THE CASE AGAINST ABORTION: A brief overview of the legal and philosophical arguments for life (January 2006)

In the decades old debate over abortion there are two main issues to contemplate – one legal, the other moral.  With respect to the latter those who support abortion can be categorized as either the “Moral Coward” or the “Moral Ignoramus.”  With respect to the former there are those who support the integrity of the Constitution and those who do not.  I’ll first discuss the legal question, then the moral.

In a casual reading of our nations founding document’s one will note two references to life.  The Declaration of Independence states that his Creator endows man with the unalienable right to life.  And in the 5th amendment to the Constitution, the deprivation of life is proscribed absent due process.  These documents were based, in large part, on English common law, the English Bill of Rights, and the various State Constitutions.  Nowhere in any of these sources can be found a preference for or an endorsement of a “woman’s right to choose.”

Furthermore, by virtue of the 10th amendment to the Constitution (“Those powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”) the abortion question is one legally within the jurisdiction of the State legislatures, not the federal Courts.  The federal right to abortion is wholly a creation of an overzealous, activist Judiciary (the Warren Court) acting well outside its Constitutional authority, creating a brand-new right out of thin air.

Fortunately the Framers, in their brilliance, both anticipated and feared this very sort of usurpation of legislative authority by a “Judicial Oligarchy” and checked it with the Constitutional amendment process.

Turning now to the philosophical or moral questions raised by the abortion debate it is necessary first to briefly delve into the very concept of morality itself; for the first type of abortion rights advocate we must confront is the Moral Ignoramus, or Relativist.

The great Moral Philosopher Sir Thomas Browne wrote: “Think not that morality is ambulatory; that vices in one age are not vices in another; or that virtues, which are under the everlasting seal of right reason, may be stamped by opinion.”  This defense of traditional morality as understood in every civilization in history was written three centuries before the “Baby-Boomer” progeny of our “Greatest Generation”, in their arrogance and vanity, undertook man’s latest attempt at redefining morality as subjective, amorphous, and relative.  A human construct, they suggest, differing based on the various mores in each generation or society. Their descent into self-indulgence and relativism have had a lasting and deleterious effect on the world ever since.  A few examples are crime, drug abuse, aids, divorce, abortion, etc.

In the 20th century C.S. Lewis in his great debunking of relativism “The Abolition of Man” argues that to question the validity of fundamental and universal value judgments (such as the sanctity of life) is self-contradictory, and thus self-invalidating.  Do relativists not value multiculturalism or women’s rights?  If so, they acknowledge values do exist, do they not?  And if so, an objective value of life itself must precede all others.

As the great Moral Philosopher and the Christian apologist suggest, when Nature’s God created the universe with physical laws that govern, for example, the movements of celestial bodies (as described by histories greatest science teachers: Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and others.) he created also laws of moral certainty that are immutable and absolute.  Histories greatest moral teachers (Jesus, Confucius, Buddha, and others) described these laws.  And just as God’s natural laws are often bent (do not birds fly in defiance of gravity, or man through the principles of propulsion and lift?) so too through the abuse of God’s gift of free will are these moral laws often defied in man’s proclivity for sin.

The Moral Ignoramus then, is a relativist, a humanist, and an “enlightened, values-neutral” individual who is either incapable or unwilling to pass moral judgments upon the brutal practice of abortion.  Taken to its logical conclusion, their argument may be compared to that of a sociopath; characterized by a lack of empathy for others, remorselessness, and a tendency to rationalize deviant behavior.  They neither see nor acknowledge any intrinsic value to human life. And having no legitimate ethical or scientific arguments in their favor simply eliminate the condemned child from the equation, coldly sanitizing their position.  They then self-righteously demand “control of their own bodies.”

One might ask such a person “when is a fetus a baby?” or “At what point is abortion infanticide?” or “If a third trimester abortion is acceptable, what about a fourth trimester?”(Postpartum) Any answer they give, were they so inclined would be arbitrary.  Their only method of justification is to de-humanize the child and reduce the procedure to something akin to having a boil lanced, and then take the high moral ground by claiming privacy or women’s rights.

In fact the barbaric procedure is almost too sadistic to describe, let alone behold. Yet failing to do so would qualify as Moral Cowardice (which I’ll define next). In many abortion procedures the child’s limbs are torn off her body, her skull crushed, and her brain sucked out, all without anesthesia.  The various remaining body parts are then scrupulously removed from the uterus, (lest the woman become infected by her child’s decomposing remains) and the child is discarded without ceremony or dignified burial.

The brutal nature of this terrible act should leave no room for fence sitting or equivocation, yet the larger of the two pro-abortion groups does precisely that.  The Moral Coward can be defined as one who is personally opposed to abortion but supports a general “right to choose.”  This is the “see no evil crowd” who would never choose abortion themselves nor allow one by their child and may even be repulsed by the practice.  But for fear of ostracism or perhaps a polite refusal to talk about the issue, simply disengage from the debate and feel their conscience clear so long as no blood stains their hands.

These folks can be charitably described as enablers whose refusal to stand and be counted drains what little moral fortitude exists in our elected representatives and hence retains and perpetuates the tragic status-quo.

For the sake of restoring constitutional balance and ensuring its long-term viability the U.S. Congress and/or the several States must re-assert their constitutional prerogatives and strike down Roe v. Wade through the amendment process. (If the Robert’s Court doesn’t strike first)  And for the sake of countless precious future lives, the fence sitting Moral Cowards must choose life openly to give their elected officials the political courage to act.  The Moral Ignoramus, for their part must be made to explain why their position which manifestly runs counter to universal moral values, basic human nature, (A parents instinct to protect their young) the U.S. Declaration of Independence, and Constitution, is the just one.

About michaelstjoseph

Michael St. Joseph is the pen-name of a Catholic conservative citizen of the greatest country in the history of civilization. He has a law enforcement background and lives with his family in the New York area. He can be reached at
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