NRL News

What’s Airing on Pro-Life Perspective Today? “Roe: More Than Its Author Intended?”

by | Jan 25, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

NRLC President Carol Tobias

All this week National Right to Life President and Pro-Life Perspective Host Carol Tobias uses an exceptionally thorough 2005 article written by Los Angeles Times reporter David Savage to probe the question whether the radical Roe v. Wade opinion that was written by Justice Harry Blackmun was intended to be as utterly extremist as it proved to be when delivered January 22,1973.

On Monday Mrs. Tobias started by making clear that whatever intentions Blackmun may have had as first drafted an opinion (and that is always subject to debate), the final product was that “Blackmun wrote an opinion for the court that struck down all of the nation’s abortion laws,” Savage wrote. “Equally important, his opinion made virtually all abortions legal as a matter of a constitutional right.” In a great understatement, he added, “That opinion, in the case of Roe v. Wade, remains the court’s most disputed decision of recent decades.”

As Mrs. Tobias explains, the Roe v. Wade decision (which dealt with Texas’ abortion law) can only be understood in light of the companion case, Doe v. Bolton (which dealt with Georgia’s abortion law). She quotes from Savage’s fine story:

“But the most important sentence appears not in the Texas case of Roe vs. Wade, but in the Georgia case of Doe vs. Bolton, decided the same day. In deciding whether an abortion is necessary, Blackmun wrote, doctors may consider ‘all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman’s age — relevant to the well-being of the patient.’

“It soon became clear that if a patient’s ‘emotional well-being’ was reason enough to justify an abortion, then any abortion could be justified.”

In today’s episode, which you can hear at, Mrs. Tobias gives primary attention to the rickety constitutional scaffolding Blackmun erected in a feeble attempt to justify abortion on demand. Pro-abortion scholars have long been embarrassed by what Savage described as “the shaky constitutional basis for a right to abortion.”

In fact in 2005, led by Yale’s Jack Balkin, eleven legal scholars contributed to a book titled “What Roe v. Wade Should Have Said” which offered alternative grounds for defending the “right” to abortion.

If you missed Part One or Part Two, be sure to listen at And please take the time to pass that link along through your social networks.

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