Roe v. Wade Oral Arguments – one hour live audio recording from the US National Archives https://youtu.be/_DT-pxEGfu4
In the Roe v Wade case, the pro-choice attorney named Mrs. Sarah Weddington, who spoke on behalf of the pro-choice appellant Jane Roe, brought up specific situations that were not pertinent to her case, further complicating the entire problem of unjustified reasons why some women seek an abortion. Weddington declared the Texas abortion law – at that time – to be unconstitutional based on two reasons: 1.) The law was vague and 2.) The law violated a woman’s right to continue or terminate a pregnancy. Weddington’s two reasons should have been challenged, but all seven male justices in the court failed: Burger, Douglass, Brennan, Stewart, White, Marshall, and Blackburn. At the time of Weddington’s case, the Texas law only allowed abortion instances when it is for the purpose of saving the life of the woman. Weddington argued that abortions should be allowed for reasons of health or life. Her slight change in wording gave extra protection to abortionists while it opened a door for heinous up-to-birth abortions. Some women now get multiple abortions and remain sterile for life. Some women now think abortion is her only choice when she steps into an abortion clinic. Many abortion clinics lie. Some say the pregnancy is just dead tissue. Millions of women in the USA are killing perfectly healthy unborn children, and they live a lifetime of regret. We must revisit Roe v Wade and show why it fails on many levels.
First of all, Weddington’s statement of how she thought “an abortion should be legally performed for the reasons of health or life” is still vague. It gives a doctor more legal protection, but it does nothing to legally declare when an abortion is constitutionally legal. While the concept of a “balance of rights” between the unborn child and the pregnant woman did come up, it was not satisfactorily resolved. The unborn child should have been declared a person. A balance of rights should have been recognized more clearly. The court must examine individual reasons why a woman is seeking an abortion. In regards to Weddington’s second argument that the law violated a woman’s right to “continue or terminate” a pregnancy, it is also unclear as to the reason for killing an innocent child if the unborn child is not a physical threat to the pregnant woman’s life.
Several important matters were either not discussed at all or not discussed thoroughly. The following matters should be further reviewed in order to revisit Roe v Wade with the purpose of honoring and giving rights to both the pregnant woman and the unborn child. The concept of “balancing rights” must be revisited. Just as a teenager has less rights than an adult, and an elementary school kid has less rights than a teenager, and a preschooler has less rights and abilities than an elementary school kid, and an infant has less rights and abilities than a preschooler, so too does an unborn child have at least some rights.
1.) Referring to the Constitution – The ninth amendment from 1789 reads as follows, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” This amendment does not affirm the existence of a particular right to get an abortion at any stage of pregnancy for any reason. Roe v Wade failed to interpret the ninth amendment and the other amendments such as the fifth amendment. Roe nor anyone else cannot appeal to the 1787 constitution or the 1789 Bill of Rights as a legal way to claim rights to what we call today “abortion on demand,” an abortion at any time during a pregnancy for any reason. In addition, the fifth amendment was written to say that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, and property, without due process of law.” This amendment, like the other amendments, specifically refer to living human beings, but these amendments do not refer specifically to unborn children, although unborn children are living human beings. Roe cannot successfully claim that denying an abortion at any stage of pregnancy is unconstitutional. On the contrary, the unborn child can survive outside the womb, and children outside the womb have human rights for sure. The unborn child is a little human person that begins to exist at conception. The question should have been what rights does an unborn child have at different stages of development during pregnancy and under certain circumstances. The pregnant woman already has human rights that protect her life, but what rights does an unborn baby have? Roe v Wade failed to discuss rights for an unborn who can survive outside the womb and the rights of an unborn child in early term pregnancy. It was brought up and overlooked. They failed to discuss a particular situation when a woman has the right to end the unborn child’s life such as in the case of a true ectopic pregnancy. It would be unconstitutional and unethical for a doctor to kill an unborn child unless the unborn child was taking the life of the woman. It would be unconstitutional and unethical for a doctor to allow a woman to die without doing everything he or she can to save the pregnant woman’s life. Moreover, no one discussed the difference between the following two situations: 1.) ending a late term pregnancy by inducing labor and delivering a living baby and 2.) ending a late term pregnancy by killing an unborn child and delivering a dead baby.
2.) Unborn children are little human persons – During Roe v Wade, a certain amount of time was spent on deciding whether an unborn fetus is a person. It is ridiculous to say an unborn fetus is anything other than a human being. An unborn human fetus is never anything else other than a human being. Science proves that all human beings begin at the moment of conception when the egg and sperm unite. Once fertilized, the fertilized egg contains new DNA, and a new human being begins. We cannot deny science. The question came up again whether or not a human fetus is a person. We must examine the language that was used when the 1789 Bill of Rights was written. The word “person” most certainly refers to a living human being when it was written. The word “person” is interchangeable with a living human being. As an interchangeable word, the little human unborn person in the womb does have some rights since he or she is a living human being. The only question is what kind of rights does the little human unborn person have? Roe v Wade failed to discuss that the unborn child does not have the right to take the mother’s life. The answers must be found under certain stages of development and under certain circumstances during pregnancy, neither of which were discussed in greater detail in Roe v Wade. Does the mother have the right to kill a Down syndrome child? Does the mother have the right to kill an unviable child whose diagnose might be incorrect? Does the mother have the right to kill an unborn child with disabilities? Does the mother have the right to choose killing a child over adoption?
