Friday, April 8th I was involved in a debate with Shenna Bellows, executive director of the MCLU (Maine Civil Liberties Union), which is Maine’s chapter of the ACLU. The moderator chose three “set piece” questions for us including this one: “Are reproductive rights guaranteed by the Constitution?” Following are my abbreviated remarks:
The US Constitution is silent on reproductive rights, except for an indirect reference in the Preamble which proclaims that the Constitution is ordained “to secure the blessings of liberty to . . . our posterity.” Until 1973, government involvement with reproduction, as such, was handled at the state level, and that’s where the Constitution meant for it to stay. If there were any doubt lingering about that, I would refer you to the 10th Amendment, which states:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
The only example I know of when reproductive rights were denied to Americans is when citizens designated “feeble-minded” or “immoral” were - by state government authority - sterilized against their will in states like New Hampshire, Maine, and many others in the early to mid 20th century. One venue for this was about fifty miles west of here at the Laconia State School in New Hampshire. Another was about 25 miles east of here at the Pineland Center in New Gloucester, Maine. It’s estimated that somewhere around 65,000 people were forcibly sterilized around the United States up until 1963.
All this resulted from the Eugenics movement, begun by people who called themselves “Progressives.” They formed groups like the American Eugenics Society and others. Eugenicists were among the first social engineers of the twentieth century, deciding who should reproduce and who should not - and they used the power of state government to enforce those decisions.Progressive eugenicists included Democrats and Republicans such as Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, radical right wingers like the KKK, and radical left-wingers like Emma Goldman and Margaret Sanger, who went on to establish Planned Parenthood, leader of the abortion industry in America today - federal funding of which is heatedly debated in Congress right now, not because they disseminate birth control, but because they kill our posterity.
Adolph Hitler admired the American eugenics movement.
Goldman and Sanger pushed dissemination of birth control to women but were thwarted by state laws. It’s ironic that states forcibly sterilized people but disallowed dissemination of temporary birth control methods. It wasn’t until Griswold vs Connecticut was adjudicated by the US Supreme Court in 1965 that a “constitutional right to privacy” was declared which negated state laws outlawing dissemination of birth control. In his minority opinion, Justice Potter Stewart said:
“We are not asked in this case to say whether we think this law is unwise or even asinine. We are asked to hold that it violates the United States Constitution. And that I cannot do.” He would let Connecticut citizens persuade their legislature to repeal the law. Griswold vs Connecticut was the basis for Roe vs Wade.
While our constitution is silent on reproductive rights, our Declaration of Independence declares a “right to life,” along with rights to “liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Our Constitution designed a government to manifest its principles and here I refer you back to that phrase in the succinct Preamble declaring that one purpose is to “secure the blessings of liberty to . . . our posterity.” Killing our posterity in the womb would obviously go against that, not to mention violating their “right to life” - which is “endowed by our Creator.” Those are four words that stick in President Obama’s throat. He purposely omits them when quoting that section of that famous document. That our rights are “endowed by our Creator” - and not by our government - will remain in the Declaration of Independence until the ACLU sues to have it removed. Would it surprise anyone they did?
Every state had laws against abortion until the 1960s when New York legalized the procedure, followed soon after by other states until the US resembled a patchwork quilt of legality and illegality. Into this waded the US Supreme Court in 1973 with Roe V Wade.
The majority decision in that case which claims a “Constitutional right to abortion” is based on the afore-mentioned Griswold vs Connecticut birth control case. Progressive justices in both cases claimed rights to birth control and abortion under a “right to privacy.” Trouble was, the word “privacy” doesn’t exist in the Constitution, so they claimed that it emanated from the penumbra of an implied right to privacy in the First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments - none of which mention the word! To call this an exercise in gymnastic nomenclature is an understatement. They wanted it to be there so they insisted it was there, even though it wasn’t there.
If progressives wanted to establish a constitutional right to privacy or abortion or birth control, there was the Amendment process outlined in Article 5. It’s a cumbersome process and it was purposely designed to be so by the founding fathers because it requires a widespread debate in Congress and in all the states for ratification. Instead, seven progressive Supreme Court justices usurped that process. They usurped powers delegated to the states as well. Seven men produced a right to abortion out of whole cloth.
Said Justice Hugo Black of the process: “I like my privacy as well as the next one, but I am nevertheless compelled to admit that government has a right to invade it unless prohibited by some specific constitutional provision.” [Should the court continue this] “shocking doctrine,” he said, [it will wind up as] “a day-to-day constitutional convention.”
Planned Parenthood and the ACLU deny that a human life - our posterity - which has the right to life endowed by our Creator - is killed in an abortion. That’s why they work so vehemently against state laws requiring mothers to see ultrasound images confirming that what they’re carrying is a human baby before they choose to kill it.
Progressive justices imposed their will. They usurped the amendment process in Article 5. As a result of Roe vs Wade, abortion has been the most divisive issue in America ever since 1973.