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In an Associated Press story this week with the title “Abortion restrictions are racist,” a woman who moved to Mississippi from Chicago was used as an example of the supposed difficulties for women to get access to abortion.
Instead, the story may have provided the best evidence for restricting abortion.
Because in the story, the reporter describes the woman this way: “Happily raising her now 7-year-old son.”
This is the same son who she was desperately seeking to abort seven years ago. According to the story, it would have been her third abortion.
Two things struck me when I read this.
One was I feel sorry for her son, who may one day read this story and realize it was only because his mother couldn’t get to an abortion clinic in time that he is alive today; she really didn’t want him.
Two, this is the essence of the abortion issue: no one can doubt that what is developing in the mother’s womb is a life. All they can say is either the mother has the right to end that life, or she doesn’t.
I wonder if this woman who so strongly advocates for abortion looks at her now seven-year-old that she says she is “happily raising” and wonders about the two other children she could have had; if the seven-year-old even knows he might have had two other siblings if his mother had only lived in a state where it was more difficult to get an abortion - the situation that saved his life and gave him a chance at all the possibilities life offers, both good and bad.
I wonder how this seven-year-old will view abortion as he grows up in light of this and if he will see it as a “resource” for women or as murder?
The reality is that the leaked Supreme Court document indicating an overturn of Roe v. Wade is a compromise.
I know that may shock some of you, who have felt overturning Roe could be a defining moment in American culture.
But the Supreme Court justices didn’t write that abortion is murder or even that it should be made illegal; they just said that, in their opinion, the Constitution of the United States says nothing about abortion. Justice Samuel Alito, like the late Justice Antonin Scalia, says there is no such ‘right’ to an abortion found in the Constitution or any of its amendments.
Which means that if they do indeed overturn Roe, the Supreme Court is simply punting the issue back to the states, which is where the issue was before 1973.
It will be up to state legislatures to decide how to handle an issue that, up to now, has been almost a no-brainer either way. For the last 50 years, no politician on either side was ever truly called upon to make the tough decision of actually acting on campaign rhetoric regarding abortion. If you were a politician in a “red” state, you were vehemently against abortion; if you were a politician in a “blue” state, you were for it. Oh sure, there were tough laws passed by some states – including Alabama. But until now, everyone knew those laws were essentially unenforceable, and it would be up to the Supreme Court to decide what to do.
This decision is a compromise by SCOTUS because if the justices really wanted to put an end to abortion, they could have declared abortion to be murder and would seem to have a strong legal basis for so doing.
If Roe is, in fact, overturned as now expected, it will be put-up-or-shut-up time for all these state politicians. Political points and political expediency will give way to actual legislation that will determine whether abortion is indeed murder, if it will be completely outlawed in their state, or just limited, or if it will be completely legal in any form on demand.
Meanwhile, all I can think of is this nice mother in Mississippi, who wanted an abortion but wasn’t allowed to have one because she waited too long, who is “happily raising her now 7-year-old son.”
The one she didn’t want. The one she wouldn’t have if not for a more restrictive abortion law.
I wonder if she ever looks at her 7-year-old now and thinks, “Thank God for Mississippi.”
Ray Melick is Editor-in-Chief of 1819 News. This column appears in place of the regular Thursday column by KCarl Smith, who is off this week. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.