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The Observer

US Supreme Court Strikes Down Abortion

Posted by Joshua Claycamp on

It's Tuesday, May 3 2022. I'm Joshua Claycamp. And this is a special edition of The Observer, discussing today the stunning overnight developments in the United States, with the leaked majority decision of the Supreme Court overturning the case known famously as Roe v. Wade, which was the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that effectively legislated and mandated a right to abortion within the United States.

The news dropped late last night and it dropped with a bomb. On Monday evening, may the second political broke the earth shattering story, it posted an exclusive leak of a reported majority opinion in the Dobbs V. Mississippi case, which was the case considering whether or not the initial abortion case passed in 1973, known as Roe v. Wade, which created out of whole cloth a right to abortion ought to be over ruled in the Planned Parenthood V. Casey case from 1992. The decision was made that indeed abortion was a legitimate right, and that women ought to have access to abortions in every state when abortion provider, the overturning of Roe v Wade will also overturn subsequent cases including Planned Parenthood V. Casey. In other words, the 1973 case is the case upon which the case the case of 1992 is established. And in overturning Roe v. Wade from 1973. They overturned everything. The majority opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito, and it effectively rejected in totality, both roe and all of the cases that follow there after the draft decision states.

This is Samuel, Justice Alito, Justice Samuel Alito writing the draft decision states quote, it is time to heat the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives. That is what the Constitution and the rule of law demand and my heart rejoices in that language. When such when Justice Alito says this is what the Constitution and the rule of law demand. listeners to the observer will be familiar with the podcast episode which dropped earlier today in which I discussed the rule of law and that nations are to be governed by law that even the rulers of nations themselves must be subject to law that men don't rule over the law, but that the law ought to rule over mankind within a country and within a nation. Samuel Alito, Justice Alito, his language is explicitly clear there is no ambiguity about it, there is no obstruction.

There is nothing vague, he is transparent in his meaning. And he says that the time has come in which we must live under the Constitution, and that this issue of abortion must be returned to the state houses and the legislatures where laws are passed, where legislation is debated, and where the will of the people is expressed through their elected representatives. He goes on to say this is what the Constitution and the rule of law demand and that is entirely consistent with the teaching of Scripture with this as Christians, our hearts should rejoice. There are many, many passages from this rather lengthy decision. I have read Samuel Alito, his decision, the draft decision that leaked last night, in its entirety at this point, and I'm just gonna pull out a couple of significant quotes for you. Samuel Alito, Justice Alito said that roe imposed at the time that it was passed a highly restrictive regime on the entire nation that again circumvented the will of the people and bypass the legislature's of the state houses, as well as the as well as Congress in Washington DC. He said that it imposed a highly restrictive regime on the entire nation.

He writes, quote, at the time of Roe 30 states still prohibited abortion at all stages. In the years prior to that decision. About a third of the states had liberalized their laws. But roe abruptly ended that political process, it imposed the same highly restrictive regime on the entire nation, and it effectively struck down the above Motion laws have every single state. And so here in this particular passage, what Justice Alito is referring to, is that the will of the people was slowly but gradually being expressed through the ordinary democratic process of elected representatives gathering together debating in various legislatures and various houses of Congress all across the United States. And that through that process, what was happening was there was according to Justice Alito, there a was a gradual liberalizing of those laws in order to relax restrictions around abortion. Now with this as Christians, we don't agree.

But Alito, his point is to say that there was a process in place in which the democratic principles of the country the rule of law, and that the Constitution itself was being upheld and honored, and that when the court ruled as it did in 1973, it circumvented that process. Returning to the question of the rule of law, then, returning to the question of what the Constitution actually says. Justice Alito went on to write that the Constitution makes no reference whatsoever to abortion, he writes, quote, we hold that roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision. Samuel Alito, Justice Alito goes on to say that, in fact, when the court ruled as it did in 1973, all that was accomplished was a inflaming of the debate. And then irritation of the social fabric. He writes, quote, row was egregious ly wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue. Roe and Casey have inflamed debate and deepened division, it is time to heed the Constitution, and to return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives and quote, and indeed, that is the truth of the situation.

