19th Century Anti-Abortion Law

[I’ve been blogging through Francis J. Beckwith’s seminal article, “The Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade, and Abortion Law.” Part 1 is called, “The Lies and Fallacies Beneath Roe v. Wade,” and Part 2, “Novel Inventions of Abortion Law.” ]

Then Beckwith further analyzes in two sections below:

A. Were Anti-Abortion Laws Meant to Protect the Unborn?

Beckwith begins, “Blackmun was wrong about the primary purpose of theanti-abortion laws. Although protecting the pregnant woman was an important purpose of these statutes, there is no doubt that their primary purpose was to protect the unborn from  harm,” (p.46).

Beckwith then quotes James S. Witherspoon’s research to show that twelve different legal commonalities between nineteenth centurty anti-abortion statutes at the state level prove this very same point: “the primary purpose of nineteenth-century antiabortion statutes was to protect the lives of unborn children is clearly shown by the terms of the statutes themselves.” Here are the twelve elements, to be understood “individually and collectively”:

  1. The laws’ punishment for attempted abortion increased if it caused the child’s death.
  2. The laws gave the same range of punishment for child-killing in an abortion as for mother-killing in an abortion.
  3. The laws called attempted abortion and other child-killing acts “manslaughter.
  4. These laws prohibited all abortions, except those necessary to save the mother’s life.
  5. These statutes called the fetus a “child.”
  6. These laws called the unborn child a “person.”
  7. These statutes categorize abortion with homicide, related offenses, and offenses against born children.
  8. The laws gave abortions severe punishments.
  9. These laws treated mother-killing abortions as “manslaughter” rather than “murder,” as they were at the common law level.
  10. The laws required that the abortion be attempted on a woman who was indeed pregnant.
  11. The laws required that the abortion be intended to “destroy the child.”
  12. The laws incriminated the woman’s participation in her own abortion.

Taken together, these commonalities prove that Justice Blackmun and the majority Court of Roe ignored the legal evidence and lied about their research.

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About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

2 Responses to 19th Century Anti-Abortion Law

  1. Pingback: Is the Unborn a 14th Amendment Person? | Your Cross on My Back

  2. Pingback: Legal Principles Have Universal Applications | Your Cross on My Back

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