Today we observe with great sorrow the fortieth anniversary of the unconstitutional, immoral, and tragic Roe v. Wade decision.
On January 22, 1973, seven men on the U.S. Supreme Court decided that a woman has a right to kill her innocent unborn child for any reason whatsoever. In producing this ruling, the Court misinterpreted the Fifth Amendment to our Constitution, which states, “No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” This passage, along with most of the Fifth Amendment, was written to protect the rights of persons accused of crimes. When our nation’s Founders authored this text, they meant that no one could be executed or deprived of his freedom or land without first being properly tried and convicted of a crime. But the irresponsible activist Court led by Chief Justice Warren Burger chose to ignore the intent of the Constitution’s authors and, through some incomprehensible twist of logic, reinterpreted the Fifth Amendment due process clause to justify legalizing the murder of innocent unborn persons—something the Founders would never have approved of in their wildest dreams. Roe v. Wade represented nothing less than an attack on the integrity and meaning of the Constitution of the United States by the very institution that is supposed to protect it, the U.S. Supreme Court.
Not only was Roe v. Wade an unconstitutional decision, it was also an immoral decision. In the Declaration of Independence, we the people of the United States declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The right to life is the most fundamental of all rights with which God the Creator has endowed all human beings. This right to life is an “unalienable” right, meaning that it cannot be taken away. Human life is sacred because it is a gift from God the Creator. To deprive an innocent human being of life is a violation of that person’s unalienable right to life. It is also a violation of the Fifth Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” Our nation’s devout Christian Founders took these principles for granted. They could scarcely have imagined that, two hundred years later, the judicial branch of government would somehow justify allowing innocent human beings to be killed in their mothers’ wombs right here in the United States of America. They did warn, however, that the United States would not long endure without what George Washington referred to as the “indispensable supports” of religion and morality. If the people of a nation don’t believe that human rights—especially the right to life—come from God, then those rights will be perceived as coming from the state and the state will claim the authority to give or take away those rights as it sees fit. And if people don’t believe that it is wrong to deprive an innocent person of his or her right to life, then human life will not be respected.
Finally, Roe v. Wade was an immensely tragic decision. During the past forty years, some 55.5 million innocent unborn human beings—an average of 1.38 million a year—have been murdered in their mothers’ wombs through legalized abortion. That is an alarming and staggering figure. That’s more than nine times the number of innocent Jews murdered in the Holocaust. It’s also more than the fifty million people killed in World War II, the deadliest conflict in modern human history. It is difficult to comprehend the full magnitude of this loss of life or to calculate the full impact of this massacre of the unborn on our nation over the past forty years. Excluding miscarriages, accidents, disease, and other causes of death outside the womb, our country is currently missing some 55 million inhabitants; in addition, many of those aborted in the 1970s and 80s would now be married and raising children of their own, so our country is really missing around 70 million people, and our nation’s population should be around 385 million instead of the 315 million it is now. Think of how much different—and better—things would be in our country if we had all these missing people contributing to our economy and using their God-given talents to serve our nation in a variety of professions and fields. We will never know how different the United States would be in 2013 if nearly all the innocent unborn had been born and were alive today. The absence of 70 million people is an incalculable loss to our nation.
Pope John Paul II once said, “The condition for the survival of America is to respect every human person, especially the weakest and most defenseless ones, those as yet unborn.” The appalling mass murder of the unborn in our nation must be brought to an end. Roe v. Wade must be overturned so that the unalienable, God-given right to life of every innocent unborn human being in the United States is once again protected by our Constitution and guaranteed by our laws. We must not rest until we achieve that goal.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Friday, January 18, 2013
Every Christian--as he explores the historical record of Scripture and tradition and comes to a deep, abiding faith--experiences that Christ is the risen one and that he is therefore the eternally living one. It is a deep, life-changing experience. No true Christian can keep it hidden as a personal matter. For such an encounter with the living God cries out to be shared--like the light that shines, like the yeast that leavens the whole mass of dough.
The true Christian is a living gospel. That does not mean he is a disciple of a doctrine that is far away in time and foreign to the reality of life. He does not repeat powerless formulas. No, he is convinced and tenacious in asserting the relevance of Christ and the unceasing newness of the gospel. He is always eager before anyone and at any time to give reason for the hope which he harbors in his heart (see 1 Peter 3:15).
--Blessed John Paul II