Christians, we're never going to abide by this overreach of the court that goes back almost 50 years now. It was an arbitrarily decided decision. One of the most notable inventions that came out of this decision in 1973 was the division of pregnancy into three trimesters. The suggestion that a baby might be a baby at the third trimester, but might not be a baby at the first trimester was ludicrous and wrapped in no medical or scientific basis whatsoever. And so in legislating, as the Court did with the passage of this ruling, they served to inflame and polarize the American people. The American people were not allowed to have their voices heard through the democratic process through the election of representatives to debate and discuss these issues. And as a result, it was forced upon them. And this is what Justice Alito is referring to. It was a tyrannical regime that was forced upon the entirety of the American people. In arguing this, he looks back at the traditions the legal customs, which undergirded the sanctity of life, and prohibited abortion, from the earliest days of the Republic, all the way up until the passage of Roe in 1973. He writes, quote, the inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the nation's history, or traditions. On the contrary, Samuel Alito writes, an unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion on pain of criminal punishment persisted from the earliest days of the common law up until 1973. What Samuel Alito what Justice Alito is saying is that this ruling, the Roe v Wade ruling overturned on unbelief in his words, an unbroken tradition of upholding the sanctity of life and prohibiting abortion. It just unilaterally overturned 200 plus years of, of law and tradition Even within the United States, and he goes on to argue that elected representatives are free now to decide how abortion should be regulated, or if it shouldn't be regulated at all, he writes, quote, our nation's historical understanding of ordered Liberty does not prevent the people's elected representatives from deciding how abortion should be regulated, I'll read that again, quote, our nation's historical understanding of ordered Liberty ordered Liberty doesn't prevent the people's elected representatives from deciding how abortion should be regulated.

And so, there you have it, we have a process within the United States and therefore, we need to follow that process and that process is considered with our liberties. And he says it is consistent it is consistent with an understanding of ordered liberty, that there are some liberties, there are some priorities that take a higher precedence than others. He is clearly referencing back to the Declaration of Independence in which it was stated that there are certain rights given by God that are inalienable that cannot be taken. Among these, the writers of the Declaration of Independence stated were the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, there are ordered liberties, there are some liberties which take priority over others. I would argue that the right to life takes priority over the pursuit of happiness, we must safeguard we must protect the sanctity of life, even if it undercuts other liberties that we might enjoy. I would further argue we do not have any liberty to take the life of another and that if there's any right or any perceived value that we are pursuing, which would result in us wanting to take the life of another, this is no liberty at all. However, it is still the case that when it comes to liberties, the United States enjoys a bill of rights there are certain privileges which are guaranteed reserved to the people, there's freedom of religion, there's freedom of expression, there is freedom of due process not being subjected to double jeopardy for the same crime. And on and on. It goes within all of these things, though, what Samuel Alito with justice, as a leader was referring to, is that the process for deciding abortion, this is a process which can be addressed and adjudicated in a proper manner. And that manner is through the manner laid out within the Constitution. That is the democratic process of elections.

And all of this brings us back to the question of women. The refrain that we hear over and over again, is women's rights are under assault. And Justice Alito added in his decision that women in this case are not without political power. In effect, he is saying they are not victims. As a result of this decision. He writes, and I quote, our decision returns the issue to those legislative bodies. And it allows women on both sides of the abortion issue, to seek to affect the legislative process by influencing public opinion, lobbying, legislators, voting and even running for office. Women are not without electoral or political power and quote, and that is a powerful statement in Justice Alito is Pinyon, in which he is suggesting that when we begin to use the language of women's rights, and when we begin to say things like women's rights are under assault, this is a fallacy of logic. He says women's rights are not under assault, that women in fact, do have political and electoral power, and that they can on the on the delivery of this decision, they can begin engaging in the political process, seeking to affect change through legislative means influencing public opinion, lobbying various legislators, and even up to and including running themselves for office in order to bring about the change of laws pertaining to abortion. It is not therefore, a courts prerogative to insert itself into the political process and to legislate these so called Rights out of thin air, it is up to the normal and ordinary legislative process that is established within the Constitution and all the states constitutions. That's this last quote that really catches my eye.

