Something died in America 42 years ago today. That’s when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its 1973 edict, Roe v. Wade, forcing all 50 states to almost completely legalize abortion on demand – even those states that already had legalized it. About 57 million babies have been killed since.

But something more died: Maybe the country itself. After all, what good is a government if it won’t let its own people protect their babies?

Even more important than any single decision is the overall system of justice in a society. So as important as the 57 million dead babies are, more important is that Roe aborted the whole system of justice in the country. Under the flimsiest of pretexts, seven old barrators completely changed the basis on which our society had existed not just since Christianity raised the value of unborn life, but since the ancient pagan discovery of natural law.

The pagans, of course, allowed abortion in most cases, or allowed the family to decide such things. Hippocrates’ oath against abortion guided doctors, not everybody. And the ancients couldn’t have had our modern knowledge of embryology – how, from conception, a baby’s DNA is set.

As Russell Kirk wrote:

“The most important early treatise on natural law is Cicero’s De Re Publica. The Ciceronian understanding of natural law, which still exercises strong influence, was well expressed in the nineteenth century by Froude: ‘Our human laws are but the copies, more or less imperfect, of the eternal laws so far as we can read them, and either succeed and promote our welfare, or fail and bring confusion and disaster, according as the legislator’s insight has detected the true principle, or has been distorted by ignorance or selfishness.’

“As interpreted by the Roman jurisconsult, and later by the medieval Schoolmen and Canonists – Thomas Aquinas especially – the legacy of the classical jus naturale endured with little challenge until the seventeenth century.”

In our context, the key is judges have no natural-law authority to decide whether or not abortion should be legal, only to uphold whatever has been decided by the rest of society through its own  interpretations of abortion law, specifically through legislatures. By violating this, the Supreme Court turned itself into a super-legislature – a Supreme Soviet  – deciding things no court should decide. Of course, by 1973 the court had been doing just that for decades, since the Warren Court; since FDR packed the court (which he did in the end); since Marbury v. Madison.

The natural law also stipulates that legislatures ban abortion. But that is another matter about who should decide such things, because there can be discussion on the degree of prohibition and how to enforce it.

The excuse for banning abortion bans is that a woman somehow has a “right” to get an abortionist to slaughter her child. But the whole thing was cooked up out of thin air, as was detailed in the recent book, Abuse of Discretion: the Inside Story of Roe v. Wade, by Clarke D. Forsythe. I reviewed it in Chronicles last August. The decision was based on nothing but lies commingled with bad jurisprudence. I wrote:

“Forsythe lists the ways ‘the Justices ignored several long-standing principles for good decision-making on constitutional issues’:

  • “Medical and statistical assertions that are not in the trial record but relied on by the judges—what lawyers call ‘judicial notice’—should be limited to indisputable facts.
  • “Courts should not decide constitutional questions on an incomplete or inadequate record.
  • “Courts should not formulate rules of constitutional law broader than required by the facts.
  • “Courts should not decide constitutional questions unless the question is presented with the clarity needed for effective adjudication.”

I had some other Chronicles comments on Roe here.

About the same time our Rancid Ruling Elite, as I call it, was imposing abortion on us, it was opening the border gates to “elect a new people” to improve its profits by gutting the American middle class.

In any society, elites enjoy luxury, prestige and power. In return, they’re supposed to lead their people into battle, when necessary. And they’re supposed to uphold the law – beginning with the natural law – in a reasonable manner, changing customs and mores only gradually, if at all; and only to meet new contingencies.

In competition with Europe, America has some of the worst rulers the world has seen, a gang of RRE chickenhawks dedicated to aborting us and replacing us with foreigners. Their greatest slaughter was of America herself.