Approximately, thirty-four million voters between the ages of 18 and 47 have been deprived of their right to vote in the upcoming US presidential election. They are not felons, though now this is frequently not a reason to be denied the right to vote. In fact, they are universally considered innocent of any act or condition that would disqualify them from casting a vote. The reason they will not be able to vote in this year’s national election is that they were denied the right to life. Yet, were it not for the decision of the Supreme Court in 1973 there could be approximately 34,000,000 additional voters in this election. Of course, there is no way to know how any of those suppressed voters would choose to exercise their right to vote.
This was brought to mind recently after recalling the thoughts of the late Christopher Hitchens in his memoir “Hitch 22”. When Mr. Hitchens was a young man he learned his mother had aborted a pregnancy not long before her becoming pregnant with him. This knowledge had a profound effect on Hitchens’ attitude regarding abortion. He understood the existential contingency of his own life as a ‘choice’ made by his mother.
Mr. Hitchens never came to fully supporting an unborn child’s right to life. But in his memoir he evinced a human honesty about abortion’s reality even as an atheist/humanist he intellectually squirmed under the moral claims of innocent human life.
Some believe this election may provide hope for amelioration of the unjust decision of the Supreme Court in 1973, especially now that Justice Amy Coney Barrett is on the bench. However, the attitudes of people of the United States of America have profoundly changed since these words from the Declaration of Independence were written:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that 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.
The unmooring of our national foundations from the moral first principles of the Judeo-Christian tradition is but another strident assertion of a ‘NO’ in the long progress of the escalating ‘YES’ and ‘NO’ to God’s revelation of himself 2,000 years ago in the god-forsaken outback of the Roman Empire. A revelation that began in the womb of a young girl who quietly said ‘yes’.