Article Comment 

Justin Sutton: Roe v. Wade






Roe v. Wade: Where''s the celebration? 


As a father, I will never forget the feelings of joy and love I felt when I heard my son''s heart beat for the first time. Thirty-eight years ago Saturday, the Supreme Court decided it was legal to stop the beating heart of an unborn child in its decision of Roe v. Wade. The Court''s interpretation of the 14th Amendment and its ruling paved the way for expectant mothers to legally obtain an abortion. Many have hailed this case a landmark decision that advanced the power and status of women. If the court''s ruling was such a victory, where were the celebrations this weekend? 


People across the country celebrate historic moments in the quest for equality in the United States. Strangely, on a day that supposedly ushered in a new sense of equality for women, the silence of the celebration is deafening. 


I believe this silence stems from the fact nearly every conscience is pricked by the vileness of a "medical procedure" that allows an unborn child to be murdered. Some people may call this women''s rights or a personal decision. The time has come to call it what it is--murder. 


Many great leaders have said the true measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable members. Is there anyone more vulnerable than an unborn child in a mother''s womb? How do we measure up as a society? 


My "little heartbeat" recently celebrated his first birthday. It is a damning statement about our society that many children never have this opportunity because of "rights and progress." 


Justin Sutton 





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Reader Comments

Article Comment zenreaper commented at 1/23/2011 11:02:00 AM:

The worst part of Roe v Wade, besides its legalizing of the murder of an unborn child, is that it did not grant women equality, it placed them above men in reproductive rights. Mr. Sutton, that infant you held in your arms could have been killed by your wife at almost anytime during the pregnancy, and there would have been nothing you could do about it. Yet if YOU did not wish to be a father, she could have had the child and sued you for support.


Article Comment kj commented at 1/23/2011 1:27:00 PM:

Certainly, at some point during the pregnancy, a fetus is viable enough to survive outside the womb. There's room for discussion and common agreement about when that time is. Indeed, it is mostly reflected in the laws that have resulted governing abortion: past a certain point in a pregnancy, the only abortions allowed are those necessary to save the life of the mother.

Prior to that point in the pregnancy, reasonable people should be able to agree to disagree as to whether the procedure is allowable. Unfortunately, one side of the debate is very strongly populated by unreasonable people who are motivated by their desire not to save lives but to control them. To most reasonable people, the current state of abortion law in the U.S. is not problematic and represents a fair compromise that protects women from horrors such as having to carry the products of rape and incest to term but places reasonable roadblocks to ending a pregnancy as simply another form of birth control.

The fact is, abortion is rare; the current compromise is a very good balance.


Article Comment zenreaper commented at 1/23/2011 1:53:00 PM:

Kj, the problem with your theory is that it has no foundation in scientific fact. We do not know, with any degree of scientific certainty, when "life" begins. The problem is that the pro life side argues, usually, from a religious standpoint, which differs from sect to sect. I am an atheist. My opposition stems from the FACT that there is no scientific evidence as to the beginning of life. Because of that, there are two possible future outcomes. One, we find out that life does, indeed, begin at conception, or we find out that "life" begins at a later date. If we outlaw abortion and life begins sometime AFTER conception, the only thing we have done is had children born that would have otherwise been aborted. If it is determined that life begins at conception, and we leave abortion legal, we will have been the generation that was responsible for the largest mass murder in the history of our species. From a purely scientific standpoint, we must outlaw abortion until more is known.

From a different perspective, however, we should extend to men the same rights extended to women in regardles to reproduction. If a woman can choose to negate her responsibility to a baby in the form of abortion, a man should have the same right. Now, I am not suggesting that a man should be able to force an abortion, but he shoudl be given the right to walk away, scott free, for a period of time, say 30-60 days, after finding out he is to be a father. If we are giving a woman the right to do so, that same right, under the banner of "equality", should be extended to men. Also, if a woman want to abort the child, and the man wants the child, she should be forced to have the child, and hand it over to Dad to raise, and she then walks away, scott free.

