Brian O'Leary

Brian O'Leary

The clearest judicial thinking on abortion has come from the pen of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas. His May 28 concurrence in Indiana v Planned Parenthood says, “I write separately to address the other aspect of Indiana law at issue here — the ‘Sex Selective and Disability Abortion Ban.’” 

The Supreme Court had refused to hear an appeal by the state of Indiana against the striking down of its law against selective abortion — that is, the use of abortion to cull or control certain segments of the population, something quite common in other countries, such as Iceland, where the abortion rate for children diagnosed with Down syndrome in utero approaches 100%.

Here at home, in Cleveland, Family Life Campaign has seen disproportionate marketing of abortion to poorer African American communities. Nationally, some 36 percent of abortions are performed on African American women, Centers for Disease Control figures show, while the female population is only 13% black. In New York City, the abortion rate is 3.7 times higher among black mothers than white mothers. 

Justice Thomas reminds us that in the early 20th century, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger recognized the eugenic potential of birth control as a means of reducing the “ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.”  Though Sanger didn’t espouse abortion as a tool of her eugenics movement, many other eugenicists did, including future Planned Parenthood President Alan Guttmacher.

The abortion movement continued to gain momentum, and even though, for example, the Pittsburgh branch of the NAACP criticized family planners as bent on trying to keep the African American birth rate as low as possible, it reached a milestone in the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.

However, Justice Thomas, in his aforementioned statement, noted his court’s inability to strike down Indiana laws against selective abortion, as the Constitution itself is silent on the subject, having, despite Roe v Wade, left that jurisdiction to the states.

Moving now from the constitutional to the scriptural aspects of abortion, it is clear that the Bible regards the baby in the womb as a living person, the destruction of whom, even conceived in rape or incest, is, of course, murder. When the abortionist resorts to calling the baby a fetus, it’s just another euphemism, no different from using pro-choice as a cover for savagery, infanticide, guilt and shame. The Bible also challenges Roe v. Wade in its understanding of the beginnings of a separate life in the womb.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.

Before you were born I sanctified you;

I ordained you a prophet to the nations.

— Jeremiah 1:5

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb.

— Luke 1:41

You do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

— Ecclesiastes 11:5

Brian O’Leary retired from a manufacturing career in Versailles and lives in west Jessamine County. Email him at 

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