April 25, 1967 – The first law legalizing abortion was signed by Colorado Governor John Love, allowing abortions in cases in which a panel of three doctors unanimously agreed.
By Siena Hoefling
April 25, 2017
Most of us assume that abortion was introduced in Roe v. Wade. But in fact, that Supreme Court opinion was part of a liberal trend to remove protection from the unborn child, nationwide.
Mississippi quietly added a rape exception in 1966. Alabama codified a little-noticed “physical health of the mother” exception in 1954. But it was Colorado on April 25, 1967 – fifty years ago – that shocked the nation with its far-reaching and widely-publicized abortion decriminalization.
Here are the facts:
1. All of the states at one time prohibited doctor-induced abortions, except to save the life of the mother.
2. Colorado, led by population alarmist Richard Lamm, decriminalized abortion for mental health, rape, some potential birth defects, or anything considered “therapeutic” by a three-doctor panel.
3. The Colorado bill was signed fifty years ago, on April 25, 1967 – one of the first governmental acts against unborn children in America.
4. Lamm, the freshman legislator who drafted the radical, pro-abortion legislation in the state house, later admitted that his thinking on abortion was colored by overpopulation theories. “How many children can we as a nation afford?”, he asked.
5. In 1970, Lamm wrote that national parks would be overrun with people by 1985, and that Americans would lose their quality of life. So he claimed that “most demographers are agreed that either the birth rate must go down or the death rate must go up.” Fecundity was treated as a curse: “Society at large may have to discourage the raising of children,” Lamm said. As in China, he was open to governmental coercive measures to lower the birth rate and limit family size.
6. Euthanasia was also attractive to Lamm, who wrote in 1984, a decade after he was elected Colorado governor, that terminal patients and the elderly should “die and get out of the way.”
7. The Supreme Court ignored the apparent eugenics agenda of Lamm and others (such as Alan Guttmacher of Planned Parenthood and the American Eugenics Society) who influenced Colorado and others to decriminalize abortion.
8. Many claim the Supreme Court is the authority over the constitutionality of state laws. Yet, in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court relied upon the states’ failure to unequivocally protect life as the indicator of constitutionality.
9. Sarah Weddington, counsel for “Jane Roe” in Roe v. Wade, cited the unfortunate fact that the state of Texas had neglected to criminalize self-induced abortions. Rather than admit that the failure to fully implement a law does not negate the law, Weddington used this lack to prove that the unborn child is a non-person, unworthy of the Constitution’s protection.
10. The Supreme Court agreed with Weddington’s line of thinking. Justice Harry Blackmun pointed to the life-of-the-mother exception in the states as evidence that the unborn child is a pregnancy, not a person.
The Supreme Court had inverted logic. The existence of early anti-abortion laws, though flawed, indicated that the states believed the Constitution does extend its protections to the unborn. Were the child a lower form of life, or a parasitic appendage of the mother, these laws would never have existed. The child would be quite obviously a non-human without any question of rights.
It’s unfortunate that the Court paid no heed to the logic. Nor did they scrutinize the role of eugenics in the pro-abortion agenda.
The rights-denying premises of eugenics are un-American, and should have been rejected by the Court. Quite clearly, that insidious ideology is repudiated by our national assertion that “all men are created equal,” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” including the right to life. And, with regard to children, our Constitution mentions our duty toward them explicitly, in the unavoidable, governmental purpose to “secure the blessings of liberty to . . . our posterity.”
Once again, we need to rededicate ourselves to “establish[ing] justice” and conforming to the truths that are self-evident. Let’s restore the Constitution’s protections to all children – and finally do it right. And let’s bring back society’s loving care for all of our little ones, and not discard them as a curse.
(Photo and picture credits: Library of Congress and U.S. National Archives) on this day in history
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