Roe v. Wade: A fault line that threat­ens our cul­ture and democ­racy

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - OPINION - By Thomas Wen­ski Thomas Wen­ski is the fourth Arch­bishop of Mi­ami. He was ap­pointed by Pope Bene­dict XVI in 2010.

Even though our news­pa­pers are never lack­ing in bad news to re­port about mur­ders, killings, vi­o­lence and hate, most of the in­no­cents who die in our world die in anonymity and si­lence, un­re­ported and un-mourned, ex­cept for their moth­ers’ some­times be­lated re­morse.

The screams of these in­no­cents are silent screams: I speak of the silent holo­caust of mil­lions of chil­dren killed in pro­cured abor­tions – some 60 mil­lion in this coun­try alone since the ill-fated Roe v. Wade de­ci­sion. World­wide, abor­tion to­day is the lead­ing cause of death.

Le­gal­ized abor­tion has coars­ened our re­gard for hu­man life in all its stages – as util­i­tar­ian cri­te­ria are in­creas­ingly used to grant “value” or to de­cree “no value” to hu­man be­ings. As Saint Pope Paul VI warned in Hu­manae Vi­tae 50 years ago, a “con­tra­cep­tive men­tal­ity” which views fer­til­ity as a dis­ease to be treated, has eroded the foun­da­tions of the fam­ily by weak­en­ing mar­riage and de­stroy­ing the mu­tual trust be­tween men and women which is the nec­es­sary ce­ment that holds to­gether any com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ship. Abor­tion, rather than pro­tect­ing the rights of women to their bod­ies, pro­tects the rights of men to the bod­ies of women.

The slip­pery slope that pro-life lead­ers warned against has ar­rived. Eu­thana­sia, so-called ther­a­peu­tic em­bry­onic stem cell re­search, cloning, all have demon­strated that Roe v. Wade re­veals it­self as the fault line of our cul­ture which threat­ens the fu­ture of our democ­racy. In­deed, the rea­son why our pol­i­tics are so con­tested to­day, and par­ti­san di­vi­sions run so deep can be laid at the feet of Roe v. Wade. We see this on dis­play when­ever there is a Supreme Court nom­i­nee to be voted on in the U.S. Se­nate. In the Jan. 22, 1973 Roe v. Wade de­ci­sion, the Supreme Court ba­si­cally usurped the role of the Leg­is­la­ture and, in an ex­er­cise of raw ju­di­cial power, im­posed across our na­tion the most per­mis­sive abor­tion regime in the Western World.

The an­nual Jan­uary March for Life takes place this year on Jan. 18. Held ev­ery year in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., with 100,000-plus mostly young peo­ple brav­ing rain, snow or sleet, gives lie to the as­ser­tion by some pro-abor­tion ad­vo­cates (in­clud­ing ed­i­to­rial writ­ers) that the per­mis­sive abor­tion regime ush­ered in by Roe v. Wade is “set­tled law.” Yet, the hope of pro-lif­ers that orig­i­nal­ist jus­tices will over­turn Roe v.

Wade will not to­tally end abor­tion, but it would re­turn law­mak­ing to state leg­is­la­tures which are in­creas­ingly pro-life.

Our na­tion is in­creas­ingly re­ject­ing abor­tion and Roe v. Wade as states con­tinue to adopt more lim­i­ta­tions on abor­tion and ex­pand al­ter­na­tives to abor­tion. But, in Flor­ida, courts in­voked the right to pri­vacy in our state con­sti­tu­tion to block a good law re­quir­ing a 24-hour re­flec­tion pe­riod prior to abor­tion. The court’s broad in­ter­pre­ta­tion of our state’s pri­vacy clause stems from a Flor­ida Supreme Court rul­ing in 1989 against a law re­quir­ing parental con­sent prior to a mi­nor’s abor­tion and poses unique chal­lenges re­gard­ing abor­tion laws in Flor­ida. So, even if Roe v Wade were over­turned, the State of Flor­ida could re­tain per­mis­sive abor­tion poli­cies.

There is, in a word, much work still to be done (and prayers to be of­fered) to as­sure that ev­ery un­born child is wel­comed in life and pro­tected by law.

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