is that makes someone “credentialed” before I’m told she isn’t. Moreover, many people, particularly Mr. Greenwood, think that credentialism is a sham to begin with (I may be overgeneralizing the basic thrust of his theory on that).

    Just so I’m clear, I’m not a Miers apologist. I think there were at least a dozen better candidates for the job. Unfortunately, all of them were male, and most of them white, which made them politically untenable, apparently. I just don’t know what it is about Miers background that irks people like yourself so much. Stop with the “I knew John F. Kennedy and you’re no John F. Kennedy, Mr. Quale,” and give me some analysis.

  34. 20 and 22: You seem to be overlooking the interstate commerce clause, the necessary and proper clause, the supremacy clause, etc. Or are you proposing to overturn McCullough v. Maryland as well as Roe v. Wade? I would quote Larry Tribe here, but fear being banned from this site and referred to my Bishop for church discipline.

  35. First I would assume there would have to be some evidences presented that help to fram the descision to overturn RvW. My personal attempt to overturn such would probably go like this:

    Laws regarding Abortion, via RvW, are in fact a subset to laws regarding Murder, the premeditated intent on taking human life. RvW masks this as a medical right and ignores the emerging life that will be destroyed and ignores any rights that life has for the sake of the mother’s convinience.

    There is ample evidence to support earlier stages of life, heartbeat and brainwaves to name two. There is also a double standard in the law that a person who commits murder against a pregnant woman can be charged with two counts, the mother and the unborn child, but that the mother and any given doctor performing an abortion would not because it is choice. How can the unborn child have a right in one case and not in the other.

    I would aslo point out (and this is only though what I have absorbed not through any specific research) that much of the evidence presented in the original RvW descision was false. I’ve heard through various sources that the number of women dying in “back alley abortions” was much lower than presented in the original case. I would investigate any possible misrepresentations of the original evidence as a valid reason to overturn the original descision.

    With regards to privacy and children, I would point out that no other medical proceedure can be performed on a minor without the consent of the parent. How can a double standard be applied. A person that is not yet granted the right to vote, to hold other elective surgeries, and make other life altering descisions be allowed to make this descision without the counsel of their parents?

    For these reasons the outlined law of RvW must be overturned.

  36. Eric (37) that was sort of my point in 22. We can’t do what Daylan suggests.

    But we can get significantly shorten pointless red cross meetings that are essentially nothing more than propaganda…

  37. 39: But I am now “trained” to handle any crisis that might arise in a Red Cross shelter, knowing as I do the history of Clara Barton…

  38. Again, I not a wordsmith (i.e. lawyer), but, because I’ve been given the task by the other judges I write ‘strike down Roe’ words which would be acceptable to them, but leave the door wide open for future justices to interpret the words to mean States rights. I think the solution to your state problem is just wordsmithing.

  39. Daylan,

    I think that would be a pretty slopy way to annotate the descision. One of the biggest problems in law is ambiguity. I’m not a lawyer either, but I recognize that by “leaving the door open for future justices to interpret the words to mean [whatever]” is dangerous.

    That is the very purpose of the judicial branch; to determine if laws enacted by congress are constitutional. It is their job to interpret the constitution. Their job is made more difficult because of the complex nature of law and the ambiguity that is in our constitution.

    The ruling needs to be specific to avoid future ambiguous interpretations to avoid future concern. Never use fancy words when a simple one will do, be clear and concise, if a phrase can be interpreted many ways, clarify which way is meant.

    If something is morally right it will always be morally right, morals don’t change, even if situations do. We should not leave the door open to future interpretations.

  40. I’ve read Roe v Wade, and I agree it isn’t good constitutional law (although it has been partly overturned by Casey, which is a bit more rational). If I were told to draft an opinion overturning Roe, I would probably say that the question about when prenatal life is protected is properly a legislative determination, not a judicial one.

    The irony of the debate is that, as someone here has already said, overturning of Roe probably wouldn’t change things very much. It would just turn the issue back to the states, and nearly all states would probably keep abortion legal.

