Abortion Decision Should Be Reversed
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
Taking the life of an innocent infant in the womb didn’t become a so-call “right” in the United States with the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Several state governments had already passed legislation conferring legality on the grisly practice. New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller eagerly promoted the killing of unborn infants whose life in the womb had not yet reached the sixth-month plateau known by medical professionals as the time when an infant fetus could survive early delivery. The Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, Planned Parenthood, and others helped to assure America’s abandonment of the centuries-old prohibition against taking the life of an unborn child.
Since 1973, some states have sought to impede the practice of deliberately snuffing out life in the womb. In 2013, for instance, North Dakota legislators passed a law banning abortions if an unborn infant’s heartbeat is detected. This reasonable attempt to curtail murder by abortion was struck down by a federal court and the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal. During 2016, a strong anti-abortion Texas law won passage at that state’s level, but the Supreme Court voided portions of it. Just recently in Mississippi the legislature enacted a prohibition on abortion once an unborn infant had progressed 15 weeks in the womb. This law is being appealed by the usual pro-abortion organizations led by federally funded Planned Parenthood.
More remarkably, Iowa has just passed and its governor has signed a measure banning abortion if an infant’s heartbeat can be detected. Medical experts contend that such an indication of life can be assured six weeks after conception. The Iowa law requires a woman seeking an abortion to submit to ultrasound inspection. If an infant’s heartbeat is detected, the Iowa law bars abortionists from carrying out the woman’s wishes.
Iowa’s Governor Kim Reynolds not only expects opponents to challenge her state’s recent action, she welcomes it. She expects a challenge to be adjudicated after a change in the personnel on the Supreme Court, enough of a change to reverse Roe v. Wade. Her hopes are based on the near certainty that at least one of the liberal justices will soon retire and be replaced by an anti-abortion judge who would, she expects, side with four justices already committed to overturning 45 years of “legal” abortion.
America, for the rest of mankind, should never have allowed the willful termination of innocent life. But our nation has already allowed the destruction of the lives of 60 million unborn babes. The doctors who have participated in this grisly practice have all ignored a simple rule of their profession that states “Do no harm.” The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (who lived from 460 to 380 B.C.) is known as the Father of Medicine. His writings including the famous Hippocratic Oath condemned giving “a woman a pessary to produce an abortion.” (A pessary is a device inserted into the uterus that was known in ancient times to impede growth of a fetus and terminate its life.)
Graduating medical school students had always recited the 300 words of the Hippocratic Oath. Since Roe v. Wade however, some medical schools such as Tufts University in Massachusetts and North Carolina’s Duke University, have changed what Hippocrates had written in order to remove the medical profession’s long-standing prohibition against abortion penned by the ancient Greek. Their revised oath contains a condemnation of any “operation for a criminal purpose.” According to numerous university medical schools, when high-ranking justices remove abortion from the list of criminal acts, then terminating life in the womb becomes acceptable.
The United States began with the Declaration of Independence’s clear assertion that all are “endowed by their Creator” with rights. Among such rights one can find “Life.” Hence, the willful taking of that God-given right is condemnable. Roe v. Wade destroyed this for tens of millions and it has sullied the image of our nation for 45 years. We agree with the lawmakers in Iowa whose challenge to overturn that gruesome 1973 decision deserves the support and prayers of all thinking Americans.
Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.