Much has been made in recent years of man’s squandering of the earth’s natural resources. But the resource with the most potential for the betterment and sustainability of human society is neither geological nor ecological, but anthropological. Man is the ultimate resource created by God, called by Him to “subdue” the rest of His creation.
God commanded us to subdue creation, and man’s obedience to this command has been responsible for every advancement in law, medicine, politics, and art. Even conservation comes through man managing creation towards the betterment of mankind and the prosperity of the rest of creation.
Abortion, birth control, and contraception attack man’s potential to bless all creation in this and other ways. To refuse God’s blessings of children is to steal from future generations the benefits He has ordained we bequeath them. The loss of each child by that murder of abortion is the loss of immeasurable blessings which otherwise would rain down from heaven on our descendants. Perhaps that child would have been the next Jonas Salk, curing not polio, but cancer. Perhaps that child would have been the next Bach. The next Da Vinci? The next Martin Luther? The next George Washington Carver? The next Edison? Or even the next Fred Rogers?
Each of these men blessed multiple generations through those gifts God gave them. Are we not grateful their parents did not kill them? Are we not grateful they were conceived and born during a time when their societies still forbade mothers killing their unborn children?
In their 2005 book Freakonomics,119 Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner argued that the liberalization of abortion led to a significant reduction in the crime rate. Empirically, their argument was based on the observation that the crime rate in states that allowed abortion fell some fifteen years after the new legislation came into effect. Specifically, Levitt and Dubner argue that Roe v. Wade was the cause of the drop in crime rates in the early 1990s. The argument is simple and cynical: Roe v. Wade made abortions cheaper so that abortions became affordable to low-income women. Unwanted children of low-income mothers are more likely to be criminals later in life.120 Hence the benefit of Roe v. Wade is fewer criminals, fewer prison inmates, and thus a fiscal gain to society.
Apart from the fact that any correlation spanning over fifteen years is necessarily tenuous because there are a multitude of intervening factors that need to be controlled for, it is also completely inappropriate for the issue at hand. Levitt and Dubner say that “one study has shown that the typical child who went unborn in the early years of legalized abortion would have been 50 percent more likely to live in poverty” and in a single parent home.121 They do not indicate where that study was published. They go on, citing “another study [that] has shown that low maternal education is the single most powerful factor leading to criminality [of the child].”122 They don’t bother telling the reader where this study was published and by whom. Did Levitt and Dubner make it up? Maybe. We don’t know. In any case, two “studies” with no references and no explanation of data or methodology cannot be used to justify the deaths of some 750,000 human beings in the first year after Roe v. Wade.123 Far from being serious economists, Levitt and Dubner wrote a book to amuse their readers and themselves with absurd statements and they amused themselves with the deaths of millions of children.
Levitt and Dubner’s argument is also flawed because abortion occurs not only among low-income classes. They would have had to show that after Roe v. Wade, abortions occurred primarily in low-income families. Yet we know that they occur in all income groups. We also know that abortions often cause mental harm—the treatment of which must be counted against what Levitt and Dubner seem to perceive as a fiscal benefit to US society.
How then should we look at the economic implications of abortion? For every economy today, it remains true that human beings contribute the most to economic well-being. In the US, the labor share (i.e., the percentage of annual value added that accrues to workers and proprietors as compensation for their work) is around 60 percent.124 It is slightly higher on average in the twenty most important economies of the world (the G20).125 This implies that every aborted child inflicts an economic damage on the US economy in the form of lost income.
Can we estimate that damage?
We begin by noting that the average productivity of an American is annual GDP per employed person, which was $131,812126 in 2019.127 (We use data for 2019, since these are not affected by the Covid pandemic.) Next we calculate his or her average years in the workforce by multiplying Americans’ years of age by their age-specific participation rates, i.e., the percentage of Americans in that age group being in the workforce.128 Then we multiply their years in the workforce by their age-dependent productivity, assuming that Americans’ relative productivity over the life-cycle is reflected by relative weekly earnings over the life-cycle.129 Finally, we take the present value over their lifetimes; that is, we sum up their average productivity over the ages of their lifetime and discount the values after their first entry into the workforce. We assume an annual real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) interest rate of 4 percent, which is realistic for the US economy. This yields an estimate of average lifetime productivity and, therefore, an estimate of the economic loss to the US economy from aborting a child.
