The Supreme Court in 1973 knew personhood could kill Roe v. Wade

Justice Harry Blackmun (1908-1999) of the U.S. Supreme Court. City of Saint Paul Communications Services / YouTube.

By Daniel John Sobieski, American Thinker

I have often said that said that if ultrasound pictures of the unborn had been available in 1973, the Roe v. Wade decision would have been quite different. It is hard to talk about “lumps of tissue” and “collections of cells” when one can actually see a leg kicking, a hand reaching, a mouth sucking. Or listening to a heartbeat.

Since then, four decades of medical advances have changed the meaning of the word “viable” when applied to the unborn. They should also have changed the meaning of the word “human.” Consider the case of the world’s tiniest baby born recently weighing just over eight ounces. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution recently reported:

The world’s tiniest surviving baby, weighing just 8.6 ounces when she was born in December, went home this month as a healthy 5-pound infant.

The baby, nicknamed Saybie by medical staffers at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital in San Diego, was born there at just over 23 weeks’ gestation. Her mother had developed preeclampsia, and doctors decided to perform an emergency cesarean section, according to hospital officials

Saybie, separated from her mother’s body, now enjoys the full constitutional protections of personhood. If her mother had not developed her condition, Saybie could have been legally aborted. The question must be answered of when Saybie became a human being. Our humanity and human rights should not be dependent on technology. Pro-abortion advocates are unwilling or unable to define either when life begins or by what mysterious process merely passing through the birth canal bestows humanity and human rights upon us.

This is why Democrats are apoplectic about bills banning abortion when a heartbeat is detected. They fear such bills as attempts to “roll back” Roe v. Wade. If the Supreme Court ever rules that such bans are constitutional, Roe v. Wade is dead, repealed by the establishment of personhood.

Supreme Court justice Harry Blackmun feared such an eventuality in writing the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade:

“We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.” [p. 160]

Man’s knowledge has developed in the last four decades to the point where life-saving procedures can be performed on the unborn. We are now at the point where that question of when human life can and must be answered, as Justice Blackmun feared it would be one day, ending Roe:

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