Of course, my viewpoint on this issue treats women with TRUE equality, and as we all know, many women only want equality if there is a man there to PAY for it.


Article Comment gogetum commented at 1/24/2011 10:19:00 AM:

Fact: Life for the human animal begins at conception. Your parents became parents at that time.
Meaning of Embryo-- A human being up to the end of the second month after conception.
Meaning of Fetus( A latin word for baby)-- Third month to ninth month after conception.
Roe and Wade have since agreed on this.
If I'm not mistaken , zenraper and kj have finally agree on something-both seem to believe in themselves more than God. I think both profess being atheist. I'm sorry if I mistaken about that. Correct me if I am.


Article Comment kj commented at 1/24/2011 7:08:00 PM:

Zenreaper, that's an interesting take on the equality bit...but I don't think that women and men play equal roles in reproduction. Because of that inequality, I don't think it's unfair that women should be more empowered in the process than men are.

There is a lot of scientific evidence for my assertion (that at some point in a pregnancy, a fetus is viable outside the womb). Absent scientific facts that demonstrate life begins at conception, it's wholly reasonable for some people to decide that it does not and act accordingly. Just as it's wholly reasonable for other to decide that it does and act accordingly.

I am an atheist. As far as believing in myself more than god, that's accurate, too, insofar as I am the arbiter of my own moral code.


Article Comment gogetum commented at 1/25/2011 10:10:00 AM:

More facts for kj---

When does science say Human Life begins?

Pro-lifers are often criticized for their position that human life begins at conception. Many incorrectly think that this belief is based on some blind religious dogma, a scripture passage somewhere, or some stubborn need to tell women what to do with their bodies. All the while, this same opposition likes to pretend that they are the scientific, logical ones - obviously not blinded by religion or some judgmental God.

Of course, this is exactly backwards from reality. The entire basis for life beginning at conception stems from well documented, universally recognized scientific fact. The only ones who deny this are those blinded by their own religious dogma of so-called "choice" who have a stubborn need to deny scientific fact in order to stay faithful to their own ideology.

If science had proven that human life actually began at implantation or at nine weeks or whenever, then that's precisely when we (Catholics and any other reasonable belief system) would believe that human life began. Simple. And, logically, it would be from that moment when this human being should be treated with the rights and dignities that come with being a human being.

But that's not what science has told us. Science has quite clearly and decidedly proven that human life begins at conception (i.e. fertilization. AKA the moment sperm and ovum meet and form an entirely new, self-directing living organism of the human species with its own individual DNA distinct from both mother and father.).

At this point in the debate, some try and introduce a separate distinction and question of "personhood." Aside from this usually being a convoluted way to try and create classes of human beings and that it doesn't hold up to any consistently logical scrutiny, it's also not at all a scientific argument. It's a philosophical one. So it is totally irrelevant to the scientific question of when human life begins.

Recently, Dr. Robert George wrote an article outlining this whole topic in more detail. It's worth a read. And if you want to really learn your stuff, pick up his excellent book entitled Embryo (I'm in the middle of reading it right now). In his words:

"That is, in human reproduction, when sperm joins ovum, these two individual cells cease to be, and their union generates a new and distinct organism. This organism is a whole, though in the beginning developmentally immature, member of the human species. Readers need not take our word for this: They can consult any of the standard human-embryology texts, such as Moore and Persaud's The Developing Human, Larsen's Human Embryology, Carlson's Human Embryology & Developmental Biology, and O'Rahilly and Mueller's Human Embryology & Teratology." - Dr. Robert George

"Human embryos, whether they are formed by fertilization (natural or in vitro) or by successful somatic-cell nuclear transfer (SCNT -- i.e., cloning), do have the internal resources and active disposition to develop themselves to the mature stage of a human organism, requiring only a suitable environment and nutrition. In fact, scientists distinguish embryos from other cells or clusters of cells precisely by their self-directed, integral functioning -- their organismal behavior. Thus, human embryos are what the embryology textbooks say they are, namely, human organisms -- living individuals of the human species -- at the earliest developmental stage." - Dr. Robert George

Did we catch that? Human embryos only need a suitable environment and nutrition to become more mature human beings. Hey, that's kind of like humans at any stage - at least for our biological maturity. Unfortunately, the culture outside of the womb is seemingly a less and less "suitable environment" for bringing about other kinds of maturity. But that's another issue entirely.