As I reflect upon this, one of the things that I begin to notice is that just a matter of weeks ago, the national discourse was not concerned with women's rights. In fact, the term women's rights was largely disappearing from the national discourse in its entirety. Instead, these individuals were being referred to as birthing people, or a birthing person if you'll recall, and also they are referred to as individuals who min straight. In other words, the the moral revolution sought to strip identity from women sought to replace gender distinctions with abstractions to alter the language in order to suggest that as a result of their unique ability to give birth, we shouldn't refer to them as women, but rather, we should refer to them as birthing individuals. And this itself has disappeared overnight, with the leaked draft opinion of this Supreme Court ruling majority ruling, effectively striking down Roe v. Wade. And every Court precedent that follows, you'll notice that the national discourse instantly reverted back to an assault on women's rights. Now, language is important. And when we see that kind of shift in language, this ought to capture our attention. How is it that just a number of weeks ago, we weren't talking about women's rights, we were talking about birthing people and the rights that they had, we were talking about men, strangers and the rights that they had. But now today, suddenly, we're talking about women's rights and women's health care. Why is this and this is one of those moments where we have to step back and say, you know, the words that we use matter, and we employ words to achieve a particular desired outcome, and need Winston Churchill once said that he had sort of marshaled the entire English language and sent it into combat, sent it into battle against the Nazi regime, he sought to stir and motivate his people through the use of words.

And as we reflect upon these arguments now, taking hold, once again, in the national discourse in the United States, we cannot help but notice that the discourse is radically changing. And we have to step back and wonder, why is that? You know, as we look at the discourse, one of the things we recognize is that they're seeking to persuade public opinion in favor of abortion, having achieved abortion rights, the national conversation had therefore progressed to stripping gender and to anonymizing individuals, taking away their identity, taking away the essence of what makes them who they are men, we're no longer men, women, we're no longer women. Now, we're inviting and inventing pronouns and terms out of thin air. And in fact, when we're talking about an individual who does happen to have the biological capacity to reproduce to give birth, we don't want them to be understood as women, no, no, we want them to be understood as birthing individuals or birthing persons, whatever that might mean. And we see this dehumanizing attempt to strip gender and to strip identity, and to take away the essence of what makes a person what they are, as soon as abortion rights are revoked, that language is dropped. And now the national discourse shifts back to women's rights. So you've gone back, you've regained your gender.

Now, you used to just be a birthing person just a matter of weeks ago, but in the event that you're losing the right to have an abortion, as this is unfolding. Now, we need to give gender back to you. We need to talk about you as a woman to use pronouns and terminology that refers to you as being a woman. And the question is, why? Why is it that we're going to do that? And the answer that question is really quite interesting. This is a matter of argument within argumentation within the course of debate. And at rhetoric, we find that there are times in which we want to employ certain arguments in order to appeal to other individuals sense of pity or sense of sympathy, as a man hearing about a women's right to whatever it might be it health care or voting rights or, or anything like this, as a man hearing about an appeal to something to do with women, when I hear that term women and when it's presented and framed in such a way as to create this image that women are somehow being attacked or victimized. As a man my sympathies are naturally moved to want to come to that the rescue of that individual, when they are simply a birthing person. That's bizarre, and I'm not sure what to do with that kind of terminology. And even more bizarre when they have give been given some sort of random new pronoun that I don't recognize as Xur or Zim or what have you. I really have no idea whether or not I should feel sympathy for that individual. As soon as they begin to lose the right to abortion, the progressive agenda to continue advancing with the stripping away of essence and identity from individuals dehumanizing them, that agenda is stopped and what is started in its place is a return back to terms that will elicit sympathy elicit pity. And this is a fallacy we need to recognize this for what it is.

At first Baptist classical Academy. We teach our students various fallacies when it comes to argumentation, and one of them is argumentum ad misery accordion. And in other words, this is Latin for an argument from pity or misery. The fallacy is committed when pity, or some other related emotions such as sympathy or mercy or compassion is used in an illegitimate way to appeal to someone's emotions for the sake of getting them to accept the conclusion that is being presented. So the fallacy occurs when an individual gives a sense to a certain proposition or disagrees with a certain statement or an argument on the basis of what is an irrelevant appeal to pity. The fallacy can occur in two different ways. The first is to appeal to pity or some other related emotion, and in a way that is not relevant to the conclusion or the argument that is being made. And the second way is to appeal to pity or some other related emotion, excess excessively, where it is inflated and exaggerated where the impassioned appeal is unwarranted given the context of the argument. General, generally speaking, the first form of the ad merit misery accordion argument, the emotional appeal. The first form of this is intentionally selected by the opposition's those individuals who are making the argument in order to invoke compassion or sympathy on the part of those to whom the argument is addressed. And so as we look at the national discourse within the United States, we see that language is shifting. And this itself is fascinating, the same individuals who are arguing for the terminology to be birthing persons or administrators, so dehumanizing and so degrading to women, they have dropped all of that language in a hot New York Minute, and suddenly reverted back to terms and arguments that worked in the past. If we can see the argument for what it is if we can spot the fallacy, we can see through it, and we can counter when it comes to women's rights or Women's Health Care Center, Justice Alito, Samuel Alito has nailed the argument on the head and one of the paragraphs from his opinion, he says, women are not without power, political power. In this case, they have the ability to argue they have the ability to affect change, and they can do so through the electoral process. And then he says that is the process that they need to take up. And in making that statement, the left has responded with rage, at the use of terminology that restores dignity and restores humanity to women.

