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The Court also stated : ".. : The word “person' as used in the 14th Amendment, does not include the unborn."
We contend this is a gratuitous statement with only specious reasoning to back it up. It should have said, “The word person as we use it does not include the unborn."
The only logical conclusion one can draw from the court's statement is that the House and Senate and the legislatures of the several states intended by the adoption and ratification of the 14th Amendment to abolish the abortion laws of the various states. This inconsistency in the court's decision was clearly shown by Justice Rehnquist in his dissent in the Wade case.
There can be no question that the Wisconsin legislature with a law on the books declaring the destruction of an unborn child to be manslaughter in the second degree had no intention of revoking that law when it ratified the 14th Amendment.
Independent of the abortion laws Wisconsin has also shown its concern for the unborn child in its welfare laws. Sec. 46.03 (7) of the Wisconsin Statutes on Children and Youth imposes on the State Department of Health and Social Services the following duty :
“(b) When notified of the birth or crpected birth of a child born or likely to be born out of wedlock, see to it (through advice and assistance to the mother or independently) that the interests of the child are safeguarded, that steps are taken to establish its paternity and that there is secured for the child (as near as possible) the care, support and education that would be given if legitimate." (italics supplied)
This statute indicates a clear obligation of the state to safeguard the life of an unborn illegitimate child, and not aid or abet the extermination of the child. And that duty is not any recent innovation, but is traceable all the way back to the time Wisconsin was a part of Michigan territory (See Laws of Michigan, 1833, “Support and Maintenance of Illegitimate Children", Sec. 1, pp. 335, 336).
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has also protected the unborn child.
In Kwaterski v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 34 Wis. 2d 14, (1966) the court held that "a viable infant who receives an injury and by reason thereof is stillborn is a "person" within the meaning of sec. 331.03 of the Wisconsin Statutes (later 895.03 of Stats), so as to give rise to a wrongful-death action by the parents of the stillborn infant.” The court further stated in that same case that it did not decide what the law would be in the case of a non-viable unborn child, but its language indicated that it would probably hold the same in such a case because the court quoted favorably in its decision from Puhl vs. Milwaukee Automobile Ins. Co., 8 Wis 2d 343 (1959).
In the Puhl case the Court stated :
"The viability theory has been chall aged as unrealistic in that it draws an arbitrary line between viability and nonviability, and fails to recognize the biological fact there is a living human being before viability. A child is no more a part of its mother before it becomes viable than it is after viability. It would be more accurate to say that the fetus from conception lives within its mother rather than as a part of her. The claim of a child injured before viability is just as meritorious as that of a child injured during the viable stage. The proof of such injury, of course, may be more difficult."
The Supreme Court decision in changing abortion from a crime to a constitutional right leaves Wisconsin and the other states in a helpless position to cope with this heinous offense. Even the infamous Dred Scott decision did not deprive the states of their right to regard slavery as a serious wrong and to ban it from their jurisdictions.
The Wisconsin Constitution from its beginning banned slavery in Wisconsin (Art. 1. Sec. 2) Nine years after Wisconsin became a state with this provision in its constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court in Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857) declared that a slave was not a legal person under the U.S. Constitution and had no standing in court; and held that the United States could not even prohibit slavery in the territories. Yet this decision did not render void our Wisconsin constitutional provision banning slavery. It was still not legal to own a slave in Wisconsin despite the Supreme Court decision that a slave was not a person under the U.S. Constitution.
In fact, the Wisconsin Supreme Court had declared in 1854, prior to the Scott decision in In re Sherman M. Booth, 3 Wis. 13 (*1), 113 :
"In Virginia he may indeed be a chattel, but in Wisconsin he is a MAN."
So however abhorrent the Dred Scott decision may have been, it did not trample on the Wisconsin law and the human rights protected by it, as the Wade case has done.
The fundamental purpose of government is set forth in our Declaration of Independence :
“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. That to secure thean rights Governments are instituted among Men .
The only way the Supreme Court can square this clear statement of our founding fathers with their interpretation of the Constitution in the Wade case is to say that a man is not created until he is born; which is obvious nonsense. Is a person created weighing 842 pounds?
