Forty-One Years in the Desert

Yesterday marked the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the decision that forbade states from restricting abortion during the first trimester, and, with its companion case Doe v. Bolton, made it functionally impossible for states to restrict abortion during the second trimester.  The laws set forth in each case were later modified by Planned Parenthood v. Casey‘s “substantial burden” test, but the end result is that abortion in America has been functionally unrestricted for over forty years.

Yesterday was the fortieth annual March for Life. The twitter hastag #WhyWeMarch collected pro-lifer’s statements on why they travelled to Washington, D.C. in brutal weather to march in (literally) freezing cold to protest a Supreme Court decision that had been handed down over four decades ago.

I have only been to the March once, back in 2008; I took this picture:

Golden Capitol at the End of the Rainbow

I wasn’t able to make it this year – one trip in January to Washington was enough – but why I marched in 2008 and hope to march again:

That ‘blob of cells’ is a living human being, and, if you don’t kill it, will be someone’s best friend, someone’s confidante, college roommate, bridesmaid, bride, mom, and grandmother.

Those “blobs of cells” are how I started my life, how everyone reading this post started their lives. That unwanted blob of cells that came at an inconvenient time are my friends – one friend, whose mom was 16 and whose dad was 18 when he was born. He’s now a college graduate and a working professional with a wife and a kid of his own.  Another friend was given up for adoption by a scared teenager; she’s now a lawyer who had her own firm and now works to protect children from violence.

That child, if allowed to live its life, will be a cute six-year-old who will be someone’s new best friend in first grade. That baby will be someone’s confidante in adolescence, that teammate on the soccer team who cheers everyone on and makes the players (on his team and the other side) feel good about themselves. He or she will be that person who is a rock for a teenager who needs  a rock to lean on.  In older years, that “baby” will be a college roommate, a member of a wedding party, and someone’s treasured spouse.

Regardless of how much money you have or what your own personal circumstances are, there are dozens of people who will be profoundly grateful for that child’s existence, if you allow that child to live.

Abortion denies the humanity of the unborn, but it also denies our own humanity: it denies that we are all intrinsically valuable and that we offer each other gifts that no other individual in the world can offer.  Abortion denies that people are put into your life for a reason, often when you need them the most, and denies that the child in the womb is that person for someone out there.

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Filed under Bioethics, Law

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