By David Bjornstrom — We concede too much in assuming that, if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, the individual states should decide whether or not to outlaw abortion. If unborn babies are “persons,” as modern science shows, the 14th Amendment outlaws abortion, since abortion deprives a class of persons of their life without due process of law and without equal protection. It is time to reclaim the 14th Amendment for the unborn.
Reprinted with permission from the author and Catholic Business Journal
There is a common misconception that if the Supreme Court overrules Roe vs. Wade, abortion will be outlawed. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Many, if not most, of the individual states would still allow abortion, absent a nationwide ban. This would not put the issue to rest, just as state-by-state rules on slavery did not work before the Civil War.
The legally correct answer may be found in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution which says that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor denied the equal protection of the laws. The 14th Amendment was enacted in 1868 mainly to protect African Americans, but the wording and intent was broader than that, extending to all persons.
The author of the Roe vs. Wade decision, Justice Harry Blackmun, admitted in the Court’s formal opinion that if the fetus is a person, the case for abortion would collapse, and the right to life would be guaranteed specifically by the 14th Amendment. Now, almost 50 years later, modern science is, in fact, showing what we knew intuitively all along, that the unborn baby is a new, genetically distinct human person from the time of conception.
While the unborn baby’s personhood should be obvious to anyone who has heard its heartbeat or seen it on an ultrasound machine, the Supreme Court seems to divide itself more on ideological grounds than in doing its job to interpret the Constitution. Supreme Court Justice Byron White, one of the dissenters in Roe vs. Wade, described the majority opinion in that case as an “improvident and extravagant exercise in raw judicial power,” not an honest exposition of the Constitution.
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David Bjornstrom is a Santa Rosa, CA-based attorney with 36 years specializing in business, estate, and tax law. He serves in various pro-life, elder-focused, and homeless outreach ministries. David and his wife has six children, including two adopted from China, and 10 grandchildren.