The abortion industry and its advocates have long held that a woman’s right to privacy contains within it the “right” to end her pregnancy by killing her undelivered child (abortion). It’s an argument that doesn’t hold water but is still being used today in the aftermath of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Just as the right to bodily autonomy doesn’t include the right to cause harm to another person’s body, a right to privacy does not and should not protect injustices perpetrated against innocent human beings.
How a marital right to privacy gave way to legalized abortion
In 1965, the U.S. Supreme Court found in the case of Griswold v. Connecticut that the Constitution protects marital privacy against state restrictions on the use of birth control. The Court explained that while there is no explicit right to privacy in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights establishes the right to privacy through several amendments that create a zone of privacy into which the government can not interfere. It ruled that the First, Third, Fourth, and Ninth Amendments combined create the right to privacy within marriage. In addition, Connecticut had outlawed the use of contraception, which Planned Parenthood’s Estelle Griswold believed to conflict with the 14th Amendment, which says, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny any person the equal protection of the laws.” The Court ruled that Connecticut’s law prohibiting the use of birth control conflicted with the right to privacy within a marriage.
This case established a constitutional right to privacy regarding birth control decisions in a marriage, but it opened the door for the legalization of birth control for unmarried individuals, and eventually abortion. In 1972, birth control was legalized for non-married individuals in the Supreme Court case of Eisenstadt v. Baird after the plaintiff argued that allowing married couples to use birth control but not allowing unmarried people to do so was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Then in 1973, the right to privacy was used to legalize abortion in Roe v. Wade when the Supreme Court ruled that banning or even restricting abortion would violate the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
A right to privacy can never be used to justify abuses
The right to privacy, the Supreme Court determined, allowed a woman to undergo an abortion as a Constitutional right. However, nearly 50 years later, the Court determined that the Constitution holds no such right.
As Edward Lazarus, a former law clerk to the author of Roe, Justice Harry Blackmun, said, “What, exactly, is the problem with Roe? The problem, I believe, is that it has little connection to the Constitutional right it purportedly interpreted. A constitutional right to privacy broad enough to include abortion has no meaningful foundation in constitutional text, history, or precedent.” And this is essentially what Justice Samuel Alito also wrote in his June majority opinion overturning Roe in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
In addition, the Fourth Amendment provides a “right of the people to be secure in their houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” But this doesn’t clearly offer a right to an abortion.
While abortion and contraception are often put under the same “reproductive rights” umbrella, they are vastly different. One allows the prevention of the creation of new life while the other allows the destruction of a newly created life.
This broad definition of a right to privacy upon which Roe was built is wide enough to allow child abuse and neglect, spousal abuse (including rape), the possession of child pornography, and other horrific crimes that occur behind locked doors. Abortion intentionally causes the death of a living human being and therefore should never have been justified under a right to privacy — just as none of these other abuses should ever be.
As explained by Susan E. Wills, Esq., the right to privacy in marriage, contraception, and raising children, does not, as Blackmun tried to prove, allow for a right to abortion. She states, “Certainly marriage, and building and raising a family are fundamental aspects of human life that predate human laws and nations. They are implicit in the concept of liberty and the pursuit of happiness, though even these rights are subject to state limitation, such as laws against bigamy, incest, and child abuse and neglect.”
“But,” she continued, “abortion does not fit neatly among these spheres of privacy. It negates them. Abortion is not akin to childrearing; it’s child destruction. A pregnant woman’s right to abort nullifies the right to procreate upheld in “Skinner.” [Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel. Williamson found procreation to be a fundamental right.] He no longer has a right to bring children into the world, but only a right to fertilize an ovum, which his mate can then destroy without his knowledge or consent.”
The Constitution protects preborn humans
While the Constitution and Bill of Rights don’t actually include a right to abortion, they do include protection for all persons —and at the time they were written, persons would include preborn humans because “persons” and “human beings” were (and should still be considered) interchangeable synonyms. The 14th Amendment states, “…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny any person the equal protection of the laws.” (emphasis added)
The living person from the moment of fertilization should be protected by the law and afforded her right to life. The right to privacy was wrongly expanded to include the right to kill — an atrocity and injustice that is finally being rectified. Overturning Roe v. Wade was just the first step, now the government must restore the right to life and Constitutional protections for all human beings.
“Like” Live Action News on Facebook for more pro-life news and commentary!