I am reminded by arguments that are presented to us in the Word of God from the Apostle Paul, the apostle Paul speaks of the fact that we have all the knowledge and an understanding of the mystery of God's gospel all of it given to us in Christ. He says, In Colossians, chapter two, verse three in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He goes on in verse four, to say that his writing this to the church at Colossae is done so that quote, no one may delude you with plausible arguments, plausible arguments. And so the issue here is an argument which sounds good, but isn't really legitimate. It is a plausible argument, it is not a legitimate argument. Paul wants to direct our focus and our attention back to Jesus Christ so that we will not be taken captive by a plausible argument, but we will only hear the truth which can only be expressed through legitimate arguments. He goes on to say in Colossians, chapter two and verse eight See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, philosophy and empty deceit. The idea here is that there is an emptiness in the rhetoric that there is there is this presentation of an argument that sounds good, that sounds plausible, but in effect, it is not legitimate. It is as he returns it a deception that when pressed upon, turns out to be empty. As these advocates of abortion are arguing they are betraying the fact that their argument is largely based on evoking sympathy it is an ad ms ms area accordion argument, and as a result, they do not have a legitimate basis for suggesting that We should enact abortion in the same way that we can say women's rights are under assault. We can also say babies rights have been under assault for the last 50 years. Sure, I am sympathetic to women and I absolutely want to protect them. But shouldn't I also be sympathetic to children and shouldn't I want to protect them?

In discussing Roe v Wade and the arguments that initially undergirded the original ruling in 1973, the sympathy argument was invoked to suggest that a woman's life could be destroyed, because she is compelled to have a child that she does not want. And that in being forced to have that child she is having certain options and opportunities close to her, such as having a career or pursuing a job or gainful employment. And then as a result of that, she will not have the same advantages and the same opportunities as men. And the suggestion was made that women in order to have equal opportunity as men, they need to be able to be as free from the constraints of delivery and birth, and having children in the same way that men are supposedly free from those constraints. So the argument went, and as we consider these arguments, we have to see that at the end of the day, this is an appeal to sympathy. Absolutely, it is a tragedy.

When a young woman can conceives a child out of wedlock, and is compelled to give birth to that child, in a broken home that lacks both a mother and a father, we agree, that is a tragedy. And if we're going to be against abortion, we have to be all in for the sake of life. We as Christians must uphold fostering and adoption, we must look to provide these things we must offer care and compassion for those who find themselves in this horrific situation of having to wrestle with whether or not to have an abortion, being pressured and confronted with this empty deceit and these plausible arguments that somehow their lives will be for ever less, and not as good as that of those who do not have children. This is a lie that must be confronted, it is an empty deceit, and we should push back against it. And as Christians, being against abortion, we should be all in on the side of life supporting things like adoption and foster care. But in saying that, when we argue, add misery accordion, that what is happening to women is tragic. The solution is not to authorize the murder of children.

You may suggest that women's rights are under assault. But the proper response is to say that baby's lives are being murdered, we can feel sympathy for those who are in this situation. And nevertheless, it does not have any bearing. It is not germane to the question of the morality of murdering children. And all of this, we have to look back to Scripture. At the end of the day, God is the one who creates life, God is the one who gives life. And with regard to the question of abortion, there are a number of political questions that this raises for us as Christians. Should governments make laws to protect the lives of preborn children? And I answer yes, indeed they should. Should preborn children be protected from the moment of conception to the moment of birth? And I answer yes, politically, in a manner that is honoring to God, they should be protected. And then it leads to other questions which are political in nature, but nevertheless, very important. What should the preborn child be called? Up until now we've been referring to it in our national discourse as a fetus. But it's truly a baby. It's truly a child from the moment of conception. And so then that leads us to the next question, what kinds of penalties should attach to the taking of the life of a child? And we must argue that children have a right to life that they are equal in that right to every other person on this earth.

Even for those individuals who don't think that governments should make laws protecting the lives of preborn children, there are other policy questions that remain should government's for example, pay for women to have abortions or to state it more honestly to murder their children? Should physicians and other health care providers who think that murdering children is morally wrong, be compelled against their will as a result of their profession as a medical doctor to perform those murders of those children? And should government policies promote or discourage murdering of children? These are all very relevant questions which brings us to the teaching of Scripture. several passages in the Bible suggests that a child who is not yet born a child who is still in his mother's womb should be thought of as a person from the moment of conception.

For example, before the birth of John the Baptist, when his mother Elizabeth was in her was in about her sixth month of pregnancy, she was visited by her relative Mary, who was to become the mother of Jesus. And Luke tells us and Luke chapter one verses 41, to 44, quote, When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy, and quote, under the influence of the Holy Spirit illusion, Elizabeth calls that preborn child in the sixth month of pregnancy, a baby. This is the same Greek word that is used for a child after it is born, the Greek word is breath, boss, baby or infant. And this is used in Luke chapter two verse 16, where Jesus is called a baby breath boss lying in a manger. Elizabeth also says that the baby leaped for joy, which attributes personal human activity to him. This baby was able to hear Mary's voice within the womb, and somehow even prior to birth was capable of feeling joyful about it. Note that modern medical research shows that preborn children can distinguish and become familiar with the voices of their mother and their father and other family members from before the time that they are born.

King David in another passage, King David sin with Bathsheba and then was rebuked by Nathan the prophet. And afterward David wrote Psalm 51, in which he pleads with God, have mercy on me, oh God, according to your steadfast love. In the midst of confessing his sin to God. David writes, quote, Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me Psalm 51, verse five, David thinks back to the time of his birth, and he says that he was brought forth from his mother's womb as a sinner. In fact, his sinfulness as a person extended back even prior to his birth, David says, For David under the direction and the inspiration of Holy Spirit, writes in Scripture, quote, in sin did my mother conceive me and quote, he's not talking about his mother's sin in any of the preceding verses, but it's talking about the depth of his own sinfulness as a human being. Therefore, in this verse, David is talking about himself. He's saying that from the moment of conception, he had a sinful nature. This means that he thought of himself as a distinct human being a distinct person, all the way from the very moment of conception, he wasn't merely part of his mother's body, he wasn't some piece of tissue. But at the moment of conception, Scripture tells us David writes that he was a distinct person, different from his mother in his personhood. And this again, goes all the way back to the point of conception.

Other passages, also written by David, perhaps the most famous Psalm 139, verse 13, you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my, in my mother's womb, and all of these things, we need to be reminded of the fact that God is the one who creates us, He is the one who forms us in the womb. And this goes to the very moment of conception, when we are but just a few cells, we are in that moment, still an image bear of the Holy God of the universe, this makes you special, this makes you unique. This is why God loves you. And this is why He sent His Son to die for you on the cross. As Christians, we must oppose abortion, and we must celebrate life, we must protect it. And we must do all that we can to help those around us who find themselves caught in tragic situations. To understand that, as tragic as their situation may be, there would be a greater tragedy that their own sorrow would only be compounded by choosing the horrific path of abortion. To this end, we rejoice in this leaked draft of the US Supreme Court decision. And we pray that God would uphold the justices as they continue to finalize this decision and be with them as they undergo intense political pressure and intimidation as they look forward to the day when this decision is released and made public and becomes the official law of the land. To that end, we praise God and we say thank you to the Lord Jesus. Thanks for listening to this special edition of the observer.

The Observer is a ministry of First Baptist Church where Christians seek to discern the news differently. For more information on First Baptist Church of Kamloops just go to first Baptist Kamloops dot o RG. Or for more information on first Baptist classical Academy, a private school where students are educated according to a Christian worldview, just go to first Baptist classical.org. We will be following this story closely in the days ahead and you can expect to hear more of this tomorrow on the observer. And I'll see you again tomorrow.

Tags: abortion, children, life, women, law, christians, birth, mother, constitution, roe, decision, roe v. wade, justice alito, preborn children