Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director of Priests for Life
Newly-elected abortion advocates often try to paint their support for Roe vs. Wade and its companion case Doe vs. Bolton as mainstream. Some even think that the decisions constitute a “compromise” position on the divisive issue of abortion. After all, they say, our current national policy on abortion allows a woman to have a child if she wants, and to abort the child if she wants.
But Roe and Doe are about as far away from a “compromise” as you can find. The decisions allow for abortion throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy, and do not recognize any right of the unborn child to be spared death by abortion. With a nation divided about abortion, one might think that under a “compromise” solution one could find some reason to protect at least some unborn children. But in Roe and Doe, one searches in vain for any situation in which an unborn child is protected. As the University of Detroit Law Review pointed out, “The Supreme Court’s decisions…allowed abortion on demand throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy” (Paul B. Linton, Enforcement of State Abortion Statutes after Roe: A State-by-State Analysis, Vol. 67, Issue 2, Winter 1990).
In this framework, every unborn baby is disposable. Every. That’s hardly a “compromise” position.
“Leave it up to the woman to decide” sounds to many like a fair compromise. But this position completely destroys equality before the law, because it constitutes a complete removal of protection from the child. The lives of unborn children who are wanted and carried to term do not have any more protection from the law than the lives of unborn children who are unwanted and carried to the abortionist. The lives of the wanted are protected only by their “wantedness,” which, of course, can be subject to change at any time. As far as the law is concerned, they are all non-persons, regardless of circumstance. That’s hardly a “compromise.”
A “compromise” usually, and by definition, allows some accommodation to both sides in the dispute. But current abortion policy allows no accommodation to the claims that innocent human life makes upon us.
The more you know about the Roe and Doe decisions, the clearer this becomes. In fact, the Gallup polling company, in an extensive analysis of the opinions of Americans on abortion, admits that the level of support in surveys for Roe vs. Wade is lower if more information about the decision itself is offered in the question, and higher if less information is offered.
These are important points to bring up in communicating with pro-abortion elected officials.
In Judgment at Nuremberg, one of those responsible for the Holocaust says that he “never thought it would go that far,” and was told that it “went that far” as soon as a single innocent life was taken. There is no room for “compromising” about human life. Permitting one life to be destroyed is already extreme. Unless we’re all protected, we’re all in danger.