Why Roe was Wrong: Part 2

By Ryan Lau | USA

Despite this readily available information presented in my first piece, a number of arguments are still present and advocate for the legalization and acceptance of abortion. One of the most frequent claims is that a fetus, rather than its own being, is rather a potential being, or just a clump of cells. First of all, one of the six classifications of life is, quite literally, to be a “clump of cells”. There is no clear empirical evidence that points out the distinction between arbitrary sizes of these clumps. From the youngest zygote to the oldest senior citizen, all humans are clumps of cells. The second and more implicit claim within the above statement, which would imply that a potential being cannot be a life, and is instead comparable to a single egg or sperm cell, is similarly not based in objective truth. The egg and sperm cells, before fertilization, are not genetically unique, but rather are products of the parent, containing parent DNA until conception. Clearly, a fetus is a living human entity, and thus, if one recognizes a fetus as equivalent to an oocyte or spermatocyte, it vastly takes away from the value of human life. If one considers a sex cell of a parent organism to be alive, why not consider a blood cell or a hair cell? They similarly share the same qualities of any other living cell, but the distinction is in the uniqueness of a fetus. A skinned knee and a haircut both take away the living qualities of human DNA, but do so in a manner which preserves the life of the species as a whole. While many in the past have likened abortion to these matters, it is fallacious at best to equate these instances to the termination of the entire fetus, which is a clear termination of a living human life.

Why is it, then, that the Roe v Wade reached a vastly different verdict? An excerpt of the majority opinion, as delivered by Justice Harry Blackmun, reads as follows: “State criminal abortion laws, like those involved here…violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which protects against state action the right to privacy, including a woman’s qualified right to terminate her pregnancy.” Three main possibilities arise from this question.

To begin with, there is the possibility that the justices simply ignored the evidence presented. This is almost indubitably not the case, as both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government heavily vet any justices selected for the Supreme Court. The President only nominates those who show immense qualifications, and even so, Congress may reject them at this point. Accordingly, such an egregious error is nearly impossible, with nine qualified judges examining the case.

Moreover, it is possible that the justices examined the evidence carefully, and decided that the life of an individual is second to another’s liberty. Though hypothetically possible, this is similarly unlikely, seeing as the entire purpose of government is to collectively restrain the actions of individuals in cases which would violate another’s rights. Our Declaration of Independence itself claims to guarantee the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, intentionally placing life at the beginning of the sequence to signify its importance.

Given that the justices did not ignore the evidence, nor act on it, the only subsequent option remaining is that information regarding human life that we now possess was simply unavailable, or at the very minimum not common knowledge, at the time of the verdict. Thus, on a purely legal standpoint, if the Supreme Court was to revisit the case today, (double jeopardy laws would not restrict a revisit, given that a plethora of previously not unearthed information is now in play) a logical evaluation based solely upon legal precedents would lead to a criminalization of the practice of abortion.