Standing For Life in the Midst of Roe v. Wade

Each January 22nd marks the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion in this country. During the week of this anniversary, several pro-life people gather together to reflect on the millions of babies (57 million as of January 2015) whose lives were ended inside their mother's womb since 1973.

Several State Right to Life groups unite at their state's capitol to let others know that they believe life is sacred and to peacefully protest the Roe v. Wade decision that has caused so much strife and division in the nation.

March for Life, 2009 was held just 2 days after President Obama's inauguration.
March for Life, 2009 was held just 2 days after President Obama's inauguration. | Source
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The 9th and 14th Amendments

Roe v. Wade was decided primarily on the Ninth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The Court's decision in this case was that the Ninth Amendment, in stating that "the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people," protected a person's right to privacy.

The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees citizens of all states rights on both the state and federal level.

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Roe v. Wade

Before Roe v. Wade became law of the land, abortion was a state issue and most abortions were illegal in most states. In 1967, California and Colorado were the first states to legalize abortion for reasons including rape, incest, severe handicap and when the life of the mother was threatened. In 1970, New York, Alaska, Washington and Hawaii became the only states to offer unrestricted abortion.

In the state of Texas, however, abortion was still illegal just as it had been since 1854. The only exception to this law was in cases where the mother's life was in danger. But on December 13, 1971 everything was about to change as Roe v. Wade was argued for the first time. "Roe" wanted to sue the Dallas County District Attorney, Henry Wade, to prevent him from enforcing the state's abortion prohibition. "Roe" was a single, pregnant woman whose life was not threatened by her pregnancy.

In another lesser known case, Doe v. Bolton, "Mary Doe" was a 22-year old married woman with three children and pregnant with a fourth. She wanted to sue Arthur K. Bolton, the Attorney General of Georgia to be able to have an abortion.

In the Texas case, a District Court ruled that Roe had a basis to sue but declined to grant her an injunction to compel the state to offer her an abortion. In the Georgia case, the District Court decision still held that the State had a right to restrict abortion according to the principles already in place.

Both decisions were appealed and ended up in the Supreme Court. And on January 22, 1973, the Court ruled 7-2 to overturn the Texas court's ruling and held that a woman has the right to terminate a pregnancy for any reason before the fetus becomes viable. (28 weeks gestation). In the third tri-mester, abortion still needed to be available in case the mother's life became endangered.

In the Doe verdict, the Supreme Court ruled a woman may obtain an abortion after viability if necessary to protect her health. The Court however, defined "health of the mother" in such broad terms, that any prohibitions to 3rd trimester abortions were essentially eliminated. According to Justice Harry Blackmun's majority opinion, a woman's health includes her "physical, emotional, psychological, (and) familial" well-being, and should include considerations about the woman's age.

This ruling was based on the Ninth and Fourteenth amendments and a woman's right to privacy. It was also based on the majority opinion of Roe that "at this point in the development of man's knowledge," we can “not resolve the difficult question of when life begins.” Justice Harry Blackmun also stated that “if this suggestion of (fetal) personhood is established, the [case in support of legal abortion] collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Fourteenth amendment."

Today many medical experts have stated that life begins at conception. Even so, abortion remains legal.

The earliest advocates of abortion stated that a baby was not viable outside of their mother's womb until at least 28 weeks gestation. Thanks to advances in neonatal care, premature babies born earlier than that can survive and thrive.
The earliest advocates of abortion stated that a baby was not viable outside of their mother's womb until at least 28 weeks gestation. Thanks to advances in neonatal care, premature babies born earlier than that can survive and thrive. | Source
Norma McCorvey, the former Jane Roe of Roe v Wade has dedicated her life to getting the decision overturned.
Norma McCorvey, the former Jane Roe of Roe v Wade has dedicated her life to getting the decision overturned. | Source
41st March for Life, January 22, 2015
41st March for Life, January 22, 2015 | Source

The March for Life

The March for Life has taken place every year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade since 1974. The first March for Life consisted of 20,000 pro-life Americans who rallied peacefully on the West Steps of our nation's capitol. Their main focus is abortion but they also stand for life in other areas such as being against euthanasia.