  41. The irony of the debate is that, as someone here has already said, overturning of Roe probably wouldn’t change things very much. It would just turn the issue back to the states, and nearly all states would probably keep abortion legal.

    I have made this argument myself, but I am not so sure it is accurate. With Roe out of the picture, Congress could freely legislate on the issue, preempting any state laws on the subject, much the way the federal government has coopted drug policy. If the overturning of Roe were accompanied by a rollback of the expansive interpretation of the interstate commerce clause, such that Congress were hampered in its efforts to pass uniform nationwide legislation on the topic, then I think the above quote would be correct. But if Roe were overturned tomorrow, how long before the Republican Congress would seek a nationwide ban on, say, all abortions past the first trimester?

  42. A very liberal, pro-choice yet anti-Roe law school professor (yes, they’re out there) told me that Justice Clarence Thomas has a placard in his office that reads: “Do Not Water the Penumbras” or something to that effect. To the extent penumbral rights such as the right to privacy exist, there are a lot of difficulties inherent in keeping them at a constitutionally appropriate level. Maybe it’s even impractical to the point of justifying termination of the right to privacy altogether, as some of the above comments have pointed out.

    It is interesting that such a large majority of people think that overturning Roe would somehow make abortion illegal in the US. I imagine at least some Roe supporters be more willing to bend if they knew the what the true effect of overturning Roe would be. Hmm, how to get out the message…

  43. I think it is very difficult to accomplish anything legislative or judicial wise with the rhetoric of the pro-choice side. The country at my last knowledge was split about fifty/fifty on this issue.

    However, I do not think nearly enough is done to get out the ills for abortion.

    I used to watch Everwood until it started to seem a little too much like Dawson Creek. There was an episode that they tried to do rather sensitively where a young high school student became pregnant and the father was her adult piano teacher. The one doctor that was generally more liberal wrestled with his conscience to perform the abortion as he had lost his wife. He said that people may debate when life begins but he certainly knows that when you perform an abortion that life ends. The other doctor was a Catholic and the plot built up around the fact that his father had felt it was important to do this for those who make this choice. I do not recall if they used any “back alley” references.

    The problem I had with this is that it protrayed it as the easy solution for the teen to resume her life. Sure her friends may never know the truth. Yet, in real life, there are consequences to an abortion that can be there life long. One may argue that giving a child up for adoption also can cause lifelong sorrow and I am not sure how to respond to this.

    From reading many issues of Catholic Voice, I am aware that there are a lot of emotional and physical fall out after having an abortion. People can go into a deep depression. Also, there can be intense feelings of guilt. The Catholic Church developed a program called Project Rachel to minister to women who have had an abortion and help them through the turmoil.

    My Catholic high school did not send mix messages about their stance on abortion. If a student had an abortion that they willfully participated in, this was grounds for immediate expulsion.

    There are other consequences that are not widely discussed such as the risk of become sterile from an having an abortion.

    On a personal level, I know a person who is not religious who still deals with the effects of an abortion today. She was forced into it by her parents after her divorce. She had two children that were small and she was dependent on them for their help to care for them. This has been over a decade and she still thinks of that unborn child constantly. Also, she has huge resentment to her father who is now dead. She also has a lot of resentment towards her mother.

    If people believe that people should be pro-choice, they should at least give them all the facts so that they really could make an educated choice.

    I am very much pro-life myself.

    Something also emphasized at my Catholic schools was making provisions to help people be able to carry their children to term. They used to have drives where people would donate jeans that would have elastic added for low income women. If we want people to make a choice to keep a baby, I feel, that we need to make it possible by financial help. I think those who put a child up for adoption are usually given money for medical expenses.

    Sometimes sheleter is needed for those who have been abandoned.

    With compassion, we need to help those who face this difficult decision.

    I hope that you do not mind my using this opportunity for my very strong held convictions.

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