This number is 14.5 times the annual GDP per employed person, or $1.91 million. This is the loss of economic wealth the US economy incurs due to an abortion in 2019. Take this times the number of aborted per year, which was 629,898 in 2019 according to CDC data,130 and you have the estimated economic cost of abortion. The result is a loss of wealth due to abortions in 2019 of $1.2 trillion, roughly 1.1 percent of total household wealth in the US in 2019,131 or 5.6 percent of annual economic output in 2019. Clearly, abortion inflicts a serious economic damage on the US economy.
The discount factor obviously plays a large role in these calculations. In the above calculations, we assumed that there is no productivity growth over the lifetime of a person born today. This is clearly unrealistic in light of past evidence. Productivity growth effectively reduces the annual discount rate. If productivity grows at an average rate of 1 percent over the lifetime of the individual (conservative estimate), the relevant real interest rate falls to 3 percent and his lifetime production is 17.9 times annual production. The discounted value of an individual’s lifetime production would be $2.36 million.
Some people object to this, arguing that abortion is necessary to keep overpopulation in check. For example, Mumford and Kessel argued in 1986 that developed countries needed to maintain an abortion rate of 201 to 500 per 1,000 live births to keep their population growth rates close to 1 percent or less.132 Max Kummerow claims that opposition to abortion is today’s equivalent of the Roman Catholic Church forcing Galileo to recant his claim that the earth revolves around the sun (which, incidentally, never happened).133 Kummerow argues that abortion should be regarded as a valid instrument of keeping population growth in check, which, he proposes, is necessary to assure that mankind does not deplete Earth’s resources.
Such arguments seem plausible, but lack economic substance. Kummerow refers to the (in)famous “Meadows Report,” published as The Limits to Growth by the think tank Club of Rome in 1972, as well as its update published in 2004.134 Both reports argue that unless mankind manages to reduce population growth by all means, the current economic system will collapse. The original report predicted that collapse would occur around 2010. It also predicted that the world would run out of crude oil by that time. Neither one has happened.
Why not? Because the authors of these and similar reports are engineers who do not understand economics. The economics of resource depletion is that when resources become scarce, their prices increase and this creates incentives in a variety of directions: economizing on the use of these resources, increasing the use of recycled materials, investing in new technologies to detect and exploit resource deposits. Today, the estimated time to deplete currently known crude oil deposits at current extraction rates is about forty to fifty years from now, very similar to what the 1972 report foresaw. In the developed world, the oil intensity of economic production, measured in terms of barrels of crude oil per $1,000 of GDP, has declined by 56 percent since 1973.135 Because of the “green revolution,” the development of more productive rice plants and other grains, there is no food scarcity in principle on earth today. The world’s food supply in terms of calories per day per capita has increased by 34 percent between 1947 and 2018. Today’s level of 2,928 calories well exceeds the daily need per person of 1,800 calories calculated by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), a branch of the United Nations. Still, the FAO estimates that some 690 million people globally, or 8.9 percent of the world’s population suffer from chronic hunger today.136 But they do so because they lack access to food, not because food itself is lacking. Human greed and hatred toward other human beings are the causes of hunger. This goes right to the heart of the Christian faith: 690 million people starve from a lack of brotherly love.
Overpopulation is not the problem. In fact, given today’s state of agricultural productivity, the world could sustain a population larger by 62 percent. Even the wildest population forecasts do not foresee such an increase. Population growth rates have long been falling. To the best of our knowledge, the world’s population will reach 10 billion by 2050 and then first stagnate and finally decline.
Obviously, then, abortion is not required to keep population growth in check and prevent a global hunger crisis. Ultimately, killing a baby is the most explicit expression of denying him access to food and all other parts of the comforts of life. Call it greed and hatred, if you wish. An economic rationale for abortion simply does not exist.
