This week abortion advocates celebrate the forty-second anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that has consigned nearly 60 million Americans to their death. They, and their political allies, will proclaim their continuing pleasure at the “freedom,” “choice,” and “privacy” that Roe supposedly provided. These euphemisms for destroying living human beings are grotesque enough. But their rhetoric doesn’t even match today’s agenda of compulsion.
When you hear abortion supporters claiming to stand for the right to make their own private choices this week, recall that this is a recent sampling of what they are really working for (in abortion euphemism speak):
- The freedom to force religious employers like The Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for their abortion-inducing drugs.
- The choice to force California churches to pay for abortion coverage for church staff.
- The fundamental right to privately force Catholic nurses to assist in dismemberment abortions.
- The liberty to require pro-life people needing an Obamacare plan to pay specifically for others’ abortions.
- The private choice to force pro-life organizations like the March for Life, National Right to Life, AUL, and my own Alliance Defending Freedom to pay for abortions and hire those who advocate for abortion.
The Supreme Court went out of its way in Roe v Wade, to emphasize that this right to an abortion it was inventing would not impose on the unwilling any obligation to participate in abortion. Rejecting the worry that creating a constitutional right to abortion would result in forcing medical professionals to violate their conscience, the Court dismissed this as an unnecessary concern, approvingly citing this Resolution of the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates”:
[N]o physician or other professional personnel shall be compelled to perform any act which violates his good medical judgment. Neither physician, hospital, nor hospital personnel shall be required to perform any act violative of personally-held moral principles.
And on the same day, in Doe v. Bolton, the Court rejected the argument that Georgia’s abortion restrictions were necessary in order to prevent medical professionals from being compelled to assist in abortions in violation of conscience, noting that a remaining part of the law, unchallenged by the ACLU, ensured that “a physician or any other employee has the right to refrain, for moral or religious reasons, from participating in the abortion procedure.” This “provision [is] obviously in the statute in order to afford appropriate protection to the individual and to the denominational hospital,” the Court explained.
The Ninth Circuit even recognized this basic principle that “choice” in “reproductive health” did not authorize someone to force Christians to violate their own faith, holding in Chrisman v. Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, “If the … refusal to perform [an abortion or sterilization] infringes upon any constitutionally cognizable right to privacy, such infringement is outweighed by the need to protect the freedom of religion.”
In recognizing that abortion “access” could not trump First Amendment freedoms, the courts were in unison with virtually every elected official – Republican or Democrat – in Congress. When the Church Amendments passed Congress in 1973, prohibiting discrimination against health care workers and hospitals that did not participate in abortions in violation of conscience, they passed by a vote of 372-1 in the House and 92-1 in the Senate. A resolution designating blue as the common color of the sky could not gain that unanimity today.
The junior Senator from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy, spoke in support of this conscience protection measure and defended extending the religious liberty protections not only to pro-life individuals but to the denominational hospitals who were their employers:
I believe that the Court will sustain the judgment to protect individual rights and liberties. I believe that the Court will sustain the judgment of Congress that, in order to give full protection to the religious freedom of physicians and others, it is necessary to extend the exemption…to the facilities where they practice their profession and livelihood.
42 years later, the left’s passion for abortion is unabated. But in their bloodthirst they are no longer content to – or no longer feel compelled to – also respect individual conscience.
The result is a pro-abortion rhetoric that has strained its euphemisms to the breaking point of credulity and commemorates a “Roe” that doesn’t even support their radical demands. As more Americans realize not only that the “choice” in abortion is a dead living human being, but also that hiding behind their “privacy” and “freedom” is actually an illiberal license to compel, the radical abortion agenda is exposed for the aggressive lie it has always been.