Fishers of Men

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BOOK REVIEW: Achieving an Abortion-Free America

Posted by Father Joe on August 21, 2006

Achieving an Abortion-Free America By 2001.  This book by Thomas A. Glessner is a good reminder to us that in addition to our prayers and pro-life sentiments, there must come a concerted action in the public domain on the behalf of the unborn. [Given that I read it back in the 1990’s, it is also a sobering message about our failures!]  Since the legalization of abortion, twenty-five million babies have “ended up in the abortionists’ garbage pails” and the “way of death” has destroyed one in every three babies conceived in the United States. Regarding an unborn child’s humanity and rights, we read: “The Fourteenth Amendment says in part that no state shall ‘deprive any person of life. . . without due process of law.’ The Court freely acknowledged that if an unborn child is a person then abortion cannot be allowed under this amendment. The ultimate decision of the Court was that the unborn child should not be considered a person under the Constitution.

By ruling in this manner the Court issued a legal precedent that not all human beings are persons with the right to life and, therefore, not all human beings need to be protected under the law. This reasoning is similar to a previous Court blunder in the nineteenth century. In 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in Dred Scott v. Sanford which denied constitutional protection to black slaves holding that they were not “citizens” under the preamble of the Constitution. No credible scholar, historian, or lawyer today would dare attempt to justify the decision of the Court in the Dred Scott case. Yet, the holding in Roe which denies the personhood of the unborn child, irrespective of the clear humanity of that child, is a similar error which must be corrected.

     The ultimate irony of the Court’s personhood ruling in Roe is that the Court has, in the past, held that corporations are persons under the Fourteenth Amendment. Under Roe humanity apparently has nothing to do with constitutional protection. According to the Supreme Court some nonhumans, such as corporations, are protected by the Constitution while some humans, such as the unborn, are not” (pp. 37-38).

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