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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Utopia

January 30, 2012

My wife was four months pregnant with the first of our two sons when the infamous Roe vs. Wade ruling was announced. Overnight, the world changed. On the 21st of January 1973, she had no legal right to do anything but carry him to term. The following day, January 22nd, the United States Supreme Court handed her the power of life and death. Had she been so inclined, she could have snuffed out his life — and the life of his younger brother two years later — and I would have had absolutely no legal say in the matter.

Today, we cannot imagine what life would have been without them, even with all the challenges that inevitably come with raising children, and now we are blessed with grandchildren. But it did not have to be so. At a crucial moment in their lives, the women who bore our grandchildren also had to make the decision to grant life or bestow death. We thank God they chose life, but in fifty million cases over the last 39 years, that was not the choice, and the heartbreak that has resulted is almost beyond calculation.

Seven men on the U.S. Supreme Court gave this power to American women, a power many are discovering they should never have had. With the sweep of their pens, these men cast a vote for death on a scale that dwarfs most of the atrocities of the 20th century. The decision has been compared to the Nazi Holocaust. In many ways, it is worse, both because of its scale and because of its voluntary nature.

Roe was supposed to create an atmosphere where every child was a wanted child. However, the reality never matched the theory. The notion of "unwanted" children was a lie from the beginning, for even though the number of abortions performed each year is staggering, it has always been outpaced by the number of parents desiring to adopt babies.

Instead of becoming the liberating event utopian feminists touted it to be, Roe became an albatross around the necks of millions upon countless millions of sad, depressed women who bought the lie and suffered the consequences. Consider the lament of one woman, who had an abortion because her baby had been conceived as the result of a rape:

"I have confessed to God, repented for my actions, and felt forgiveness," she says, "but actions have consequences. I’ve never stopped wondering who that child was and what the now-23-year-old would be doing as an adult. These thoughts slam my conscience as strongly as a fist to the face. I wish I’d known that a temporary situation did not require a permanent solution… Even in my case of calculated rape, the trauma passed just as the pregnancy would have passed. Life would have gone on. I traded one kind of trauma for a longer-lasting one. What I do know now with hindsight is that children are completely innocent. They do not choose their parents. They do not deserve to die… Better a baby on my knee (or an adoptive mother’s knee) for a few years than on my conscience forever. "

A funny thing happened on the way to Utopia. For the first time since Roe was decided, more young Americans identify themselves as pro-life than pro-choice. According to a Gallup poll in 2009, 51 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds in the United States said they were pro-life, while 45 percent called themselves pro-choice. There is a reason for this. These young people understand that fifty million members of their generation were sacrificed on the altar of radical self-indulgence. They also know that it will be they who will be tasked with changing it.

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Copyright ©2012 Doug Patton

Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself more often than not. His weekly columns are syndicated by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Readers are encouraged to email him at dpatton@cagle.comand/or to follow him on Twitter at @Doug_Patton.