by Gail Quinn
May 6, 2005
In its Roe v. Wade decision (1973) the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide. Even after viability, when a child can likely survive if delivered, abortion must be available for "health" reasons of the mother. Roe's companion decision, Doe v. Bolton, defined health in regard to abortion to include "all factors--physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age--relevant to the well-being of the patient."
This has been the law for over 3 decades. It remains the law today.
Fast-forward to 2005, when public discussion is focused on judicial nominees and Roe v. Wade. A vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court is expected relatively soon, and abortion advocacy groups are insisting that any judicial nominee must support abortion.
NARAL Pro-Choice America announced it will spend $10 million a year "to organize and mobilize pro-choice Americans to block anti-choice Supreme Court appointments." Planned Parenthood's website uses this rallying cry: "It is imperative that we work together to ensure that judges appointed to the Supreme Court--and all other federal courts--will defend Roe and a woman's right to choose." Two years ago Kate Michelman, then NARAL's president, had already called on abortion-friendly senators to filibuster nominees who won't commit to Roe (New York Times, 6/8/03).
So, what to do? We could watch TV or read the papers, as pro-abortion groups threaten to block nominees non-supportive of Roe. We could simply lament the situation generally. That's always an option. Or we can decide to do something about it.
We can make our voices heard as loud and as clear as NARAL's. And it won't cost $10 million. In fact, it won't cost 10 cents.
The technology is at our fingertips; most of us don't have to go much further than the kitchen or the den. It's called e-mail--the powerful technology of our day. To make our voices heard, we no longer have to sit down and write a letter, find a clean sheet of paper to type or write it on, sign it, put it in an envelope, stamp it, and remember to drop it in the mail box. That was the world of our grandparents. It wasn't expensive, but it was labor intensive.
The National Committee for a Human Life Amendment, with the support of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, has launched a new campaign making it easy for Catholics and others to contact their two U.S. Senators with this message: Support for Roe v. Wade should not be used as a litmus test for judicial nominations.
Go to www.endroe.org and enter your zip code; the names of your two senators will appear. Complete the form (names & addresses are required, because Senators only pay attention to mail from constituents), and push a button saying "send this message" to my Senators. Done.
The issue is critical. The technology is a powerful tool, which we can use for good. Go directly to www.endroe.org; do not pass Go, do not collect 200 reasons for delaying. Make your voice heard.
Gail Quinn is executive director of the USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities.