Tuesday, August 1, 2017
It could be a Roman spectacle, only instead of the madding crowd cheering as Christians are fed to the lions, Arkansas' abortionists are hailing a federal judge's opinion halting certain abortion restrictions on the least and most innocent of these, the unborn. Their lives will continue to be snuffed out even before they first see the light of day. Not only is this darkness so thick it can be felt now to descend on this state's jurisprudence, but--irony of ironies--it is hailed as a bright shining light.
The beginning of wisdom may be to call things by their right names, but this ruling by a federal judge mistakes abortion for a new freedom: the freedom to kill. The ruling by Her Honor Kristine Baker kept three new anti-abortion laws from taking effect in this increasingly (un)Natural State.
Talk about unfair packaging and labeling, the Arkansas chapter of the ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union, demonstrated anything but concern for the civil liberties of babies not yet fully formed before they are condemned to death. And by dismemberment at that in this barbarous procedure.
Little Rock Planning Services (one of its doctors was listed as the plaintiff in this sad case) performed most of the abortions carried out in Arkansas over the past year. That's according to the state's Department of Health, which is responsible for keeping tabs on this grisly toll. Of the 3,207 abortions committed in the state over the past year, almost one out of five are done after five weeks of gestation.
Jerry Cox of this state's Family Council called this latest abortion of a ruling from the courts "just sad," but it's worse than sad. It's one more outrage that leaves its bloody prints for the rest of us to track. Who knows what one of these little ones might have become--perhaps a great scientist, scholar or statesman. Instead their lives are dismissed as less than worthless, and they are relegated to the ranks of unpersons. But if they're not persons, then what must they be? Just a meaningless blob, a mass of pre-cancerous cells, a nothingness to be eliminated by the kind of doctor who ignores Hippocrates' command: First do no harm.
It's enough to bring back dour old John Adams' encomium to his political rival, Alexander Hamilton, who happened to be born out of wedlock, a circumstance Mr. Adams made the most of by describing Colonel Hamilton as a "bastard brat of a Scottish peddler." But at least he knew the gentleman's name; these sacrificial lambs did not live long enough to be given a name. They have become unpersons quite literally, for they are denied personhood by those who would let the state destroy them like the useless leavings inside a petri dish who have served their purpose, if any, and may now be thrown out with the trash.
Bettina Brownstein, a lawyer who worked with the ACLU in challenging state laws that limited abortion's reach, accused the state of copying laws of our sister states, which would lead Arkansas into expensive lawsuits--as if a price could be put on priceless human life. Arkansans don't dream up these pro-life laws all by themselves, she argued, but follow the lead of life-loving citizens elsewhere. But what better models to follow when making this state's laws other than the best and brightest of lawgivers elsewhere?
Maybe that's why a great justice of the Supreme Court of the United States--Louis D. Brandeis--called the states "laboratories of democracy," free to accept the best policies pioneered elsewhere. He spoke of how a "state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country." Who else should Arkansans follow but the best and brightest of citizens elsewhere--the worst and dimmest?
What next? Will this state be accused of modeling its own constitution on the federal one, which an English statesman named William Ewart Gladstone once described as "the greatest work of man ever struck off at a given moment in time."
Speaking of the Constitution, take heart, fellow Americans. This decision will be appealed. And like other decisions, it could be overturned. Just as one was Friday before this latest ruling. Remember, just because a judge says it doesn't make it legal forever. Other judges might be heard from. Certainly We the People will be as well. For there was a time not so long ago that even this country's top federal court--the Supreme one in Washington--protected slavery, and a chief justice of the United States Supreme Court declared one kind of human beings to be unpersons:
"In the opinion of the court, the legislation and histories of the times, and the language used in the Declaration of Independence, show that neither the class of persons who had been imported as slaves, nor their descendants, whether they had become free or not, were then acknowledged as a part of the people . . . ."--Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1857.
Things change. Even if today some class of persons aren't acknowledged as a part of the people--that is, the unborn--they very well could be tomorrow.
Today, call this the American way of death. Tomorrow is another day. And perhaps another ruling.
Editorial on 08/01/2017
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