Friday, 29 January 2010

Top Legal Scholar Warns Abortion Issue Can Divide a Nation

Professor Robert George     By Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D.
(NEW YORK – C-FAM)  In Washington last Saturday night, a top legal scholar from Princeton University said that the United States (U.S.) Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in 1973 led to deep societal divisions as well as to unprecedented political and religious alliances, which will be called on to lead a struggle for the “soul” of the nation once the decision is overturned.

     “Abortion and embryo-destructive research are at the heart of the divide between the nation’s major political parties,” Professor Robert George said, galvanizing support for the pro-life plank in the Republican Party while drawing disaffected Democrats to the Republican camp. In response, “Barack Obama is trying to win over religiously serious Catholics and Evangelicals,” he said, who united around the pro-life cause, “without altering in the slightest his support for abortion, including late-term and partial-birth abortions.” Obama’s recent attempt to woo religious leaders has support among some left-leaning Catholics who argue that collaboration would lead to fewer abortions, a prospect George called “delusional.”

     George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, a seat once held by US President Woodrow Wilson. George is also the Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. He delivered the lecture, entitled “Our Struggle for the Soul of our Nation,” to an international audience gathered at the Rose Dinner commemorating the thirty-seventh anniversary of the United States supreme court decision Roe v. Wade.

     In what some took as counsel to foreign jurists now reviewing their abortion laws, George said that when the American court usurped “the constitutional authority of the people” to strike down the nation’s laws, they “no doubt believed that legal abortion was a humane and enlightened policy” that would be “easily integrated into the fabric of American social and political life.” Instead, it was “an unmitigated disaster,” he argued.

     Despite what abortion advocates promised and the court believed, George instructed, the decision “has taken the lives of more than fifty million unborn victims…done immeasurable moral, psychological, and sometimes physical harm to women…corrupted physicians and nurses by turning healers into killers…undermined the moral authority of the law by its injustice…abetted irresponsible – even predatory – male sexual behavior…[and] metastasized into widespread elite support for deadly embryo experimentation and even...the horrific and grisly practice of fetal farming – the creation of human beings by cloning or other experimentation and transplantation.”

     UN human rights experts say that George’s remarks hold important political and social considerations for other nations now under pressure by UN staff and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to weaken legal protection of the unborn based upon false claims that they are necessary to uphold UN human rights agreements. They point to Colombia which liberalized its laws in 2006 subsequent to a lawsuit backed by the New York law firm Center for Reproductive Rights. Other cases include Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic which successfully fended off pressure last year from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and various NGOs to overturn their laws.

     George concluded that the 2012 U.S. presidential election “will almost certainly be the decisive one when it comes to the Supreme Court and the future of Roe v. Wade.”