Communications Department

Roe v. Wade Is Destined to Ultimately Fall; The Lives of Innocent Victims Depend on It

Jan 15, 2013 | 01-Winter 2013 NRL News

NRLNewsLogowebNRL News | Page 6
Winter 2013
Volume 40 | Issue 1


Roe v. Wade Is Destined to Ultimately Fall; The Lives of Innocent Victims Depend on It

By Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., Director,
NRLC Department of State Legislation

You could almost feel the sense of accomplishment ladled with admonition and topped with deception in the New York Times editorial that ran January 24, 1973, two days after the Supreme Court saddled America with abortion on demand. Here are the two pivotal sentences:

“The Court’s seven-to-two ruling could bring to an end the emotional and divisive public argument over what always should have been an intensely private and personal matter. It will end the argument if those who are now inveighing against the decision as a threat to civilization’s survival will pause long enough to recognize the limits of what the Court has done.”

By “could bring to an end” the Times meant, of course, should bring to an end. The editorial writers didn’t understand either the decision in practical terms–there were no limitations; or who it was that was “inveighing against the decision”–grassroots pro-life America.

However, whether it be in the immediate aftermath of Roe or the re-election of pro-abortion President Barack Obama, the prediction/hope that pro-lifers would “go away” proved to be as wrong as Roe itself.

The pundits were wrong 40 years ago, they are wrong today. In fact, the question will never be settled until unborn children are protected in law. It has been and will continue to be a major issue all across America, most especially in every state capital across the United States.

Why? Because the fact that abortion is legal cannot change the fact that it is terribly wrong to take the life of an innocent unborn child. The act of abortion is not “an intensely private and personal matter,” but a matter of the gravest public concern: who deserves to be legally protected against lethal assault?

The pundits fail to consider the determination of pro-lifers who have respect for the right to life of every human being; pro-lifers who speak out against the slaughter of the innocent and will not remain silent, pro-lifers who take their message to the state capitals all across America. The message is simple: “Killing innocent unborn children is wrong.”

Many of the original band of pro-lifers have gone on to their eternal reward, but they left behind an enduring legacy: a respect for life passed on to new generations of determined pro-lifers who carry on the work their illustrious predecessors started.

They, too, will walk the legislative halls lobbying on behalf of those who would have no voice. They will write letters supporting pro-life legislation to their legislators. They will send letters to their local newspapers. They will vote. In season and out this new generation of pro-lifers is just as resolute as its predecessors.

This determination will continue to be seen in every state legislature this year and every year until unborn children are protected. This truth is reflected in the state legislatures where pro-lifers are ever present, in good times and bad. Pro-lifers are persistent, and have, of necessity, a never give up mentality.

They will bring the same protective legislation—such as informed consent and parental notification and ultrasound requirements—before the legislature year after year—until it is law. They will bring newer initiatives to state capitols, based on discoveries in science, such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, until they become law.

They will continue to keep the issue of unborn children highly visible in the media. Their lobbyists will be ever present. They will hover in the halls and visit legislators daily. They will constantly monitor what legislators are doing (or not doing) and they will let them know they are watching.

But it is not just our public witness at the state capitols that changes the hearts and minds of legislators. On occasion, the unborn child speaks for himself.

As far back as on February 28, 1990, the progress of technology allowed the unborn child the opportunity to testify on his own behalf at a legislative hearing held in Minnesota. Thanks to use of obstetric Doppler equipment, the 20-week unborn baby’s heartbeat could be heard bouncing off the walls of the hearing room.

No one in the room could deny that this child was very much alive and had something to contribute to the debate. The hearing was televised nationally on C-SPAN and can be seen and heard here at 1:54-1:57:

The pundits also fail to grasp what, to us in the pro-life movement, is self-evident. We know that an unborn child’s heart is already beating by 21 days after fertilization, and that her or his brain waves can be detected in the sixth week. We know that by the seventh week, the unborn child is kicking and swimming inside her or his mother’s womb. And we know that the unborn child can feel pain, at least by 20 weeks. These scientifically established facts make the humanity of the unborn a self-evident truth.

But now, as illustrated by the hearing in Minnesota, pro-lifers are equipped with tools that weren’t available in 1973. Today, they have accessible new technologies that medical science has developed since the infamous abortion decision, new scientific inventions which have expanded our knowledge and understanding of the developing human being.

Pro-lifers will inform legislators of these innovations which have given the world a window to the womb. With the advent of ultrasound technology, legislators can now see the living unborn child in real time, “up close and personal.” With the ability to see the living unborn child at younger and younger stages, it is becoming harder to deny what, for us, is obvious.

Using obstetric ultrasound, we can now actually see the unborn child’s beating heart, her winning smile and the fact that she is, indeed, a girl! We are able to hear her heartbeat with a fetal Doppler. Doctors can even fix that heart in utero, if need be, with fetal surgery–something they couldn’t have done 40 years ago. All this new technology will be discussed in state legislatures around the country. And pro-lifers will ask legislators to protect mothers from a lifetime of regret by passing laws that will ensure that mothers know about their developing unborn child before they make a life or death decision.

Pro-lifers also will bring the latest research demonstrating that unborn children feel pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization and talk about the fact that for the purposes of surgery on unborn children, fetal anesthesia is routinely administered to prevent pain. They will ask that the state recognize a “compelling interest” in protecting the life of that pain-capable unborn child.

Roe’s legalizing abortion cannot change truth. It cannot change the fact that it is wrong to kill an innocent unborn child. Justice Blackmun could pretend not to be able to settle the question of the humanity of the unborn child, but the author of Roe couldn’t change simple biology or the tug on our hearts.

Roe v. Wade is destined to ultimately fall; the lives of innocent victims depend on it. The determination of pro-lifers will see it through.