We submit the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade is not merely an erroneous interpretation of the U.S. Constitution but is in itself a massive assault on and rupture of the constitution.
For long before the United States existed, and should it ever depart the scene of world history, it was and will be the primary function of any government to secure Man's unalienable Right to Life.
The Wisconsin Citizens Concerned for Life petition and entreat the U.S. Senate to overcome the Supreme Court decision by proposing a Constitutional Amendment which will protect the Right to Life from its biological beginning.
There is no way to change the nature of the act of abortion, no matter when it is performed. The euphemism “terminate a pregnancy” glosses over the essence of the act of abortion which is deliberately to destroy a human life precisely because it is a human life. If this were not a human life there would be no clamor for the right of abortion.
What is life but a story of man's growth, physically, mentally and morally; to learn, to grow, to achieve, to mature, to love, to understand, and then to shed our earthly straight-jacket for an immortal life? Is any part of this life cycle less important than any other part? Who can make this determination?
Humanitarian feelings cause some people to advocate abortion, not on demand, but in cases of rape, incest or possible deformities of the child. The sentiment is understandable, but even here the right to life is still such a basic, inalienable right that no such exception can legally be made. The circumstances of conception do not change the essence of life as far as the embryo is concerned. He is still a human being and deserves his right to make his mark in the world even as all of us. With respect to deformities, we do not destroy deformed or incurable people living amongst us. The number of amputees, blind, deaf and paraplegic people in the world who cherishi their own lives testifies to the fact that “life is more than the rainment." We are reminded that John Keats was “doubly dead in that he died so young" at the age of 26. What shall we say of all the children who never had a chance to see the light of day?
The outlook is bleak for a reconciliation of the abortion issue. This is not like the usual legal matter where some degree of accommodation by opposing factions can be made. There is a basic philosophical question whether the courts or legislatures like to face it or not. It has been reiterated that we live in a pluralistic society; each person may have his own beliefs and customs; and each may go his own way. But this is only a limited truism. It can be applied to the accidentals of life, but it cannot be applied to fundamentals. We still would not permit cannibals to pitch their tents in town and practice their trade. Can a society continue to exist which does not have some basic consensus of fundamental beliefs ?
We are still living on the residuals of a civilization based on the teachings of Christ and the prophets. These still influence the behavior and conduct even of nonbelievers, culturally if not by conviction. But how long can our civilization live off the residuals of a previous civilization? Our laws will inevitably reflect our mores. Abortion on demand reflects a distinct deterioration in the regard for human life, caused by an erosion of religious and moral beliefs. This is not inevitable. People who believe in the right to life of an
unborn child can reawaken in others, now morally dormant, this same concern and thereby prevent our society from being torn asunder. Sayeth the prophet in the book of Wisdom :
“God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in destruction of the living. For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, ... For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him."
STATEMENT TO THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON ConstitUTIONAL AMENDMENTS OF THE
SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY RESPECTING THE BUCKLEY AND OTHER ANTI-ABORTION AMENDMENTS
The Lake County (Ind.) Women's Council asks to go on record as opposed to the Buckley and other anti-abortion amendments which would outlaw the Supreme Court decision confirming the legality of reproductive freedom.
The Lake County Women's Council is an organization of women drawn from over the county to work for the rights of women as equal persons before the law, and to change the attitude of society wherever women are demeaned, discriminated against, or dehumanized because they are female. We must seek to bring about a better understanding of the sexes and to encourage women to become whole persons capable of contributing in every field of endeavor for the good of themselves, their families, the state, nation, and society. We believe women are at the core of life as co-creators with Divinity and that women's needs and role in life should and must be recognized as central if society is to flourish in peace and prosperity, and avoiding social ills which begin as problems in the home when women do not have the tools and aids for discharging their responsibilities.
The anti-abortion amendments proposed by the cardinals and bishops of the Roman Catholic church would have the effect of making a tenet of their religion the law of the land for all women of the United States. This would breach the first amendment to the constitution which holds that freedom of religion is to be preserved and that there be no establishment of any religion.
