Personhood: Beyond Roe and Doe
It's Not About Roe v. Wade
"The late Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Harry Andrew Blackmun, best known as the author of the Roe v Wade, was a determined advocate for the decision wrote the Court's opinion." — Harold Andrew Blackmun (November 12, 1908-March 4, 1999)
Justice Harry Blackmun
Roe v. Wade was a controversial landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. The Court decided that a right to privacy under the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion. 1 Doe v. Bolton, was another landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court overturning the abortion law of Georgia. 2 Here the Court's opinion in Doe v. Bolton stated that a woman may obtain an abortion after viability, if necessary to protect her health. Both Supreme Court decisions were released on January 22, 1973. Sitting United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed to the Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton and is the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, after Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Here are her comments regarding the United States Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision: "Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of." 3 Eliminating minority populations is what abortion is all about. However, overturning Roe v. Wade is not an effort supported by Black America.
It's Not About Roe v. Wade
(Part 1 of 3) · "In a passionate letter, published in Ms. Magazine and distributed in leaflets all around the country, Donna Brazile, Byllye Avery, Shirley Chisholm, Julianne Malveaux, Jewell Jackson McCabe, Eleanor Holmes Norton, C. Delores Tucker all pleaded for understanding and conversation around the subject of abortion. They wrote: We understand why African-American women risked their lives then and why they seek safe, legal abortion now. It's been a matter of survival …" — Latoya Peterson, "Blacks and Roe v. Wade, The Root, Posted: January 21st, 2010 (http://wapo.st/7ey0fY)
2003 Roe v. Wade Rally
Since 1973 we have suffered the death of over 55 million babies, over 20 million of those Black American and counting. Black America is the abortion industries #1 target and #1 customer. 4 As Black American's we abort our children at such staggering rates that our future is at risk. Black American's consistently and with no end in sight, elect abortion supporters at every level of government. Black American's overwhelmingly support our President who is willing to shut down the entire government to protect the funding of Planned Parenthood (the largest abortion provider in the country) with tax-payer dollars and stand ready to reelect him in 2012. It is Black America's support for Roe v. Wade that lends Planned Parenthood an illegitimate air of credibility as an organization that understands and meets the needs of minority women facing a difficult decision. This is the reason why it is so hard to defund Planned Parenthood. Any politician who votes to defund Planned Parenthood will be viewed as racist and misogynistic and in turn face serious reelection issues. So why doesn't Black America support the efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court decision that's easily one of the worst decisions the Court has ever made? 5
It's Not About Roe v. Wade
(Part 2 of 3) · "… Hunger and homelessness. Inadequate housing and income to properly provide for themselves and their children. Family instability. Rape. Incest. Abuse. Too young, too old, too sick, too tired. Emotional, physical, mental, economic, social …" — Latoya Peterson, "Blacks and Roe v. Wade, The Root, Posted: January 21st, 2010 (http://wapo.st/7ey0fY)
Today, it's been almost 155 years since the Dred Scott decision and yet America still hasn't nailed down personhood for all.
Here's the timeline:
- 1857: Dred Scott Decision.
The Supreme Court decision that held that Black Americans could not be citizens of the United States of America.
- 1860: Abraham Lincoln elected President.
The election of Abraham Lincoln, arguably the first Republican President of the United States of American, changed the game. However, even after Lincoln's victory and his now famous campaign debates and speeches that opposed the expansion of slavery in the United States, southern slave states declared secession.
- 1861-1865: American Civil War.
After a Civil War that produced about 1,030,000 casualties (3% of the United States population at that time), including about 620,000 soldier deaths (two-thirds of which were by disease) it was still necessary to adopt federal amendments to recognize the personhood of Black Americans.
- 1863: Emancipation Proclamation.
This executive order that did not make the ex-slaves, called Freedmen, citizens but (Thank God!) at least declared Black Americans a free people.
- 1865: Thirteenth Amendment.
While the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery, a legal strategy used to violently oppress Black Americans, it did not make "Freedmen" and "Freedwomen" citizens.
- 1866: Civil Rights Act.
The Civil Rights Act of 1866, was a federal law that was intended to protect the Civil Rights of Black Americans, in the wake of the American Civil War. It was enacted by Congress over the veto of Democratic President Andrew Johnson.
- 1868: Fourteenth Amendment.
The Fourteenth Amendment was a "Reconstruction Amendment" that provided a definition of citizenship that overruled the Supreme Court's 1857 Dred Scott decision by using the term person three (3) times in Section 1 alone.
- 1875: Civil Rights Act.
