Pro-life activists often compare Roe vs. Wade, which dictated that a preborn baby is not a person, with the Supreme Court Case Dred Scott vs. Sanford which mandated that an African-American was not a person under the law.
Chief Justice Taney in Dred Scott vs. Sanford:
“That in the establishment of the several communities now the States of this Union, and in the formation of the Federal Government, the African was not deemed politically a person. He was regarded and owned in every State in the Union as property merely, and as such was not and could not be a party or an actor, much less a peer in any compact or form of government established by the States or the United States.”
Dred Scott vs. Sanford, 60 US 393, 481 – 482 quoted in
William M Connolly One Life:How the US Supreme CourtDeliberately Distortedthe History, Science and Lawof Abortion (Xlibris, 2002) 175
Amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court before Roe V Wade, submitted on October 1971 by a group of 220 physicians, scientists, and professors:
“In its seventh week [the preborn child] bears the familiar external features and all the internal organs of the adult… The brain in configuration is already like the adult brain and sends out impulses that coordinate the functions of other organs… The heart beats sturdily. The stomach produces digestive juices. The liver manufactures blood cells and the kidneys begin to function by extracting uric acid from the child’s blood… The muscles of the arms and body can already be set in motion. After the eighth week…everything is already present that will be found in the full-term baby.”
Motion filed in the Supreme Court of the United States, October 15, 1971 these re-: no. 70 – 18 and no. 70 – 40) Motion and Brief Amicus Curiae of Certain Physicians, Professionals and fellows of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Support of Appellees, Dennis J Horan et al., United States District Court 1971, P 19, 29 – 30
On the same day that Roe vs. Wade was decided, a lesser-known court ruling, Doe vs. Bolton, was also passed. This case pertained to another woman who lawyer said wanted an abortion. In reality, the woman, Sandra Cano, was never seeking an abortion and was tricked into signing the papers. The case resulted in a decision that said states could never restrict abortion in any way unless there was an exception for the woman’s health. However, Doe vs. Bolton defined “health” very broadly, including emotional health and the women’s age.
It seems that the Chief Justice had doubts about the validity of the case from the beginning, but because he intended to legalize abortion, he ignored them:
“In his notes to [Justice] Blackmun, [Justice] Brennan expressed doubts that “Mary Doe” actually existed and observed that because she was “apparently a resident of Georgia, she seems to lack standing to raise the rights of nonresidents…It may be best to finesse that question.”
David M. Wagner “Roe v. Wade and the Deformation of Constitutional Law” Washington Watch Quoted in:
Troy Clark, Ph.D. Abortion Every 90 Seconds: The Whole Story (Kindle, 2015)
Supreme Court Justice Warren Berger voted in favor of legalizing abortion in Roe V Wade. On the day of the ruling, the dissenting Justices claimed that striking down restrictions on abortion would lead to women having abortions in abortion clinics across the nation from an abortion industry that would spring up. Women, they said, would decide to have abortions on their own, without discussing the matter with their doctors, and then go get them. The dissenting Justices called this “abortion on demand” – meaning a woman could have an abortion on request simply because she wanted it done. Abortions, the dissenters thought, would be common. Berger, in contrast, believed after Roe abortions would be extremely rare and would only be done for serious health reasons, when doctors thought they were needed.
On the day of the Roe V Wade decision, Berger wrote:
“I do not read the Court’s holding today as having the sweeping consequences attributed to them by the dissenting Justices; the dissenting views discount the reality that the vast majority of physicians observe the standards of their profession, and act only on the basis of carefully deliberated medical judgments relating to life and health. Plainly the Court today rejects any claim that the Constitution requires abortion on demand.”
Doe vs. Bolton, 410 US 179 at 208
Quoted in: Curt Young The Least of These: What Everyone Should Know about Abortion (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1984)
Obviously, Berger turned out to be wrong – over a million abortions were soon taking place every year as women chose to have them for any reason they wanted. Doctors set up abortion facilities across the country, doing any abortion a woman requested as long as they were paid. Berger later admitted he had been wrong in his prediction.
Supreme Court Justice William Douglas defined “person” in 1972 Sierra Club vs. Morton
“The ordinary corporation is a “person” for purposes of the adjudicatory process… So it should be as respects to valleys, Alpine Meadows, rivers, lakes, estuaries, beaches, ridges, groves of trees, swampland… All forms of life will stand before the court – the pileated woodpecker as well as the coyote and bear, the lemmings as well as the trout in the stream.”
Sierra Club v. Morton, quoted in Troy Clark, Ph.D. Abortion Every 90 Seconds: The Whole Story (Kindle, 2015)
The Supreme Court has also ruled that the baby below is NOT a person and can be legally killed.