Abuse of Discretion

By Clarke D. Forsythe

Encounter Books, 2013

496 pages, $27.99

To order: encounterbooks.com

 

This must-read book by Clarke D. Forsythe, the senior counsel at Americans United for Life, is perhaps the saddest whodunit story ever written, since it deals with the 1973 Supreme Court abortion decisions of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.

We continue to live with the appalling aftermath of those decisions, including the deaths of tens of millions of innocent unborn children.

And it did not have to happen. Who are the villains responsible for our ongoing holocaust? The author fingers a number of people and events. An important milestone was the marketing of the birth-control pill in 1961, which created an expectation that women could control reproduction and a demand for backup measures for the inevitable failures. Another major player was eugenics and population control, funded and promoted by the Rockefeller Foundation and (of course) Planned Parenthood.

However, while the author describes all the various influences that prepared the way for this deadly decision, in the last case, it was the Supreme Court, ably abetted by the Catholic Justice William Brennan, that bears the onus for introducing abortion on demand, a decision that the American people were as a whole not clamoring for.

Forsythe asks all the crucial questions surrounding that decision: "1. Why did the justices not leave the issue to the states and local public-health officials? 2. Why did the justices expand the right beyond viability? 3. Why did the justices expand the right beyond what the public supported? 4. Why did the justices stake out a broader position than almost any nation in the world?"

Then he does his impressive best to provide the answers through a recreation of the time, the place, the arguments, the assumptions, the politicking, the infighting, the misunderstandings, the misinterpretations, the misappropriated science and the misapplied law that gave birth to Roe and Doe.

But neither Forsythe nor, I trust, you, dear reader, have given up the fight for a truly post-Roe-and-Doe world — that is, a world in which Roe and Doe, together with the disordered mentality and transposed values that supported them and were propagated by them, are no more.

The author concludes his definitive account by concluding that at the heart of Roe is not the Constitution, nor values rooted in American history and culture, but a short-sighted view of America and human liberty.

Despite the heavy imposition of a nationwide judicial edict proclaiming abortion to be a "fundamental right" for 40 years, millions of Americans have rejected that impoverished view of the human spirit by supporting pro-life efforts. That life-supporting view provides a more solid formation for human flourishing in our democratic country than the transient impulses upon which the justices erected a legal guillotine in Roe v. Wade.

We shall overcome!

Father C. J. McCloskey is a

fellow at the Faith

and Reason Institute

in Washington.