Roe vs. Wade Is A Moral Issue Of What Is True Liberty
Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “I just want to make people aware of this, because I don’t think many people know. When you mock a lib “penumbras,” in the first instance, you are mocking Griswold v. Connecticut. In the second instance, you are then mocking one of your own closely-held beliefs. You’re mocking the case as if it can’t be that contraception can’t be and it was decided incorrectly.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest….
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Chris, 42 years ago today, the Supreme Court, I said in the first hour of the program, basically passed an act. This was no judicial decision. This was an act of the legislature. What say you?
Chris Ferrara: There is an element of judicial legislation in the decision. My problem with Roe obviously concerns that element of judicial legislation. But there an issue here that we can’t duck if we’re going to be conscientious opponents of what happened in Roe. The issue is this: What is liberty under the Constitution? We all demand our constitutional rights. We all talk about liberty. There’s a liberty movement in this country. The liberty movement, which is supposed to be a conservative movement, invokes constitutional liberty. We want our liberty under the constitution. Well, what is it?
The Fourteenth Amendment, like it or not, sets up the United States Constitution as a human rights charter. Relentlessly the Supreme Court has applied the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment to the states. You get the Incorporation Doctrine. But even before the Incorporation Doctrine, constitutional liberty was coming to the states at the state level via state constitutions, which were modeling themselves after the United States Constitution, which is why abortion was being legalized at the state level even before Roe.
So if we’re going to approach this through the mechanism of the Supreme Court, we have to address the question that the liberals have been addressing and giving us the wrong answer to from the beginning. What the heck is liberty? Now, liberty applies to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment. No state may deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. What is liberty? Furthermore, what is life? In Roe v. Wade, the liberal majority actually defined life for the purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment, declaring that the child in the womb is not a life for Fourteenth Amendment purposes, and furthermore defined liberty. Substantive due process was introduced here as encompassing the right to terminate a pregnancy during at least the first trimester. That trimester framework was subsequently abandoned by the Supreme Court, but the right to abortion was retained.
If we’re going to do battle with this enemy at the level of the Supreme Court jurisprudence, we have to offer a counter-definition of liberty. Life has to be defined in accordance with a moral standard. Life has to be said to include a child in the womb. That’s what the Human Life Amendment said, the pro-life movement has been trying unsuccessfully to get for so many decades is all about, amending the Constitution to make it clear that life includes the child in the womb, which ought to have been the interpretation of the Constitution from the beginning.
The problem is that the conservative wing of the court refuses to engage on the issue of what is life and what is liberty, and has been saying consistently in all of these cases, even before Roe, essentially let the people decide. As far as the conservatives are concerned, liberty and life have no constitutional meaning. They’re just dry legal terms. The liberals say, on the contrary: No, they have this meaning, our meaning. That’s the meaning that has been foisted upon us by the liberal wing of the court. The conservatives have offered feeble resistance from the very beginning. This began before Roe. It began with the sexuality cases that came before it, one after the other. For example, we have the first in this line of cases, Griswold v. Connecticut, which found the right to use contraceptives on the part of a married couple and struck down a state law that banned it, and according —
Mike: Chris, can I jump in here?
Mike: Folks, what Chris is talking about, Griswold v. Connecticut, I don’t believe, Chris, that there is a “conservative” alive out there that has not mocked and made fun of the term [mocking] “Penumbras emanating from.” That is from the decision in Griswold. You’re mocking the Griswold case, and at the same time you affirm the sanctity and preservation of contraception, which, prior to that in the United States, was verboten. I just want to make people aware of this, because I don’t think many people know. When you mock a lib “penumbras,” in the first instance, you are mocking Griswold v. Connecticut. In the second instance, you are then mocking one of your own closely-held beliefs. You’re mocking the case as if it can’t be that contraception can’t be and it was decided incorrectly, but you then go off and say, [mocking] “I don’t have any problem with women using a pill. I don’t have any problem with sterilization.” Really? But you’re pro-life?
Ferrara: Mike, that is exactly the crux of the matter. The Supreme Court in Griswold wrongly decided that the right to privacy under the Bill of Rights includes the right of a married couple to use contraceptives. The correct response of the conservative majority ought to have been not that the legislature legislates these things, let the people decide, but rather no, liberty does not include the right to use contraceptives. The State of Connecticut was quite right to prohibit their sale, period. That would have been a morally-founded decision set up in opposition to the liberal wing of the Supreme Court. Instead, from the very beginning with Griswold, the so-called conservative wing just ran from the field of battle and said: Let the people decide. Guess what? The people have decided. They decided in most states to have abortion. They’ve decided in most states, all states, that contraception is a right. Now what do you do? Where’s your moral standard? Again, the question is: What is liberty?
Then in Eisenstadt v. Baird, after Griswold v. Connecticut, the contraception decision was extended to unmarried people because the liberal majority couldn’t see a rational basis to distinguish married couples from unmarried people. The only dissenter, Justice Burger, said merely that the states have the right to regulate in this area. So, sure, we can have contraception. It has nothing to do with the Constitution. The problem is, liberals say that it does and the conservatives have no moral argument in opposition. They ought to have offered a moral argument, that the right to liberty does not include the right to use contraceptives, and the states have every right consistent with liberty and morality and the preservation of the family to ban the use of contraceptives. Liberty doesn’t embrace this new right, but instead, once again, the conservatives retreated. That’s how you get to Roe v. Wade. It simply expanded the right to privacy to include —
Mike: Chris, they’re still retreating. The bugle is still sounding.
Mike: They’re still streaming over the ramparts into the foxhole. They’re leaving the foxholes now and they’re running for the ocean.
Ferrara: Let the people decide isn’t going to cut it anymore, it never did, and it never will. Again, the people have decided. Basically the majority of Americans want abortion at least in some cases.
Mike: Of course they do. Let’s make a distinction here. I would just like to share my experience from this week, the Right to Life week, and the guests that I have had, the people I have talked to. Let me just share this with you because you probably have not heard this. I am in a unique position to view this and to cobble a little bit of opinion and actual action together and make a rather scandalous statement. Rather than scandalizing someone, although I was listening to your favorite lecture of Michael Davies. He didn’t scandalize people. He wouldn’t write their names in his early articles about the Protestant heresies or the heresies that had crept into the church, but the people he was writing about knew anyways and they complained and outed themselves. He started writing their names. He said: All right, I’ll just cite you now.
I’m not going to cite anyone’s name, but I believe I can relay to you a very clear consensus that the Right to Life people that I have spoken with this week have nearly unanimously informed me, when I have brought up Catholic moral teaching, or the teaching of Christ, when it comes to matters of life — because that’s what Catholic is — when I have brought it up, I get: Well, we can’t go there. One step at a time, Mike. It’s 42 years in and 53 million dead. What do you mean one step at a time? Again, I love my guests. I thank them. I love them all. I thank them for their time. I love their effort, their passion, everything. Either we are for truth or we’re not. We’re a bunch of cowards is what we are. Your comment?
Ferrara: Of course you’re right. What people have forgotten and how short historical memory really is is that in the Griswold case, it was a Protestant-dominated legislature in Connecticut that had enacted legislation banning the sale of contraceptives. What people have forgotten, going further back in history, is that every single Protestant denomination condemned the use of contraceptives until the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Church in 1930. Then, one by one, they fell by the wayside so that today only the Catholic Church still officially condemns contraception. If you accept the principle of contraception, that you can use a pill or a device to prevent conception of an immortal soul because you find it to be inconvenient or an untimely encumbrance of your lifestyle, how much of a reach is it to get to the right to abortion? It’s not much of a reach at all.
Mike: It’s none.
Ferrara: You’ve accepted the principle that a human being can interfere with procreation through artificial means. Many of these methods of birth control, especially the pill, have abortifacient effects. Who knows how many human beings have had their lives terminated because of the use of the pill, which can cause the loss of a pregnancy after the zygote has been created and just before implantation? There are many, many millions of deaths being caused by these pills and nobody seems to have a problem with it. At the same time, we’re standing up for the right to life, many of us in this movement, while affirming the right to contraception. It’s insane. It can’t be done.
Mike: There is the issue of clarity. Again, because I’ve been listening to Michael Davies this week, I guess he just stuck in my brain. He brings up the subject matter here and this is what we’re talking about, Chris. What we have allowed, what the conservative movement and what the pro-life movement is condoning and allowing is what Davies would call ambiguity. When you have ambiguity, no one can make a decision because they don’t know what is correct. There is one correct decision to make. Ambiguity allows that if you say this exception is acceptable, then how come his exception isn’t acceptable? Ambiguity basically obscures and removes truth from the matter. We can’t have both. We either have truth or we have ambiguity. If we have ambiguity, then save me and spare me your protestations about how morally corrupt and bankrupt we are. Well, we’re morally corrupt and bankrupt because we have ambiguity, right?
Ferrara: This is the question. When you ask, “What is liberty? What is a human life for the purposes of liberty?” you’re asking a moral question. How can we avoid this? This is a moral issue. The conservatives declined to take a moral stand, both at the level of the federal judiciary Article III courts, at the level of the Supreme Court. In fact, in every court, even at the state level, the conservatives have essentially retreated to the last ditch of legal positivism: We’ll let the people decide. Meanwhile, as I’ve said earlier in these remarks, the liberals are moralizing all over the place, telling us what liberty is, what the right to liberty is, what life is. Again and again and again we see this moralizing. The thing you can say about the liberals is, however wrongly they’ve decided these cases, diabolically wrongly, at least they recognize that they’re grappling with a moral question. Until the conservatives on the opposite side of the political spectrum on the bench and elsewhere recognize that we’re dealing with a moral issue that requires a definitive moral answer, we’re walking up a down escalator. We’re just going to keep going down.
End Mike Church Show Transcript