December 23, 2007

Abortion and Due Process

In 1809, President Thomas Jefferson succinctly explained to Maryland Republicans the fundamental purpose of good government: "The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of good government."

The object of good government had been enshrined in the Declaration of Independence (1776):

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”

If government fails in the fundamental purpose for its existence, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish that government:

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” (
Declaration)

To ensure that the new federal government did not infringe upon the rights of the people (the states' rights issue), the U.S. Constitution was originally amended with a Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments. In regard to the protections guaranteed by the 5th Amendment is the Due Process Clause, which says, “No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…” In addition, the 14th Amendment, adopted some time later, includes a Due Process Clause as well: “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…” The 5th Amendment restrains the federal government from infringement on said rights without due process of law, while the 14th Amendment restrains state governments.

Now, if anything is to be construed about abortion in the Constitution, it is that the right to life of the prenatal person is protected by the Due Process Clause of the 5th and 14th Amendments. ”Due process” refers to legal proceedings, and since the prenatal person cannot be guilty of any crime, he is excluded from the State’s legal right to deprive of life, liberty or property. In regard to the “due process of law” clauses in the 5th and 14th Amendments, historian Clarence B. Carson says,

“These are prohibitions against governments, national and state (which includes local ones as well), from taking life without due process of law. If governments are prohibited from taking life, it is a reasonable inference as well that they may not license, condone, or allow people within their jurisdictions to do so. It would be an exceedingly strange approach to restrict governments in the taking of human life without due process of law and leave the people in general—or, on the other hand, some class of them—free to take life at will. The only reasonable conclusion from the 5th and 14th Amendments is that governments were bound from doing or giving assent or approval in any way to the taking of life without due process of law.” (Basic American Government)

Regardless of how many times one reads the U.S. Constitution, he will not find anything in that document which forbids the states from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Justice Harry A. Blackmun faced this obstacle in Roe vs. Wade. Blackmun’s final solution, one made at the expense of sounding senile or possessed, was the alleged discovery of a right to privacy in the “penumbras formed by emanations” from the Bill of Rights.

For the first 180 years following the adoption of the first Ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, no one in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches of government found anything in them that would even remotely support Blackmun’s discovery. Over 100 years passed since the adoption of the 14th Amendment with no discovery of anything about abortion in that Amendment. (Clarence Carson)

Inarguably, it is nearly impossible to understand how the Constitution of the United States can be read to arrive at the conclusions comprising the decision in Roe vs. Wade. Legalized abortion ignores Due Process and undermines the first and only legitimate object of good government. This corruption of government is accurately described in the words of Pope John Paul II:

"And the State, rather than intervene -- as is its mission -- to defend innocent life, in danger, preventing its suppression and assuring it, by adequate means, existence and growth, authorizes and even concurs in the execution of the death sentence." (January 25, 1986)

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