In modern society, the rights of the underprivileged are top government priorities. Every good citizen will champion the unique gifts that these groups bring to society as a whole. Why does this not hold true for those being murdered in their mother’s wombs? Why does society not hear their voices too? To speak bluntly about the hypocrisy, the very voices that vociferously condemn any slightest insensitivity toward the underprivileged are the same voices that aggressively promote the continuance of our slaughter of the unborn. The same voices known for denouncing the slightest indifference toward the plight of other underrepresented ethnic, racial, or socioeconomic minorities show not the slightest concern for that most underrepresented of all minorities, the unborn.
Keep in mind that devaluing the rights of others is a slippery slope. Those protections found in the United States Constitution are predicated on God’s creation of men equal in His sight. Abortion denies this truth that is fundamental to the rule of law. Abortion disenfranchises an entire category of unrepresented across our society, consigning them to death. Our nation’s fathers in past generations declared their slaves to be worth only three-fifths of other men in representation.137 As unjust as our past laws were, though, today we have decayed to such a morally degraded state that we say the unborn are worth nothing at all. Early twentieth-century laws were enacted to prevent “deficient” people from “breeding.”138 Today, we have enacted laws denying the unborn birth itself.
How can any society that denies the rights of its unborn claim to value the rights of any other class of vulnerable persons? What madness is it that drives a society to protect a host of special people groups while decreeing the wholesale slaughter of its own children? Any society that refuses to defend its innocent and defenseless babies highlights the high hypocrisy of every other social justice it preens itself over. If unborn children are devalued, every other group is as well, and so are we all. Mother Teresa speaks truly:
America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts—a child—as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters. And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be, contingent on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign.139
Today, any discussion of man’s interaction with his fellow man in society introduces the notion of rights. This is true above all on the matter of laws, mores, and customs protecting unborn babies from being killed. For several hundred years now, Christian philosophers and theorists have recognized that God, as Creator and the Source of all political equity and liberty, has given man as the crown of His creation certain rights that flow from his identity as the crown of God’s creation and possessor of the imago Dei. Chief among these is a right to life.140
Yet a Christian must tread carefully here. In the last two hundred years here in the West, and with amazing speed in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, rights have proliferated. Almost everything is declared a right: healthcare, housing, food security, education, euthanasia—even access to the internet. Perhaps compensating for the lack of substance to such claims, people declare almost anything desired a fundamental human right. With such a plethora of rights, the meaning of human rights has depreciated socially and morally.
Thirty years ago, an American legal dictionary defined “right” fairly accurately as follows:
As a noun, and taken in the concrete sense, a power, privilege, faculty, or demand, inherent in one person and incident upon another. Rights are defined generally as “powers of free action.” And the primal rights pertaining to men are enjoyed by human beings purely as such, being grounded in personality, and existing antecedently to their recognition in positive law. But leaving the abstract moral sphere, and giving to the term juristic content, a “right” is well defined as “a capacity residing in one man of controlling, with the assent and assistance of the state, the actions of others.”141
This is a useful rendering of the meaning in several respects. First, one man’s right always implies another man’s corresponding duty. Second, not all rights are of equal importance. Third, natural rights (referred to in the definition as “primal”) exist independently of and prior to recognition in man’s law. In other words, man’s law does not create or grant such rights; man’s law can only discern and enforce them. Fourth, a man may invoke the state to vindicate his right against another man.
This meaning applies perfectly to the right to life. First, a man is obligated to avoid taking the life of another man unless justified by self-defense, just war, or the exercise of capital punishment. Second, the right to life is of paramount importance. Without life, it is impossible to exercise any other right. Third, God gives a man life, and thus a right to life that civil authorities must recognize and faithfully secure. In other words, civil authorities do not grant and cannot withdraw (unless justified) a man’s right to life. Fourth, a man can invoke the power of the state to secure his life against harm from another man.
In the formulation of the American Declaration of Independence, government is instituted to secure a man’s basic rights, including his right to life: “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. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men . . .”
We must recognize that a government itself violates the right to life when, having the ability to do so, it refuses to secure any man’s life from dangers. When civil authorities neglect their duty to protect life on a mass scale over a long period, they nearly forfeit their reason for existence. Government, because of its obligation to defend the oppressed from the predator, shares culpability when it refuses to protect the unborn. It is not simply a matter of one private individual committing harm against another private individual. Some civil authorities themselves will be judged by God for their active sin of commission in legitimating abortion as lawful; other civil authorities will be judged for their sins of omission in failing to protect vulnerable unborn lives.
