Flat White

Will the ripples from Roe v. Wade reach Australia?

13 May 2022

1:30 PM

13 May 2022

1:30 PM

An American journalist, Caroline Reilly, re-tweeted a New York Times report of the firebombing of a Wisconsin anti-abortion headquarters, together with her own murderous reflections:

‘More of this. May these people never know a moment of peace or safety until they rot in the ground.’

Another American journalist, John Nolte, commenting on this, said: 

‘Reilly is not some out there wacko. According to her own bio, Reilly has written for Variety, Teen Vogue, and the Washington Post – so-called mainstream publications. This is just another example of how the corporate media are now a plague of violent, neurotic, bitter, unstable, deeply unhappy left-wing freaks who see their cause — including the cause of murdering innocent, unborn babies right up until birth — as so righteous that there are no moral boundaries when it comes to protecting and furthering that cause.’

Nolte has a very in-your-face, direct style that calls a spade a spade. Reilly is angry, even hysterical; ironically, from the Greek word for womb. Focus, however, on his description of Reilly and like-minded journalists. Immediately after describing the horror of abortion as ‘murdering innocent, unborn babies right up until birth’. He says they have no moral boundaries. Nolte has pulled the curtain back on the abortion debate. It is a debate between rights and morals.

One side of the abortion argument defends abortion as a woman’s right. The case of Roe v. Wade agrees. It derived a right to abortion from a constitutional right to privacy which, as a previous Spectator Australia contributor showed, was so difficult to find that it had to be teased out as an implication from the 14th Amendment — the right to due process.

Roe v. Wade answered the question by affirming a ‘constitutional right’ to an abortion.

One obvious problem with that argument is that there is an express right to life in the US Constitution, a natural right guaranteed by the First Amendment. How can a natural right to life exist, besides a right to abortion? A right to life has no meaning if abortion is a woman’s right.

Prior to Roe v. Wade the right to an abortion, where it existed, was a question of State law. The right to an abortion may have been granted by State law, but that positive right had first to be justified before the legislature and shown to be moral and not just utilitarian. That justification by debate obliges those in favour of abortion on demand to argue that killing the unborn was a moral decision. This they have been unable to do.


The uniqueness of Roe v. Wade was that as abortion was deemed to be a constitutional right, it dispensed with the necessity of considering whether it was moral. Abortion, like the right to life, was deemed to be beyond moral.

Yet this was patently untrue. Whenever voices were raised against Roe v. Wade, they were countered with distinctly moral arguments that appealed to examples of pregnancies from rape or incest to justice in order to justify the termination. Rape is an immoral and criminal assault of a woman, because she is a woman and incest is an immoral attack on the family which, in Western society, is the foundation stone of moral upbringing.

The same procedure is followed in this country. When governments introduce a new bill, they explain why it is needed; why it is both necessary, and why it is worth having; that is, why it is moral. Laws that allow abortion to the penultimate moment have been passed by most if not all state governments based on the false notion of a woman’s right to an abortion. The arguments provided were not only famously weak, they were purely utilitarian: what is useful for me and those who will support me.

As for the ‘moral’ argument most often used to support abortion, that of rape – the most serious assault a woman can sustain, the same ‘concerned’ progressive state governments have trivialised rape by redefining it as any sexual assault, regardless of sex, involving penetration.

Overturning Roe v. Wade will not prevent some US States from passing abortion enabling laws. What it does mean, however, is that people who are opposed to abortion on demand know that State legislatures will have to listen while the moral arguments attempt to convince the majority of the need for change.

Roe v. Wade was a shield for many left-wing Americans who avoided the moral challenge, relying instead on red-cloaked dress-ups and the like from the dystopian universe of Hollywood theatre to confront the challenge with chants about women’s rights.

Australia has not had a case like Roe v. Wade and part of the reason for that is Australia’s Constitutional Convention decided against a Bill of Rights. The Constitution does grant certain rights like the right to vote, but other laws must be passed by the Parliaments and laws that confer rights on citizens have to be justified, either with sophistry or by demonstrating the law’s necessity and morality.

The legislative power in relation to abortion remained with the states after Federation and all states have passed laws permitting the killing of babies up to and after birth. These are the same state governments that during Covid told you they were looking after you.

Our left-wing state governments have shown general cowardice when called to prove abortion is moral in all circumstances. Whereas citizens can take to the streets and protest any number of left-wing causes and minor social practices, every state government has placed restrictions on those who wish to mount the moral argument against abortion with severe penalties for those who breach them.

Still, it is interesting to realise that the very same law, Work Choices, that cost John Howard his seat in Parliament and the election, could hold the key to the Commonwealth’s power to regulate the conditions under which abortions are conducted. Work Choices gave the Commonwealth the power to control the internal affairs of every Australian corporation and that power would allow the Commonwealth to control the conditions under which management companies of the medical profession can participate in the provision of abortions.

Imagine, if you can, how fulfilling it would be for Mr Howard to know that while Work Choices may have delivered the coup de grace to him, it could also slay the left-wing icon of abortion.

At the end of the day abortion, which is the taking of human life, is not a question of ‘rights’; it is and always has been a moral question. If it can be assumed that it is immoral to kill a human being, the only possible reason for abortion on demand is that the infant in utero is not a human being. 

If a law can be passed which implies that the child of human parents is not a human being, then, by that principle, laws declaring certain adults not to be human being can also be passed. 

It happened once before. Let’s pray it never happens again.

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