The 39th anniversary has passed marking the worst Supreme Court decision since Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857). I am referring, of course, to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that gave women a right to commit murder under the rubric of a “right to privacy.”
Conservatives challenge this rule by arguing there is no right to privacy in our Constitution.
This is wrong. There clearly is a fundamental right to privacy. Things such as the Fourth Amendment, the right to be free from unreasonable searches, requires a right to privacy or it makes no sense. The right can also be discerned in what lawyers call the “penumbras” of the First, Third, Fifth and Ninth Amendments.
While the court has not always used the phrase “right to privacy,” it has recognized the right since the founding of the Republic. In 1928, Justice Louis Brandeis said “the right most valued by civilized men” is “the right to be left alone.”
So it is easy to see that there is a zone of privacy around our bodies and homes that the government may not casually breach.
Still, the right to privacy does not give one the right to kill, as liberals argue.
A person’s right to privacy allows one the right to choose with whom to have sex. It gives one the right to use contraceptives. It even gives one the right to marry whom one wishes regardless of race or (someday) sex.
However, once one makes those private decisions and becomes pregnant, she no longer has the right to kill that baby simply because she finds it inconvenient. Even in cases of rape (no one ever said life was fair).
John Stuart Mill, in his essay “On Liberty,” wrote: “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercise over any member of a civilized community against his will is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.”
This is known as the Harm Principle. No one has the right to cause harm to another. It is at the core of my classical liberal philosophy. Under this principle, the only legitimate function of government is to protect people from harm from others. (That, by the way, does not include protecting them from harming themselves.)
And what greater harm can a mother do to an unborn child than kill him or her?
When the Supreme Court ruled that a woman’s right to privacy allows her to kill an unborn child, it violated the Harm Principle. Egregiously.
The pro-abortion crowd will argue that because I am a man, I should not be allowed to have an opinion on abortion, unless, of course, I support the mass murder of 50 million babies in the last 39 years. That’s akin to saying I can’t criticize the president unless I have been the president.
They also will argue the baby is not a human and therefore not worthy of protection. Mankind has often put forth that argument to rationalize mass murder. Hitler said the Jews and other Eastern Europeans were not humans. A rose by any other name?
In reality, a fetus is just at a different stage of human development, no different than babies, children or adults. Almost all species go through different stages of life. It is telling that 38 states have homicide laws that include an unborn fetus in the definition of a person.
Most abortions in this country are performed after the sixth week of pregnancy. The baby develops a detectable heartbeat around the fourth week.
How can someone claim a baby with a heartbeat is not a person just because it can’t survive on its own? Babies cannot survive without adult care. Many adults are also unable to care for themselves. Should we kill them too?
See the nonsense one has to adopt in order to accept the proposition that a woman can kill a child and claim a privacy right to that act?
It’s time to end the bloodshed and put an end to the idea that the right to privacy is an affirmative defense to murder. A healthy society does not allow the wholesale killing of one segment of its population.
Thomas J. Lucente Jr. is a columnist with The Lima (Ohio) News, a Freedom Communications newspaper. He is also a veteran of the Iraq war and a law student at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. Visit his blog at http://www.lucente.org. Readers may write to him at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807-1538, or e-mail him at email@example.com. His telephone number is 800-686-9924, ext. 2095. Follow him on Twitter at http://tho.lu/twitter, Google+ at http://tho.lu/google, and Facebook at http://tho.lu/facebook.