The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution (ratified in 1791) protects the right to life: “No person shall be . . . deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The Fourteenth Amendment (ratified in 1868) similarly protects the right to life from deprivation by the State: “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
British common law recognized an unborn child’s right to life at quickening:
I. The right of personal security consists in a person’s legal and uninterrupted enjoyment of his life, his limbs, his body, his health, and his reputation.
- Life is the immediate gift of God, a right inherent by nature in every individual; and it begins in contemplation of law as soon as an infant is able to stir in the mother’s womb. For if a woman is quick with child, and by a potion or otherwise, killeth it in her womb; or if any one beat her, whereby the child dieth in her body, and she is delivered of a dead child; this, though not murder, was by the ancient law homicide or manslaughter. But the modern law doth not look upon this offence in quite so atrocious a light, but merely as a heinous misdemeanor.142
Medical science and knowledge advanced in the 1800s, making it impossible to cavil that life begins at any time other than at conception. These advancements also included the introduction of anesthesia and instruments to make childbirth safer and less agonizing. The American Medical Association led the effort to strengthen legal protections of the preborn through state statutes codified in the mid- to late-1800s. These protections expanded the civil authority’s criminalization of abortion to include the killing of the preborn before quickening—at any time after the moment of conception. These laws also punished the advertising and use of abortifacient drugs, which to that point had been advertised in many newspapers and kept for sale by local druggists in a wink-wink, under-the-counter manner. This progress in protection of preborn life was in keeping with the general acknowledgment that the common law had defects which needed correction.
Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, a then-respected law dictionary published in its third revision in 1914, indicates that the legal profession had modernized (in the best sense of the word) its formerly antiquated and ignorant understanding of the beginning of a preborn infant’s life. In other words, the legal profession had rejected that life began at “quickening”:
It was formerly supposed that either the child was not alive until the time of quickening, or that it had acquired some new kind of existence that it did not possess before: hence the presumption of law that dates the life of the child from that time [i.e., quickening].
The child is, in truth, alive from the first moment of conception, and, according to its age and state of development, has different modes of manifesting its life, and, during a portion of the period of gestation, by its motion. By the growth of the embryo, the womb is enlarged until it becomes of too great a size to be contained in the pelvis, it then rises to the abdomen, when the motion of the foetus is for the first time felt.
Quickening as indicating a distinct point in the existence of the foetus has no foundation in physiology: for it arises merely from the relation which the organs of gestation bear to the parts that surround them; it may take place early or late, according to the condition of these different parts, but not from any inherent vitality for the first time manifested by the foetus.143
In the latter third of the twentieth century, Griswold v. Connecticut, Roe v. Wade, and Doe v. Bolton abolished these legal protections through what one Supreme Court Justice White (dissenting in Roe v. Wade) called a “raw exercise of judicial power.” Thus judicial fiat established the mother as sole arbiter of her preborn child’s life. Ignoring over a hundred years of scientific knowledge and medical advancements, the Supreme Court’s abortion opinions were a retrograde movement back to a more primitive and barbaric (if not sophistical and self-interested) belief about the beginning of life.
Now, in 2022, in God’s kind providence the unexpected has come to pass, as a majority of the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has finally recognized what has been patently obvious to all: the penumbras of Roe were a legal fiction designed to grant the murder of children the protection of law, and such judicial inventions should not be allowed to stand as precedent. Without question, the overturning of Roe is a victory to those who have fought for years to remove this stench of legal manipulation from the books. Writing for the majority, Justice Alito speaks truly:
We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision. . . .
. . . Roe’s defenders characterize the abortion right as similar to the rights recognized in past decisions involving matters such as intimate sexual relations, contraception, and marriage, but abortion is fundamentally different, as both Roe and Casey acknowledged, because it destroys what those decisions called “fetal life” and what the law now before us describes as an “unborn human being.”
. . . Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.144
That Roe has been overturned is a victory. Yet this victory must not blind Christians to what is glaringly absent in the majority opinion of Dobbs: the recognition of the personhood of the unborn child. Omission of this was perhaps understandable in previous ages, but as has been detailed here, the last two hundred years of scientific progress and discovery has rendered this failure inexcusable. Dobbs may result in repealing some of the barbarism on blatant display for the last fifty years, but it leaves us still inferior to even our recent forefathers in recognizing the personhood bestowed by God on every human being made in His image.
This failure of the Dobbs majority is compounded by their refusal to admit the abortifacient agency of much “contraception” today. In a section of their final Dobbs opinion added since the Alito draft was leaked, the majority defend themselves against attacks of the dissenters who would accuse them of abandoning stare decisis:145
[T]he dissent suggests that our decision calls into question Griswold, Eisenstadt, Lawrence, and Obergefell. But we have stated unequivocally that “[n]othing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” We have also explained why that is so: rights regarding contraception and same-sex relationships are inherently different from the right to abortion because the latter (as we have stressed) uniquely involves what Roe and Casey termed “potential life.”146
This statement begs the questions, “What is abortion?” and “What is contraception?” Their use of these terms is equivocal. They claim Griswold has nothing to do with “abortion,” but only “contraception,” yet much that is commonly called “contraception” today has an abortifacient agency. In the 1972 Eisenstadt decision, the Supreme Court declared an unmarried person had as much right to contraception as a married person. In support of this then newly-discovered penumbra, the majority reasoned:
If the right of privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.147
The muddle of this reasoning (the fundamental right to decide whether to become pregnant with a child or whether, once pregnant, to continue carrying that child) has ascended to the Dobbs pantheon of untouchable precedent. Surely the Dobbs majority know—armed as they are with the best Ivy League pedigrees, the best law clerks, the best libraries, and briefs by the most skilled litigators—that certain contraceptive methods have abortifacient properties. Roe is gone, but chemical abortifacients will continue to do their deadly work under the faded banner of the Court’s contraception precedents.
Earlier in the opinion, Justice Alito writes:
The most striking feature of the dissent is the absence of any serious discussion of the legitimacy of the States’ interest in protecting fetal life. This is evident in the analogy that the dissent draws between the abortion right and the rights recognized in Griswold (contraception). . . . [T]he dissent’s analogy is objectionable for . . . what it reveals about the dissent’s views on the protection of what Roe called “potential life.” The exercise of the rights at issue in Griswold . . . does not destroy a “potential life,” but an abortion has that effect.
Here the majority point out that “the dissent evinces no similar regard for a State’s interest in protecting prenatal life,” adding “the viability line” upon which Roe v. Wade was based “makes no sense. It was not adequately justified in Roe, and the dissent does not even try to defend it today. Nor does it identify any other point in a pregnancy after which a State is permitted to prohibit the destruction of a fetus.”
Finally, we read this stunning declaration:
Our opinion is not based on any view about if and when prenatal life is entitled to any of the rights enjoyed after birth. The dissent, by contrast, would impose on the people a particular theory about when the rights of personhood begin. According to the dissent, the Constitution requires the States to regard a fetus as lacking even the most basic human right—to live—at least until an arbitrary point in a pregnancy has passed.148
Our justices bear the sword and thus hold the power, after the exercise of due process, to deprive a man of his life. Yet, these same justices feign to be impotent or ignorant in recognizing when a man’s life begins. Our Court, instead, should have built their opinion on the rock of personhood beginning at the moment of conception. A man enjoys a right to life from the moment of conception. It’s no theory or philosophy. It’s a simple truth that not even the Beltway and all its pomps can efface. The Court should have done its duty and recognized an unborn child’s right to life from the moment of conception.