This breach would open the way for other injuries and damage to the Bill of Rights and Constitution which we need not go into here except to indicate we are aware of the danger.
The anti-abortion measures also contravene civil rights laws protecting the right of privacy and individuality of citizens. Family planning (which one of the measures would also eliminate) and the “last resort" method for control of reproduction must be allowed if the rights of citizens who are women are to be respected.
We believe that women should have the right to control their own bodies and that they can be trusted to be the kind of mothers a superior civilization requires. Allowing abortion does not mean that these rights will be abused. In time all women will become educated to know how to plan their families without resort to abortion. But it should be available in emergency situations.
Statistics available from organizations and agencies working directly with abortion indicate that most abortions now performed take place within the first trimester and under safe medical supervision.
The heaviest argument for legalized abortion and against the Buckley and similar amendments is that denying the right would not end abortion practices. Denial of the right would only mean a return to the days before it became legal when thousands of women died every year through abortions performed by illegal, “butcher" operations. Wealthy women have always had acress to abortion; it is poor women who have had to suffer most. This amendment would penalize the poor, especially, denying women the right to limit the size of their families to what they can afford and care for.
It is the family impoverished with the support of more children than the breadwinner can earn a living for which produces the greatest proportion of unwanted children. It is the unwanted children, the unloved, the neglected (because their mothers cannot give them time enough when a household mounts up duties like cooking, cleaning, laundering), who suffer disadvantagement by being barred from education and other opportunities for good development,
and who later exact their penalty from society, consciously or unconsciously.
It is these poor families of mothers unable to control or limit the size of their brood within their abilities to nurture them which spill their problems into the public sector-delinquency, police, hospitals, the courts, the prisons, institutions for defectives, cemeteries and even war. To require a woman to become a reporductive drudge which the anti-abortion amendments would compel, is to dehumanize women as mere breeding organisms.
Civilization depends far more on the intelligence and personal development of its mothers and women than on any other single factor because women are at the core of life and primary to its development. All other institutions are secondary. The child has already been marred or damaged, or well-developed and of greater potential by the time the secondary institutions and services take over in schools or other institutions. "Quality” is a term much made of these days with respect to education. We submit that "quality" people are the first requisite. And quality people can only be produced by quality mothers. A women cannot do justice to anyone else, her children, family, state or nation, unless justice is first done to herself.
We agree wholly with the statement of Fr. Carl Lezah of Chicago in the following quotation :
“As someone who has worked as a Catholic priest on the parish level, dealing directly with the Catholic laity, I cularly deplore the latest attempt by the Catholic bishops of Chicago to manipulate the political structures of our free society in the name of supposed moral principles. No system of ideology, including the finest of Roman Catholic theologians has ever established that a fetus is a human person rather than an embryonic life. For Cardinal Cody to continue to protend otherwise is an insult to intelligent and sincere people trying to struggle with an enormously sensitive human and social problem. To further attempt to drastically alter our American constitution with his proposed amendment is a denial of our fundamental American tradition of the separation of church and state. Individual women must be and will be free to make these kinds of significant decisions for themselves. This is what a free society and real morality are all about.”—Carl Lezakk
To us it appears obvious that the bishops and cardinals supporting the anti-abortion measures are not so much concerned about the "right to life” of the unborn as they are about keeping women a submerged sex for reasons that have to do with the power and aggression of the Roman Church. They most certainly are not concerned about the right to life of women. This has been demonstrated all along by the practice in Roman Catholic hospitals in cases of difficult childbirth, where only one of them may survive. The Roman Catholic practice is to kill the mother to save the baby, which very often cannot survive anyway. This is done even if the mother has a large family who are then left motherless.
The name of this practice is "mother-murder.” We have always been incensed that nothing is ever done to correct this immoral practice, which is also harmful to social well-being.
By their insistence on the Buckley and/or othed anti-abortion amendments the bishops and cardinals have made it abundantly clear that they are the enemies of women and of the development of a better society. By “manipulating thte political structures of our free society in the name of supposed moral principles” the bishops and cardinals would destroy our democracy for the authoritarian ideology of the Roman Church, which past history has shown to be fatal to the development of peoples.
