The abortion question seems to have reached an unfortunate standoff. Just as the federal judiciary has seen fit to allow more scope for pro-life legislation, it would appear that public opinion, registered in the election returns (as interpreted), has turned against the pro-life position. If it is true that Americans are more pro-abortion now than they were before Roe v. Wade, then among other things this indicates how a corrupt government corrupts its people.
I have a modest proposal to help any governor or state legislator out of the ticklish position they are in as a result of having a controversial issue thrown back in their laps. I offer it freely. Were I governor of a sovereign state, I would do what I should have done all along. I would declare that Roe v. Wade was an illegal, unconstitutional, usurpative, and nonbinding decision. Therefore, the laws of my state in regard to abortion are still in force as written and on the books of 1973. There is no need for new legislation, unless the people, through their representatives, choose.
The only problem with this is that some states—I do not know how many—have doubtless changed their laws since 1973 to conform to Roe v. Wade. This in itself shows how far we have fallen from any proper conceptions of democracy, constitutional government, and the high and sovereign lawmaking power. States, on this and other questions, tamely pass the laws they are told by unelected authorities to pass, which is not lawmaking at all and not constitutional government, but pretty similar to what happens in the Supreme Soviet.
My own opinion is that the public hesitancy before endorsement of an unequivocal pro-life position does not reflect an approval of or a preference for abortion as a moral position or social policy. What it reflects is a suspicion of government. The “prochoice” position that no one has any business interfering with a woman’s private decision in regard to her body is intellectually and morally nonsense. The community clearly has an interest in life, which is why we have laws against prostitution and murder and why we permit the government to conscript men to die for the country.
But, in my opinion, the people recognize that the state apparatus, especially the federal government, is not the community but is an alien, selfinterested force. Therefore, they are quite reasonably suspicious of that authority thrusting itself into the most intimate private affairs. The main problem of our age is the overweening state, an even greater problem than the moral decay represented by “prochoice.”
As outrageous as it will doubtless seem to our global democrats to say so, the American constitutional system was primarily a creation of Protestant Christianity. Neither the liberal minority nor the Catholic minority can govern on this question. The only viable solution to the abortion issue will be a return to tradition. That means, first of all, state rights. Secondly, that means that public policy will generally come down to a position which says: abortion is a moral evil that shall not be allowed except under extraordinary circumstances— rape, incest, to save the life of the mother.
I realize that this position is not morally perfect and will not satisfy my pro-life friends. But I do not know of any law that is morally perfect. The purpose of law is to govern the daily affairs of men in as close an approximation of a moral order as we can manage in a flawed world.