In 2009, over 200,000 attended the March for Life. The event was held just 48 hours after President Obama was inaugurated. The President was asked by Nellie Gray, founder of March for Life to speak at the 36th annual march but instead of attending, he released a statement supporting abortion rights.

From 2000-2008 President George W. Bush addressed the pro-life marchers each year they were in Washington. When he wasn't there in person, he would do so via telephone that was amplified through loudspeakers. President Ronald Reagan also addressed the pro-life crowd. In 1987 Reagan told those who attended the March for Life that he vowed "to help end this national tragedy."

Other notable speakers have included Alveda King (niece of Martin Luther King, Jr.), the parents of Terri Schiavo, members of Silent No More, an organization of women who regret their abortions, and several Congressmen.

Many marchers carry signs saying, "Your Mom Chose Life," "We Choose Life", "Respect Life", and "Abortion Kills" among many others.

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Can Roe v Wade Be Overturned?

Since abortion became legal in the United States, it has been at the heart of presidential campaigns and Supreme Court nominees. Through the years, the heated debate between pro-life and pro-choice has gotten even hotter. And since January of 2008 it seems we have reached the boiling point with the most pro-abortion President ever currently in office whose health care plan includes taxpayers to pay for abortions.

Pro-lifers hope and pray for a day that Roe v. Wade be overturned. But is this really a possibility? Whether it is or not, many states have passed laws dealing with parental consent, educating women on alternatives for abortions and most importantly, having to see the baby via ultrasound before terminating their pregnancy. There is hope that as we stand for life there will be less abortions performed in this country and more babies rightly given a chance for life.

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Comments 22 comments

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Cari, I am so glad you are standing up for what you believe. I particularly have a problem with these late term abortions. I certainly don't want my tax dollars paying for something that I don't believe in.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD

Very well done, Cari Jean. Exceptional. Your presentation is compelling. I did not know this fact:

Justice Harry Blackmun also stated that “if this suggestion of (fetal) personhood is established, the [case in support of legal abortion] collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Fourteenth amendment."

Wow.


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND Author

Pamela99 - thank you so much for your comment. I really don't understand how abortion doctors can perform lateterm abortions and still have a conscience. My daughter was born at 29 weeks and to think that babies at this age are being aborted is more than heartbreaking - it is downright killing a life.


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND Author

Ken - thank you for your comment. I too was astounded when I read what Justice Blackmun has said.


itakins profile image

itakins 6 years ago from Irl

Cari Jean

An excellent hub-I am quite amazed at the statement by Justice Blackmun-oh pray God this atrocity ends.Sadly it does not look good under the current administration!

A friend of mine, a founding member of an ani abortion group here, is over in the states for the past week attending prayer vigils etc,.

It's beyond comprehension really how gifted people, such as surgeons ,can pursue a life of killing innocents.

Thank you for this great hub.


Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

Excellent hub and a major concern of this country! Thank you for taking the time in writing it. I had not realized 37 years had gone by; how incredibly sad. Keep up the good work Cari Jean!


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND Author

itakins - thank you so much for your comment. Yes, unfortunately under this current administration it is not likely that Roe v. Wade will ever be repealed. It is quite astounding what Justice Blackmun said - I was shocked by that. I don't understand either how doctors and surgeons can be so quick to take a life esp. when they are the ones who are supposed to helping life. We need to continue to keep them in our prayers and that someday they will see the truth of what they are doing.


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND Author

Ann Nonymous - thank you for your encouragement and I'm glad to see you have become a follower as I have become of you.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

Cari,

Now the "so called" pro choice groups are trying to get the Tim Tebow commercial banned from the Super Bowl. His mother made the "choice" to give him life even though her own life was in danger. These people aren't pro choice they're pro abortion


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND Author

Tom - thank you for your comment. I have not heard about the Tim Tebow commercial but I do seem to recall that there was another ad that was banned from the Super Bowl last year. Something about what if Barack Obama had been aborted? The point being he was not raised in a functional family setting which is why women turn to abortion. You're right, though, these people are pro-abortion even though they continue to say no one is actually for abortion.


