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Abortion is not just a debate over ideas

Adeline A. Allen | Human dignity hangs in the balance at the Supreme Court

A soldier overseas holds an ultrasound image of his daughter. Associated Press/Photo by Maya Alleruzzo

Abortion is not just a debate over ideas
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The biggest abortion case in nearly 50 years, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is going up before the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Mississippi is asking no less than that the Supreme Court reverse both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Mississippi will seek to uphold its abortion prohibitions for pregnancies past 15 weeks’ gestation, with exceptions for medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormality. But the stakes are actually far higher.

The Supreme Court should reverse Roe and Casey in its entirety. As Princeton’s Robert P. George writes at First Things, the legal facts in Dobbs are presented in such a way that it does not allow for much wiggle room for the justices. Given the legal and constitutional arguments, it would make sense—and be exactly right—for the Court to reverse both Roe and Casey.

My husband and I recently welcomed a child. The experience of pregnancy and childbirth always makes me think of the Apostle Paul’s words—mysterious, lovely, and aching with yearning: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

If, during the pregnancy, I knew the baby growing in the womb—through flutters in the womb, daily kick counts, growing height, ultrasound images—it was like seeing him through a glass, darkly. It was knowledge, yes, but only in part.

But then the baby was born, the midwife placed him on my chest, and I got to meet him for the first time. I saw him, finally, in the flesh, face to face. Then I began to know him as we may know each other this side of Paradise. He looked like his older brother. The shape of his fingers and toes is the same as his siblings and mine. I will learn to know his personality, the sound of his laugh. The promise of years ahead is a fuller knowledge, a more fulfilling one.

But our baby was a person from the start—from the moment of fertilization and the gift of life.

Sixty-two million Americans have been killed in utero under the Roe v. Wade regime. Abortion—grotesquely and deceitfully termed as “women’s health care” these days, as if the older doublespeak the “right to choose” wasn’t perversion enough—is often pushed by elites and professional women (while poor women bear the brunt of the abortion culture).

Abortion is an idol that has required Molech-style child sacrifice on its altar. So it was heartening to see so many women scholars and professionals, 240 of them, sign an amicus curiae brief in support of Mississippi. (Full disclosure: I joined it, too). In fact, Dobbs had many amicus briefs filed, and 70 percent were filed in support of Mississippi. Momentum is building, and it is high time. It is time to destroy the high places and break the idol.

And it is time to turn to the God Who is Love. “Now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Love is a constant between this life and the life of the world to come, as the Apostle Paul teaches us. Love is also a constant between the world of the unborn in the womb and our world here outside of the womb. Love is willing the good of the beloved, and God’s gift of life is good in and of itself. The way of love requires babies not to be aborted, that they might live and experience the beauty and wonder of this life under the reign of a loving Creator. The clarion call to the Supreme Court to overrule Roe and Casey in full has been sounded. Let the faithful answer the call to pray earnestly for the cause of life.

Adeline A. Allen

Adeline A. Allen is an associate professor of law at Trinity Law School.


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