3.) Unborn babies survive outside the womb – A significant point was completely ignored: in late term pregnancy, which consists of 21 weeks gestation to full term gestation, the baby can survive outside the womb. By 24 weeks gestation, the survival rate is very high and almost all 24 week gestation babies survive. Roe v Wade failed to discuss this very important point because the neonatal care that we have today did not exist back then. With even more advancements in neonatal care in the future, we might even see an earlier survival gestation age and a higher survival rate. Roe v Wade failed to discuss the rights of a premature baby getting care. All babies and infants need care in order to survive. Premature babies deserve to get care as well. In the case of rape, Roe v Wade failed to point out that the unborn child did not commit a crime. Roe v Wade never discussed the right for the woman to get emotional and mental help instead of killing an innocent child. They never discussed the woman’s right to get prenatal care instead of panicking with a pregnancy. They never discussed the woman’s right to get pregnancy support and find life giving resources at a helpful pregnancy center.
4.) Saving a Woman’s Life – While it is true that ending a pregnancy can save a woman’s life under certain circumstances such as a misplaced fertilized egg in the first month of pregnancy, it is not true that a late term pregnancy ever requires killing an unborn child in order to save the mother’s life. Roe v Wade failed to discuss the difference between when ending a pregnancy is needed verses when killing an unborn child is needed. Killing an unborn at any time when the mother’s life is not in danger during pregnancy is unconstitutional. If a mother’s life is really in danger, if she has pre eclampsia, high blood pressure, or mental problems for example, she can induce labor during late term pregnancy at 24 week gestation, for example, and deliver a living baby. We can no longer hide behind the term “private discussion between a doctor and a woman” when it comes to life and death situations. All premature babies are supposed to go to neonatal care for help. Thus, killing a child during late term pregnancy is never needed to save a woman’s life. Roe v Wade failed to discuss this very important medical fact. They failed to properly discuss unethical medical practices and the value of the Hippocratic Oath in the courtroom. While the oath was briefly brought up, the justices allowed Weddington to dismiss it way too early.
5.) New Situations & New Understandings – We need to discuss new advancements in neonatal care, discoveries such as when the heart begins to beat, the constitutional rights of the pregnant woman, and the constitutional rights of unborn children who are little human persons. The medical field and courts must admit that an unborn child is a human person. The justices failed to correct Weddington when Weddington claimed, “No one knows when life begins.” The justices failed to provide a medical definition and a philosophical definition that says an unborn child is both a human being and a human person.
6.) Balancing Rights Between Two Persons – While a human citizen begins to receive certain rights after being born, an unborn child has the right to continue living when he or she is not taking away the life of the mother. It is unconstitutional to allow a person to take the life of an unborn child during late term pregnancy because a doctor can induce labor and deliver a living baby. It is unconstitutional to allow a person to take the life of an unborn child during early term pregnancy when the baby is not taking the life of the mother. Take a moment to consider how we allow self defense. It would be unconstitutional to not protect the life of the mother. It would be unconstitutional to not protect the life of the unborn child. Balancing these two person’s rights during an abortion directly relates to which person is possibly taking away the life of the other. The question must be asked, “Is one person unjustified in taking the life of the other?” The woman has the right to life, liberty , and the pursuit of happiness. So does the unborn child. This is why the court must examine the individual situation. Is the unborn child taking away the woman’s life such as in the case of a misplaced fertilized egg? Is the mother or abortionist taking away the child’s life when the child’s life is not causing the mother to die? Both the mother and the unborn child have the right to live. Balancing the rights of two persons is directly related to the stage of fetal development and the individual situation where one person might be taking away another person’s life.
Weddington’s “right to terminate a pregnancy” is based on reasons for health or life, physical or mental. Weddington’s justification is still vague, and it should have been challenged in greater detail by the seven justices in court. With two persons involved, the pregnant woman and the unborn child, we must revisit the balance of rights in a legal sense. The court can no longer deny that the unborn child is a human being who has some rights to life. We must continue to protect the life of the pregnant woman while also balancing the rights of an unborn child. The court cannot ignore the fact that healthcare should be given to both the pregnant woman and the unborn child. Pro-choice is only concerned about giving healthcare to the pregnant woman. With two human lives involved, the pregnant woman and the unborn child, the court must revisit a proper understanding of how to balance these rights in a fair and just way.