We hereby go on record to uphold the Supreme Court decision confirming the right of reproductive freedom. We also go on record to maintain that the rights of women are of more importance to the well-being and future development of this nation than tenets of a foreign-based religion whose prelates are themselves uncommitted to our democracy. As officials of a foreign-based organization which claims political power as well as being a religion, the priests and prelates are in truth manipulating their own laity, who are true citizens, into subverting our democracy. We do not take kindly to this abuse of American hospitality granted to this political-religious organization which takes such advantage of our religious freedom.
We ask that the Supreme Court decision confirming reproductive freedom be supported by the Committee and by the Congress.
Donald Lynn BILLMAN, J.D.,
Columbus, Ohio, August 7, 1974. Vr. BIRCH BAYH, Chairman, Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments, l'.$. Senate, Washington, D.C. In Re-Proposed Human Life Amendment to the United States Constitution
DEAR SENATOR Bayh: Please permit me to initially convey my compliments to you for your thorough attention to the complex issue of "abortion on demand”—the manner in which you are conducting the hearings on the proposed Human Life Amendment to the United States Constitution is a credit to the Congress of this Nation. It is regrettable that so many members of the Subcommittee are conspicuous for their absence.
The subject of "abortion on demand” is perhaps one of the most controversial issues of our day and one which I felt compeled to get involved in at an early date due to my belief that this is one of the most horrendous practices followed in this Nation since slavery and the slaughter of defenseless Indians. The decision in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), which held that the unborn baby was not a "person" he was a "fetus”, has not seen its like since Dred Scott v. Sandford, which held that the Black Man was not a “person” he was a "slave"he was a "chattel", a thing subject to the capricious nature of his “master”. Today the unborn child is likewise subject to the capricious nature of his “mother"! The latter decision of the high court was reversed by 15th amend. ment and so possibly might the former decision be reduced to a bad mark against the American system of justice—as an attorney I quietly hope that the Supreme Court will reverse this disastrous decision in a subsequent case however that is not being realistic.
The basis for all individual rights is the Bill of Rights—the first 10 amend. ments—however it is the 14th amendment which championed the cause of civil liberty for “all persons" and assumed the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law, justice and reason over the fiickle nature of the human race. After 10 years of study and concern it is my opinion that this amendment—the 14th-applies to the unborn child as well as the black, the Indian and the woman! It is my belief that the amendment is clear-that "no life shall be taken without due process of law" and that “no person shall be denied equal protection of the laws"! I am not "against" abortion but am opposed to "abortion on demand"-we do not live in an Utopia and "some rain must fall” but no class of persons should be deprived of any civil rights without “due process of law"-no person should be deprived of the basic right of "life" without a showing in a court of law that he has committed a capital crime or that his existence will cause the immediate death of an otherwise innocent second person.
The survival of all civil rights and liberties is now in peril! An amendment is needed--a “Human Life Amendment"—to finish the work of the 14th amendment. The decision in Roe v. Wade et al. has punched a hole in the Bill of Rights which will, if not corrected, erode and destroy this great Nation of law guaranteeing individual liberty! It is crucial that “person” be defined—the high court has fashioned a means of circumventing the application of the basic rights of the Constitution. A political philosophy alien to the foundation of this Nation has initiated its attack upon the Constitution by launching an assault against the basis of all legal rights--the individual's right to continue in existence “the right to life". It was no mere accident that this attack was initiated by an assault upon the little unborn baby for he is the most helpless member of our society. The unborn child was chosen with care for he is the epitome of the “unpopular client” and it was felt-possibly not incorrectlythat he would find new defenders, he is a client who can neither pay us, vote for us, thank us or organize a riot.
The implications of "abortion on demand” are apparent. If this inroad upon the vitality of the Constitution goes unchecked and reversed a most powerful precedent will have been established for the proposition that an individual's life may be snuffed out at the whim of "big brother" [Orwell's 1984]. If we who believe in the Bill of Rights and true civil liberties do not rush to the defense of the unborn child we will one day soon find ourselves with a handful of "rights" as difficult to retain as a handful of sand for that right which