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Roe v. Wade and the Loose Interpretation of the Constitution

February 28, 2012

Re-Posted from Self Evident Truths blog. I can’t say it any better than Euripides, he gets all the credit. Check out his blog. 

Last week in my political ideologies class, one of my students decided to enlighten the rest of us by talking about how great the Roe v. Wade decision was. Roe v. Wade was the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision making abortion legal in all 50 states. In my student’s mind, the concept of a women’s right to privacy was only secured through the Supreme Court decision to federalize the question of abortion.

After class he wanted to press the matter, perhaps sensing that I wasn’t completely sold on the idea that Roe v. Wade was the best thing that ever happened to women. (Another student – a single mom – stayed after class as well. She happens to be a constitutional constructionist.) We talked for an hour or so, while he tried to convince the both of us that the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade was merely a question about privacy, rather than a question about abortion.

He argued that the right to privacy (whatever that means, since the concept is not clearly defined) was guaranteed by the 4th Amendment. I, on the other hand, tried to show him how the court invented a right out of thin air (abortion), then bypassed state laws to make abortion a de facto federal law. Of course he was not to be persuaded that Roe v. Wade was anything other than his narrow view of a woman’s right to privacy.

Since I have a broader (and broad-minded) audience here, let me outline what Roe v. Wade did. (Of course I’m arguing this from the conservative perspective.)

  • Roe v. Wade did indeed establish a woman’s right to privacy. It did so in the narrowest sense of the word “privacy” by allowing women in the US to be able to abort their children without running into pesky state laws which protected the life of the child.
  • The court ruling created a right to privacy whole cloth by inventing an interpretation of the 4th Amendment that hadn’t existed before. (There was no previous “right to abortion” before Roe v. Wade and such a right certainly is not embodied in the 4th Amendment.)
  • It overruled all state laws regarding abortion and assumed federal control without having to run through the process of actually passing a federal law.
  • It assumed court powers above and beyond the mandate of the Constitution, competing with Congressional authority.
  • It did so without voter mandate or congressional approval.
  • It opened the door to the abortion industry.
  • It has helped devalue the concept of life and has helped devalue children.
  • It has flatly justified the idea that a woman’s right to abortion trumps a person’s right to life.

No, I didn’t argue these points with my student. Frankly, it accomplishes nothing to argue with students who have so fully drunk the cup of leftist dogma and can no longer be taught by their teachers.

What we did talk about was the concept of strict versus loose interpretation of the Constitution. My student has only been taught the concepts of a “living” Constitution. From elementary school to college, he has never been introduced to the idea that there may be another way to interpret the Constitution. Oh sure, one of his history books may have paid lip service to the early development of the US where the first political parties to form did so over differences in the interpretation of the Constitution. However, in none of those texts are the ideals of strict interpretation espoused, in none is there a hint that there may be a different way to understand how we conduct politics.

My student has simply been kept from knowledge about how the world really works and about how important a document the Constitution really is. He lacks sufficient knowledge to understand any other interpretation of the past, except his narrow view inculcated through his school curriculum. This is the limited vision leftist dogma presents to modern students.

Without choices, real choices, allowing us to make decisions based on all available sources of information, we can never come to correct conclusions.

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