Why the President is Wrong on Abortion

President Obama
 
A few minutes ago, President Obama released a brief statement regarding the anniversary of Roe v. Wade (1973), the Supreme Court decision which dissolved most restrictions on abortion.
 

Statement by the President on Roe v. Wade Anniversary
 
Today, as we reflect on the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, we recommit ourselves to the decision’s guiding principle: that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health. We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom. And we resolve to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and continue to build safe and healthy communities for all our children. Because this is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams.

 

Though relatively short, the President’s statement is packed with several confusing assertions. I’d like to respond to some of them:
 

“[W]e recommit ourselves to the decision’s guiding principle: that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health.”

It’s true that every woman should have liberty to make decisions regarding her own body, but not the body of another. Modern embryology affirms that a new human life is created at fertilization (i.e., conception.) Therefore abortion intentionally destroys the life, and thus the body, of an innocent human being. We all should have choices, but nobody should have the freedom to murder anyone else.
 

“We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care.”

Everyone agrees that women (and men) deserve safe, affordable healthcare. That’s not the question. The question is whether the restrictions put in place by Roe v. Wade constitute healthcare. Unfortunately, they primarily concern the right of mothers to uninhibitedly take the life of their children. It’s not healthcare to disrupt a healthy and normally functioning process (e.g., pregnancy) nor is it healthcare to destroy the health of unborn babies.
 

“[We reaffirm a woman’s] constitutional right to privacy”

Like many Constitutional rights, the right to privacy is not absolute. In the eyes of the law, what a woman does with her own body in her own environment is her own concern. Yet when her choices threaten the lives of innocent others, the common good trumps her right to privacy. We all intuitively understand this. It’s why we agree that invading drug labs trumps a drug dealer’s right to privacy. The same principle applies here: women have a right to privacy, but not at the expense of innocent lives.
 

“[We reaffirm a woman’s] right to reproductive freedom.”

I agree! Women should be completely free to reproduce however and, with certain qualifications, wherever and with whomever they will. But Roe v. Wade doesn’t concern reproduction at all. It regards what happens *after* reproduction occurs, after a new, unique, individual human has already been produced by his or her parents. I agree we should promote reproductive freedom but not the freedom to terminate any resulting children.
 

“[W]e resolve to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies.”

Although there are many ways to achieve this noble goal, the restrictions of Roe v. Wade should not be included. Greater access to abortion *increases* the number of unplanned pregnancies. This is because when abortion is a viable “fall back plan”, more couples have sex even when they’re not ready for a baby. Therefore, promoting abortion increases unintended pregnancies.
 

“[We resolve to] support maternal and child health”

I struggle to see how the Roe v. Wade decision supports child health when it seems that 100% of the children it directly affects are no longer alive.

Yet it doesn’t support maternal health either. By violently disrupting a healthy bodily function, abortion leads to increased depression, cancer, mental illness, future pregnancy complications, and more.

Also, note the President’s chilling word choice here. He didn’t resolve to support women’s health, but specifically “maternal” health. The word maternal connotes motherhood, and you can only be a mother if you have a child. This subtle choice insinuates that the President knows well that pregnant mothers carry children, not some abstract clump of cells, and therefore abortion is not a neutral surgical procedure. It involves a mother intending the death of her child.
 

“[We resolve to] build safe and healthy communities for all our children.”

Again, I struggle to see how the Roe v. Wade decision supports children. Abortion doesn’t result in safe and healthy communities for children. It results in less children.
 

“Because this is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams.”

I wholeheartedly agree! And that’s why Roe v. Wade should be overturned. The misguided court decision crushes the rights of unborn citizens for the sake of born citizens. It smashes their freedom and opportunity on the altar of false liberty. Everyone in this country deserves the same rights—men, women, and children—especially the smallest and most vulnerable among us.

  • Joe Purkart

    you are missing one crucial point. in the eyes of the law a fetus is not a human until it takes its first breath. So, your arguments for an “innocent” life are a moral/philosophical/religious on. Now if you believe that abortion is wrong then by all means don’t do; don’t have be involved with anyone that finds it okay. however if you want to argue it make sure that you know all the laws surrounding it.

  • GW

    I am pro-life, but I have a point of view that, for some
    reason, gets me censored or deleted from web sites such as this one. I posted a Comment describing my point of
    view two nights ago on the Catholic Church facebook page, but my comment was
    deleted. I wish I understood why, but I’ll
    leave it for another discussion.

    My point of view is that we as Catholics have ceased to be
    the conscience of the nation and have sublimated ourselves to the Republican Party. It’s the only explanation for articles such
    as this one; articles that continually repeat pro-life themes while never
    actually proposing real alternatives for people who feel they must get an
    abortion.

    It seems obvious that if abortion were universally outlawed
    tomorrow, the effect would be that wealthy, well-connected, or just plan
    intelligent women would still find doctors who would perform abortions. Poor women would find other, more dangerous
    ways.

    We as Catholics apparently don’t understand why a woman
    would want or feel she needs an abortion, and as a result we’ve never
    articulated other alternatives that include real support. Of course, the woman can give the child up
    for adoption through Catholic Social Services, but there’s no national
    infrastructure where pregnant women can get actual support. The social safety net of this nation has been
    decimated by our elected representatives.
    Our educational system has been starved, and worse: our public school
    teachers and administrators have had their innovative spirit taken away by
    micro-managing ideologues (witness the creationist crowd).

    The solution to the problem of abortion will entail a
    multi-faceted approach, including justice for those who engage in the practice,
    support for pregnant women who need it, and continuing support for those children
    born as a result of the banning of abortion.
    I’m a lifelong Catholic, and I’ve never heard a Catholic leader eschew
    an opportunity to demonize their opposition to advocate for a Catholic way.

    “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren.”