This Republican backed bill guaranteed that everyone, regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude, was entitled to the same treatment in "public accommodations" (i.e. inns, public conveyances on land or water, theaters, and other places of public amusement).
- 1896: Homer Plessy decision.
Homer Plessy was arrested, tried and convicted of violating one of Louisiana's racial segregation laws based on the malevolent doctrine of "Separate But Equal." Like slavery this strategy redefined the definition of personhood of Black Americans guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.
- 1954: Brown v. Board of Education Decision.
This decision dismantled racial segregation in the United States, but the Supreme Court again retreated from it's own decision by approving the far reaching Pupil Placement Laws. 6
- 1964: Civil Rights Act.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 emulated the rarely enforced Civil Rights Act of 1875. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public ("public accommodations").
- 1973: Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.
The Court decided that a right to privacy under the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment that prohibits state and local governments from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without certain steps being taken to ensure fairness, extends to a woman's decision to have the life of the child in her womb aborted through all nine months of pregnancy.
It's Not About Roe v. Wade
(Part 3 of 3) · "… the reasons for not carrying a pregnancy to term are endless and varied, personal, urgent and private. And for all these pressing reasons, African-American women once again will be among the first forced to risk their lives if abortion is made illegal." — Latoya Peterson, "Blacks and Roe v. Wade, The Root, Posted: January 21st, 2010 (http://wapo.st/7ey0fY)
In the mind of Black America, Roe v. Wade, is at best America's way of providing a "socioeconomic safety net" for the poor or those vulnerable to poverty from falling below a certain status level or deeper into a tax-payer padded pit that's both legal and my right to choose when I can't see my way out of a bad situation. At worst Roe v. Wade is just the latest weapon America is using to oppress the personhood of communities of color for her own personal profit. The bottom line is Black America has no faith in America and no hope of ever participating in the American Dream. Roe v. Wade can be overturned today and Black America, Planned Parenthood's #1 target and #1 customer, will still struggle with a perpetual pain and an incurable wound which refuses to be healed. Black America, which in addition to having the highest abortion rates in the country, also has the highest STD rates, the highest percentage of unwed mothers and the highest percentage of unemployed, is like Jeremiah (Jeremiah 15:18), asking God "wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail?" 7
It's Not About Roe v. Wade
"The Negro cannot win … if he is willing to sell the future of his children for his personal and immediate comfort and safety." — Martin Luther King, Jr. ("The Living King", Ebony, Vol. 41, No. 3, January 1986, Page 63.)
Black America cares more about "Equality" and "Justice" than about overturning Roe v. Wade. Because "nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care," we care more about being included in the best-known sentence in the English language, ("We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.") than we do about overturning Roe v. Wade. Because the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land, the framework for the organization of our government and the final arbiter in the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States, we care more about installing a definition of personhood that applies to everyone regardless of the means by which they were procreated, method of reproduction, age, race, sex, gender, physical well-being, function, or condition of physical or mental dependency and/or disability or previous condition of servitude than we do about overturning Roe v. Wade. It's not about overturning Roe v. Wade. It's about people. It's about helping hurting people. So shouldn't we, as the Body of Christ, leave the results to God, give Him the glory for the great things He has done and work together to help hurting people?
Brothers, we really need to talk.
1. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1972). Findlaw.com. Retrieved 2007-01-26. It should be noted that Roe herself opposes Roe. In 1995, Norma L. McCorvey revealed that she became pro-life and is now a vocal opponent to abortion.
2. Sandra Cano, a 22-year-old mother of three who was nine weeks pregnant at the time the lawsuit was filed, describes herself as pro-life and claims her attorney, Margie Pitts Hames, lied to her in order to have a plaintiff. (White, Gayle. "Roe v. Wade Role Just a Page in Rocky Life Story").
3. "The Place of Women on the Court", The New York Times, July 12, 2009, Emily Bazelon (http://bit.ly/eRam4I).
4. "Racial Targeting and Population Control", Mark Crutcher, President, Life Dynamics Incorporated. "The numbers make it clear that the African-American and Hispanic communities have been targeted and logic makes it clear that this did not happen coincidentally or unintentionally." (http://bit.ly/nFyUrU).
5. "Seven Supreme Court Decision", Conflict of Interest, Walter B. Hoye II (http://bit.ly/kjmo2J).
6. "Report on the Commission of Education". 1959. (http://bit.ly/tMtKQ5), Heinemann, Ronald L. (1962). Harry Byrd of Virginia, p. 350. University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville, Virginia.
7. Jeremiah 15:18 (KJV): "Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuses to be healed? Will you be altogether unto me as a deceitful brook, and as waters that fail?"