Destined To Win profile image

Destined To Win 6 years ago

Cari,

What a powerful exposition on an issue that many would like to see just go away. I join with you in declaring that "Life is Sacred." The pictures you chose also in correlation with your peace speak volumes. Kudos and thank you for being a resounding voice for the unborn.


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND Author

Tom - thanks for the link. I can't believe the statement that the ad is an advocacy ad "completely unneccesary" to air during the Super Bowl. I can think of a lot of commercials that are completely unneccesary. That is a real shame if they don't air the ad.


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND Author

Destined To Win - thank you so much for your comment. Yeah, there are many people that would like this issue to just go away. I know I for one am not going to let that happen!


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

Always a very tough and no doubt, controversial subject. I, for one, count myself among the pro-lifers—but I do think that the old law should be applied, that abortions would be acceptable in the case of rape, incest, or in the event that the mother's life is in danger. With regard to the issue of severe handicap, I find that a bit more difficult in that one can find many examples of those who have severe handicaps who have also overcome them to one extent or another.

I'm sure there are many positive examples as well of those children born out of incest or rape that were perfectly happy as well, but the dynamic is different between the mother and the child, I think.

Very good hub.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

This is a very moving Hub, finely written, Cari Jean. I don't see how any decent person can favor unrestricted abortion. They must not have a heart or they must not have a soul. Or they must be dim.


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND Author

Springboard - In instances of rape and incest I still believe the baby, who is completely innocent, should still be allowed to have a chance at life. There are instances where rape victims still had and kept their baby and were grateful they did not abort. It would be very hard but I don't think it's right to repay evil for evil but to instead overcome evil with good by choosing life. Thanks so much for your comment.


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND Author

James - I always appreciate your comments. People who support unrestricted abortion obviously do not have the light of Jesus, that's for sure. We must continue to pray that their eyes would be open and hearts enlightened.


Brad Masters 6 years ago

The purpose of Roe v Wade was to give uniformity on the issue of abortion. Abortion should not be a "State's Right", but a basic right to each person.

The case gave the state, an increasing interest in the matter of abortion based on the trimester. Moving from the first trimester to the second trimester allows the state to get more involved as to whether an abortion can be stopped or not. The state's interest increases going into the third trimester.

The fact that this case's decision has lasted for 37 years tell us that it was not a bad decision, even though it was not a great decision.

The real problem with the abortion issue is the vague interpretation of when life legally exists. If life were to be determined as the first day of conception, then abortion should be illegal, except for emergency situations.

A compromise would be to limit abortion to the first trimester, making it illegal for an abortion to be performed past that point, except for emergency situations.

Abortions should certainly not be performed because the mother wants it as an after the fact, prophylactic. Especially, for those women that do it repeatedly.

Unfortunately, the definition of when life begins is not a medical decision, it is a legal one.

Additionally, there will become a time because of the medical knowledge about DNA and predicting gene problems, that abortion may be considered to prevent gene defective fetuses from going full term.

This is not my opinion, but a guess based on our society and its past decisions.


christryon profile image

christryon 6 years ago

Hi Cari, thank you for shedding some much needed light on this subject. I was not aware of all of the legalities that went into this decision.

I agree with you 110%. Life is sacred. It is a child not a choice.

Your article is very well researched and passionately written. 2 thumbs up!


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND Author

christyron - In doing research for this hub, I learned a lot too about how this decision came about. Thank you so much for your comment and welcome to HubPages! You will find it is a great online community.


slcockerham profile image

slcockerham 4 years ago from Tallahassee, Florida

Love to read true perspective on the genocide of the unborn simply because they do not have a voice. It breaks my heart to think of these things, just as watching silent scream did. We put people in prison for destroyin the eggs of a bald eagle or a sea turtle, yet you can destoy as many children as you like, as long as it's done in the womb. It's a more dangerous place to be in an American women's womb, than in the recent wars in the MiddleEast. Thanks for your courageous stand, may God bless you abundantly!


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 4 years ago from Bismarck, ND Author

slcockerham - thank you so much for your comment. It is so true that we fight so hard to protect endangered species and even trees but yet it is ok to kill a living thing inside a woman's womb. I really truly do not understand how this can be a legal act in this country.

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