SamHenry on Abortion Rights – Teaching An Old Dog New Things

Posted on October 24, 2010


The 1963 movie, The Cardinal (based on a novel of the same name) followed a young priest and his many trials on the road to becoming a Cardinal.  One of the most difficult moments in his life was when his sister was dying and the only way to save her was through an abortion (illegal at the time).

The movie stayed with me because of this issue but also because of the memorable photography that set off this story.  Image is a powerful tool.  But images of fetuses that had been aborted did not reach millions on the internet and the national discussion of  abortion and abortion rights would not reach the Supreme Court for another ten years culminating in Roe v. Wade.

My thoughts as a young college graduate tended to follow the “trendy” idea that abortion was OK.  It wasn’t a person that was being aborted – right?  Wrong.  Photography in the womb became possible and we could at last watch a fetus through its development.  We could see that even at 3 weeks, the fetus was more of a person than previously thought.

The images that finally brought this old dog around were those in the videos that are circulating widely at this moment.

These are two that are very well done and that can be mind-changing as they were for me.  I still cling to abortion for rape and medical reasons but not beyond 3 weeks.  Even this is a stretch for me now.  Here is a video of induced labor abortion:

Partial birth abortion is intolerable to contemplate and to watch.  How it can even be considered anything other than murder is beyond my ken.   It should be impossible for anyone to watch this video and not think “murder.”

And here is the memorable opening to The Cardinal.

Roe v. Wade skirted the moral issues surrounding abortion.

The Court held that a woman’s right to an abortion fell within the right to privacy (recognized in Griswold v. Connecticut) protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision gave a woman total autonomy over the pregnancy during the first trimester and defined different levels of state interest for the second and third trimesters. As a result, the laws of 46 states were affected by the Court’s ruling. [oyez.org]

Posted in: ESSAY, ETHICS, MEDICINE