But despite our maturity, biological or otherwise, we are "whole" members of the human species - human beings. And with that comes an inherent dignity and right to life.

One of the great powers of science is that it is able to help clarify moral issues like this for us. It's a powerful tool. Science is clear on this one. If you are a fan of science, then consider also being a fan of human life - at all of its stages.


Article Comment kj commented at 1/25/2011 10:52:00 AM:

It's difficult to tell where you lifted this from (without attribution), gogetum, because it appears so often on the internet.

Plagiarism aside, terming an organism a living individual does not make it so. As any time when Catholics in particular are prone to wade into a debate, more care is usually taken with language and its manipulation than with actual fact. Human embryos do not in fact have the internal resources and disposition to develop themselves into a mature stage. If they did, time in the womb would not be necessary. Which, at a certain point in pregnancy, it no longer is. Which was -- rather than arguing that life begins or does not begin at the point of fertilization -- my initial point.

Still, it's reasonable to believe that life begins at fertilization and act accordingly. But it's also reasonable to conclude that an organism without a developed brain, without a sense of itself, and without the ability to exist outside the womb does not enjoy the same protections and freedoms as the life that carries it.

Whichever side one falls on, acting according to conscience is fine. It isn't necessary to force every pregnancy into a one-size-fits-all moral equivalency. Mainly because those attempting to do the forcing are not those who must bear the consequences of doing so.


Article Comment gogetum commented at 1/25/2011 12:19:00 PM:

If it'll save you some loss of sleep, kj, it was copied from a Cathlic site. All Catholic's are pro life. Naturally , since you don't believe you were created by God, what difference does it make to you? Only showing that your science belief was wrong-- science agrees with Catholics. How long have you been an athesist? Were your parents non believers too? Do you believe in life after death? Do you believe you have a spirit and soul? Do you believe you are on the same level as other animals and reptiles? Do you have enough faith to really believe in the "big bang theory"? I have a felling that you are not a pure athesist. Have you ever been in a "fox hole"?


Article Comment kj commented at 1/25/2011 4:44:00 PM:

Makes no difference to me where it was copied from, just that it wasn't your own work and was pasted without attribution. There is no uniform "science" that can agree with catholics (a sect historically at odds with many scientific facts). Catholics may, when it suits the Pope, find themselves in agreement with established scientific fact. I've been an atheist about 20 years. My parents are not non-believers, and did me the discourtesy of subjecting me to 13 years of catholic schools. It wasn't all bad, of course; I did receive a mostly-honest education, one good enough to enable me to think for myself. I would have been better served having gotten that education without the bogus theology, though.

I don't believe in life after death.
I don't believe in spirit or soul. Identity, yes.
Humans occupy a similar, but sufficiently unique existence that differentiating ourselves from most animals and reptiles seems appropriate.
If you're referring to religious faith, then I have none on which to base a belief in the big bang theory.
I've never literally been in a fox hole, although I have gone canoeing. Perhaps that counts?


Article Comment gogetum commented at 1/25/2011 11:46:00 PM:

Thanks kj for the interesting answers to my questions. Your parents must love you very much. Too bad you can't love them as much in return.. It's possible though by becoming a child of God through Jesus His son. John 1:12- to all who believe and receive Jesus as Lord are born again as children of God. We can't truly love our brother and not love God.
I'd say the your conoe ride would count only if you were in enemy waters and dodging AK-47 rounds . Then two of your buddies in the conoe are hit with several enemy rounds and you watch them suddenly die as you try with all your strength to escape . But then you hear a 50 cal. machine gun firing and your boat is ripped in half , then you take a 50 cal round in your right knee which blows it completely off your leg and then one hits your left elbow which rips the fore arm away from your body and you see it laying in the water . So now You're bleeding to death and the boat is sinking and you know it's over! You can't do anything to save yourself so what are you to do, kj? Now that canoe ride would count, yes, kj, just as bad as literally being in a fox hole. You see, there are no true athesist in fox holes. I don't think there would be one on that canoe ride either.


