A recent special edition of TIME Magazine headlined "The Supreme Court Decisions That Changed America" makes a surprising admission for the world's most-read newsweekly: "Like abolition in the 1850s or the war in Vietnam in the 1960s, Roe v. Wade divided the U.S. into two bitterly opposed camps."
This weekend's March for Life reflects that reality, as hundreds of thousands demonstrate on behalf of pre-born lives despite winter storm conditions in Washington, DC (a storm already dubbed #SnowVWade on social media).
Roe v. Wade is the Supreme Court decision, along with its companion case Doe v. Bolton, that legalized ending a pre-born baby's life — for any reason, at any stage of development. For the past 43 years, Roe v. Wade has been the "law of the land" … as some of our congressmen have stated many times during recent hearings investigating Planned Parenthood.
The court's decision has seemed impenetrable and unbreakable — until now. Several pro-life legal challenges are currently before the nation's highest court.
Though it received little attention when filed at the Supreme Court, one legal petition makes the case against Roe v. Wade with concise and compelling logic. The petition is from the state of South Dakota: a concurrent resolution passed by the State Legislature and delivered to the Supreme Court this past fall.
The South Dakota resolution lists seven "assumed facts" of the majority decision in Roe v. Wade, assertions now disproven by evidence from social science, medicine and law:
1. Roe v. Wade assumed that "when life began" was undeterminable, that the child is not a distinct person. Today, the scientific view is that life begins at conception.
As to legal rights, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals (in the 2008 opinion Planned Parenthood v. Rounds) recognized the life in the womb as a "whole, separate, unique, living human being."
2. Next, the maligned abortion decision assumed getting an abortion is merely a mother's medical decision; in reality, it is "primarily a social question about her personal circumstances" states the South Dakota resolution which echoes many women's stories.
3. The high court also assumed: surely the woman and abortion provider would have a normal and healthy doctor-patient relationship? Yet decades of experience with dehumanizing abortion practices reveal that no such relationship exists between abortionists and their clients.
4. The fourth assumed fact is that abortion consent would be informed and voluntary. While some states mandate abortion centers disclose all of the risks of the procedure, informed consent has been the exception rather than the rule.
5. In Roe v. Wade, the court emphasized that motherhood was stressful and a burden. Whether a parent through one's own pregnancy, adoption or foster care, no one can deny parenting involves sacrifice.
Yet the court failed to take into account the loss and emotional wounding following an abortion, which research shows many women struggle with for decades. Further, because every state has enacted Safe Haven laws, the long-term costs and sacrifices of parenting can be alleviated through adoption.
6. The sixth assumed fact is that a mother carried mere "potential." However, medical science recognizes how a mother bonds with her child still in the womb, as noted by the world's leading source of health care information.
7. Finally, Roe v. Wade assumed that abortion is a safe process. Four decades later, reams of medical evidence show that abortion carries both immediate and long-term health risks for women — including increased risk of suicidal thoughts and mental health issues.
The seven fallacies above are in no way comprehensive; one could point to other ways due process was thwarted in this case, as Clark Forsythe does in his book Abuse of Discretion based on 20 years of research.
"There was no factual record on abortion or its implications [presented in Roe v. Wade]," says Forsythe. "Neither the attorneys nor the justices had any factual record on which to rely to ask or answer basic questions, like the number of abortions, the medical implications, the risks, the legal history [or] the purpose of abortion laws."
Where this Supreme Court decision has brought our nation should break our hearts — resulting in the loss of more than 58 million innocent, defenseless lives.
It does mine. And it gives me continual resolve to advocate, pray and speak out for this unjust case to be overturned.