On Thursday, 23 June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) issued the opinion called “Bruen”, asserting the following:
“New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.”
On Friday, 24 June 2022, SCOTUS issued the opinion called “Dobbs”, asserting the following:
“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”
The Court decided that abortion is not a constitutional right. It is not mentioned in the constitution, the bill of rights, or in any other amendments. The right to keep and bear arms stated in the second amendment, and is therefore an enumerated right (numbered via the numbers given to constitutional amendments). The 2A right to keep and bear arms implies a right to use these arms for self-defense needs. So the fundamental human right of self-defense underlies the right to keep and bear arms.
I would say that self-defense is a fundamental human right, which is inalienable. Even a convicted criminal in prison has a right to use force in self-defense. But the right to keep and bear arms is a secondary or derived right, not a primary or fundamental right; it is derived from the right to self-defense. As such, derived rights admit of greater possible restrictions and regulation than fundamental rights. Even so, a derived right is still a right that should be recognized and protected by a just government. That is my own understanding.
The Court decided that the Constitution does not implicitly confer a right to abortion. Due process and equal treatment under the laws do not imply a right to abortion. No such right was understood at the time of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, nor subsequently until relatively recent times. However, the Court did not — unfortunately — outlaw abortion nor find that abortion is the killing of an innocent human being. The Court merely returned “the authority to regulate abortion” to the people and their elected representatives. SCOTUS simply stated that abortion must be regulated by democracy — either at the Federal or State level — rather than being regulated by the Court. Indeed, one of the criticisms of “Roe” by “Dobbs” is that Roe reads like a legislative document, rather than a document of the Court. Roe v. Wade legislated from the bench, whereas “Dobbs” merely gives the ability to regulate abortion to the democratic process.
The outcry against the decision on abortion in “Dobbs” has sometimes compared gun rights to abortion rights. This article at CTVnews.ca in Canada (“Guns and abortion: Contradictory decisions, or consistent?”) explains the views of both sides on this comparison.
“How can the court justify restricting the ability of states to regulate guns while expanding the right of states to regulate abortion? ‘The hypocrisy is raging, but the harm is endless,’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday after the court released its decision on abortion.” [CTVnews.ca]
On the other side of this comparison is those who support both decisions by the Court:
“In both decisions, the majority makes the case that if a right is spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, the bar for any government regulation of that right is extremely high. But if a right is not explicit, state and federal governments have greater leeway to impose regulations.”
In my view, self-defense is a fundamental human right, and sometimes firearms are useful or necessary to exercise that right. However, abortion is the killing of an innocent human being, which is never an act of self-defense. The teaching of the Catholic Church is stated by Pope Pius XI in the document On Christian Marriage:
Pope Pius XI: “however much we may pity the mother whose health and even life is gravely imperiled in the performance of the duty allotted to her by nature, nevertheless what could ever be a sufficient reason for excusing in any way the direct murder of the innocent? This is precisely what we are dealing with here. Whether inflicted upon the mother or upon the child, it is against the precept of God and the law of nature: “Thou shalt not kill:” The life of each is equally sacred, and no one has the power, not even the public authority, to destroy it. It is of no use to appeal to the right of taking away life for here it is a question of the innocent, whereas that right has regard only to the guilty; nor is there here question of defense by bloodshed against an unjust aggressor (for who would call an innocent child an unjust aggressor?)”
Abortion is the direct murder of the innocent. There is no possibility of justifying this type of killing as one might justify using deadly force in self-defense (under the right to bear arms). For neither the mother, nor the doctor, nor the “public authority” (government) has the right to destroy that innocent unborn human life.
When someone uses deadly force in self-defense, they are killing the guilty, specifically an attacker who is seeking to gravely harm the innocent. So in the one case, the innocent is protected by the just use of force (perhaps including the use of a firearm), and in the other case, the innocent is unjustly killed by abortion, or is protected by laws that regulate or outlaw abortion.
The consistency of these two decisions is this: in both decisions, the innocent are able to be protected, either by the use or threat of use of arms, under the Second Amendment, or by laws that regulate or outlaw abortion. The attacker who seeks to murder is prevented, hopefully, by the right to bear arms; the attacker who seeks to murder the unborn is prevented, hopefully, by laws that outlaw abortion. So the two decisions are consistent.
The system of democracy has no moral content; it can be used to do good or to do evil. People who think abortion is a right would like Congress to make abortion legal nationwide via the democratic process. But when the people of a State make abortion illegal, they do not respect the decision of the democratic process.
In the past, when a State makes a law that some outside the State strongly oppose, efforts have been made to punish that State and to pressure the State to change its laws. An abortion law in Georgia, passed prior to “Dobbs”, was opposed by some persons in the entertainment industry, who threatened a film and television production boycott of the State (BuzzFeedNews.com).
The people of a State have the right to self-government, and the right to make laws through the democratic process. By contrast, individuals with power in various industries and corporations are attempting to thwart, rather than participate in the democratic process. If a State or a Nation cannot pass a law unless those with power outside of government approve, that is not democracy but rather oligarchy. The leaders of corporations and various other leaders in society — who lead via fame or money or economic power — are not elected or appointed by democratic process. They are oligarchs attempting to rule over the Nation and various States via their positions of influence.
When the majority of voters in a State wish to outlaw abortion, they should be permitted to do so. Can the same be said for a State that wishes to make abortion widely available? As far as democracy is concerned, Yes, but from a moral point of view, No. The murder of the innocent in the womb should be protected by Constitutional amendment and by law, as the right to life is fundamental to every society. I would support any State or Nation that attempts to outlaw or greatly restrict abortion. However, using democracy to allow and even use tax dollars for abortion is contrary to one of the most fundamental principles of democracy: government’s duty to protect life. The right to life is more fundamental than other rights, as generally one must be alive to benefit from those other rights.
Edited 6/26/22 to add: Protests around the world show a lack of respect for democracy, and in effect a demand that each nation comply with the decisions of the masses as to what is and is not a right or a valid law. This destruction of democracy occurs by means of a culture that demands that everything — religion, government, laws, democracy — be subservient to it. Many of their alleged rights are simply their sins in disguise.
Will the decision in “Dobbs” returning the regulation of abortion to the people and their representatives result in the outlawing of same-sex marriage or contraception or other issues? The majority opinion in “Dobbs” gave a clear answer: “Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” Even so, the argument is made that other alleged rights will also be subject to regulation and outlawing.
The issue does arise when abortion is outlawed as to whether abortifacient contraception can or should be outlawed as well. In a just society, all forms of direct abortion, including IUDs and abortifacient contraception would be outlawed, as a way to protect innocent life from conception to birth.
I have not seen the issue of Euthanasia discussed in this context, but the ability of States to outlaw abortion, to protect innocent life certainly implies an ability to outlaw euthanasia. However, most States do make euthanasia a serious crime already, and SCOTUS has never stated a right to euthanize oneself or another.
Society continues to become worse and worse as regards religion and good morals. The only solution is repentance, conversion, prayer and faith. Democracy will eventually decay, due to the decay of morals in the population in general, resulting in legalized grave sins of nearly every kind. So while the decisions of the Court in “Dobbs” and “Bruen” are protective, to some extent, of innocent lives, democracy wielded by sinners will eventually undo these goods. Unfortunately, I think that in the long run abortion will be claimed to be a constitutional right, and self-defense will be narrowed excessively, such that the strong will be able to prey upon the weak. The battle between good morals and bad continues, until Christ Returns.
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