Article Comment zenreaper commented at 1/26/2011 11:57:00 AM:

Why is that gogetum? Are atheists not placed in mortal danger? Are they not capable of surviving mortal peril? You see, as atheists, we understand that the human body, as well as the human mind, is an AMAZING machine, very complex, and capable of SO much more than the "religious" would like to give it credit for. Not only has it advanced to the technological point where we exist today, but is CREATED "God", to make those weaker folks feel better about themselves.

So yes, gogetum, there ARE atheists in foxholes. There are atheists EVERYWHERE. You would know this if you and your religious ilk were not so judgemental and ostrasizing of those who do not believe as you do. A lot of us are simply "undercover", saying the words, agreeing with the prayers, mainly just to get you folks to shut up about it.


Article Comment kj commented at 1/26/2011 4:03:00 PM:

"We can't truly love our brother and not love God."

What? Why not? Atheists are as capable of love as anyone.

I'm unsure of what it is about your described canoe ride that you think would make me believe in god. Worse, what would it make me likely to conclude about god other than, if he were the reason I was in that particular canoe (because god supposedly has a reason for everything), that he valued my faith in him more than he valued my healthy existence. And what sort of all-powerful all-knowing being would be so petty as to kill other people or main me for the sole purpose of having me express a hope in his own existence? I think I would value such a god as much as I would value a man who beat his wife so that she understood the consequences of disobeying him and expressed her love out of fear of the consequences for not doing so.


Article Comment gogetum commented at 1/28/2011 1:51:00 PM:

"I'm unsure of what it is about your described canoe ride that you think would make me believe in god." If you'll read my post again you'll see that I said "true atheist". If you are lucky enough to actually experience such a canoe ride, your understanding will be clear and no longer UNSURE. I thought your imagination was good enough to at least answer my question so I'll ask again , kj, since you couldn't save yourself , what would you do or say or think? The Bible(the Word of God that you probably don't believe) says , "greater love hath no MAN than this -that he would lay down his life for a friend". That's pretty close to being 'true love' , right? To die for a friend? Well , there is a greater love, kj, and that was shown when Jesus died for you, His enemy. Yes , He died for His enemies. That is the greatest love.
In the past 20 years, kj, have you ever doubted your unbelief? Have you ever thought that your Mom and Dad just might be right and you might be wrong? What if you are wrong and they are right? And there really is a place of eternal punishment called hell meant for satan and other fallen angels. Remember what you were taught back there in the 12 years of Catholic schooling? "All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved". Please do that when you are having doubts about your unbelief or even when you feel like you are the strongest atheist. Whenever and whereever you decide to wholly submit to God you can resist the devil and he will flee from you. God says, "I am a very present help in time of trouble". He won't force Himself on you, just call on Him. Then thank Him for salvation , for giving His life for you and accept His love and forgiveness. Please .


Article Comment zenreaper commented at 1/30/2011 7:06:00 AM:

gogetum, are you under the impression that no one ever did anything nice for each other, or that fellow human beings have never laid down their lives for each other until you Christians thought of it?

You claim Jesus died, "for us". But isn't it true that he died "for us" in the sense that his "death" opened up heaven, which was closed by GOD (his Dad, or more importantly HIM, per the theory of the holy trinity). So he DIED for us by overriding a "policy" of his DAD. Kinda CONVENIENT, don't you think?

Christians invented NOTHING. Every one of their beliefs and "stories" have been borrowed or slightly modified from the beliefs and stories of the THOUSANDS of religions that came before them.


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