Comments on Luke 10:30, trans. Jürgen von Hagen.↩︎
Eugene Quay, “Justifiable Abortion,” The Georgetown Law Journal, Winter 1960, 178. Quay, the founding editor of The Georgetown Law Journal, was a member of the American Law Institute whose work recommending legislative changes toward judicial reform were, at the time, being corrupted by a movement promoting the liberalization of state laws concerning abortion. “Justifiable Abortion” was his witness against this movement.↩︎
John T. Noonan, “Restoring the Protection of Life to the Constitution,” prepared statement in Constitutional Amendments Relating to Abortion: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Ninety-seventh Congress, First Session, on S.J. Res. 17, S.J. Res. 18, S.J. Res. 19, and S.J. Res. 110 (1983), 46.↩︎
(William Morrow, 2005).↩︎
See “Labour Share of GDP, Comprising Wages and Social Protection Transfers,” Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, https://w3.unece.org/SDG/en/Indicator?id=30.↩︎
All values are in US dollars.↩︎
“Level of GDP Per Capita and Productivity,” Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, https://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?DataSetCode=PDB_LV.↩︎
“Employment Status of the Civilian Noninstitutional Population by Age, Sex, and Race,” Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/cps/aa2019/cpsaat03.htm.↩︎
Katherine Kortsmit et al., “Abortion Surveillance—United States, 2019,” Surveillance Summaries 70, no. 9 (November 26, 2021): 1–29, CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/ss/ss7009a1.htm.↩︎
Credit Suisse Research Institute, Global Wealth Report 2019, 44.↩︎
S. D. Mumford and E. Kessel, “Role of Abortion in Control of Global Population Growth,” Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology 13, no. 1 (March 1986): 19–31.↩︎
Max Kummerow, “Reproductive Biology of Abortion,” The Overpopulation Project, January 13, 2019, https://overpopulation-project.com/reproductive-biology-of-abortion/.↩︎
Donella Meadows et al., The Limits to Growth (Universe Books, 1972), http://www.donellameadows.org/wp-content/userfiles/Limits-to-Growth-digital-scan-version.pdf.↩︎
Christof Rühl and Titus Erker, executive summary in “Oil Intensity: The Curiously Steady Decline of Oil in GDP,” Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA, September 9, 2021, https://www.energypolicy.columbia.edu/research/report/oil-intensity-curiously-steady-decline-oil-gdp.↩︎
FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO, The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 (Rome: FAO, 2020), ch. 1, https://www.fao.org/3/ca9692en/online/ca9692en.html#chapter-1_1.↩︎
To this point, embryos (i.e., embryos created via IVF) are transferred from one person to another under property law in the United States, denying them personhood.↩︎
Daniel Kevles, “Eugenics and Human Rights,” The BMJ 319 (August 14, 1999): 435–438, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1127045/.↩︎
Mother Teresa, “Notable and Quotable,” Wall Street Journal, February 25, 1994, A14.↩︎
Cf. John Locke, Second Treatise of Government 2.6: “The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions: for men being all the workmanship of one omnipotent, and infinitely wise maker; all the servants of one sovereign master, sent into the world by his order, and about his business; they are his property, whose workmanship they are, made to last during his, not one another’s pleasure: and being furnished with like faculties, sharing all in one community of nature, there cannot be supposed any such subordination among us, that may authorize us to destroy one another, as if we were made for one another’s uses, as the inferior ranks of creatures are for our’s. Every one, as he is bound to preserve himself, and not to quit his station wilfully, so by the like reason, when his own preservation comes not in competition, ought he, as much as he can, to preserve the rest of mankind, and may not, unless it be to do justice on an offender, take away, or impair the life, or what tends to the preservation of the life, the liberty, health, limb, or goods of another.”↩︎
Black’s Law Dictionary 1324 (6th ed. 1990). Emphasis in original.↩︎
1 William Blackstone, Commentaries 129–130.↩︎
“Quickening,” Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, vol. 3, 3rd ed. (West Publishing, 1914), 2784–2785.↩︎
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, No. 19-1392, 2022 WL 2276808, at *7 (US June 24, 2022). This quote is from pp. 5–6 of Justice Alito’s opinion published in the slip opinion in the morning on June 24, 2022, accessed June 24, 2022, https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/19-1392_6j37.pdf.↩︎
Stare decisis: “a doctrine or policy of following rules or principles laid down in previous judicial decisions unless they contravene the ordinary principles of justice.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stare%20decisis.↩︎
Dobbs, 2022 WL 2276808, at *39 (slip op. at 71).↩︎
Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 US 438, 453 (1972). Emphasis original.↩︎
Dobbs, 2022 WL 2276808, at *23 (slip op. at 37–38). Emphasis original.↩︎