This week, our nation commemorates the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. and the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade (“Abortion fights heating up as Roe v. Wade turns 40,” Web, Jan. 1). With the inauguration of President Obama on Monday, we have ample evidence that King’s dream has, in large measure, come true. I believe this means there is still hope.
Under a different Supreme Court ruling in 1857, Dred Scott v. Sandford, King and Mr. Obama would not even be considered citizens under our Constitution. Scott, a slave, had sued for his freedom and lost. Fortunately, this 7-2 ruling was not “settled law” and, following passage of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, is now widely regarded as one of the worst decisions ever handed down by the Supreme Court. In 1973, our Supreme Court rendered another 7-2 ruling: Roe v. Wade.
The parallels between Dred Scott v. Sandford and Roe v. Wade are striking. In the Dred Scott case, the court ruled that blacks were not “intended to be included as citizens in the Constitution and can therefore, claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to the citizens of the United States.” Similarly, in Roe v. Wade, the court ruled, “The word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn.” Yet after 40 years of Roe v. Wade and the resultant 55 million abortions, an overwhelming portion of our citizens have a sick feeling that something is terribly and morally wrong.
Just as it is difficult to imagine a time in our nation when a black person was not considered a citizen, I believe future generations will someday say, “I cannot imagine a time when an unborn child was not considered a person.” Those in agreement should join hundreds of thousands of their countrymen in the 40th annual March for Life in Washington on Friday.
JEFFREY E. KNIGHT