By Corinne Murdock |
State Senator Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) shared that she was the sole state legislator from Arizona in attendance at the rally outside the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) on Wednesday. Inside, the justices held a hearing for a watershed case in abortion law: Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Their ruling is anticipated in the spring.
Barto told AZ Free News that the hearing was historic, as was the gathering outside the SCOTUS building advocating for an end to abortion. She said the rally was peaceful, and recounted how diverse their rally was: individuals reportedly represented from all across the political spectrum, the religious and non-religious, and a generational attendance from tikes to older adults such as herself.
“America has lived this lie long enough. Our laws need to be modernized to recognize [the science]: viability is different now, women are not burdened by pregnancy anymore. The greater standard is, of course, that our constitution needs to fit our laws and protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” observed Barto. “We will wait and see and keep praying for these justices to really follow the changing hearts in America, hearts that really have turned. People no longer support abortion through nine months; the more that they learn about what abortion does to women and the unborn in terms of pain, and how the development of an unborn child is trackable from the earliest moments in utero.”
The case brought by Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a Mississippi abortion clinic challenging the constitutionality of Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks. On behalf of the defense, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch countered that SCOTUS should leave abortion law to individual states. A SCOTUS ruling in favor of Mississippi would overturn the precedent set by the 1973 case that legalized abortion nationally, Roe v. Wade, which was upheld in the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
The crux of the plaintiff’s arguments during the hearing concerned the need for SCOTUS to stand by precedent set in previous rulings, discussed as the question of “stare decisis.” They also insisted that the interests of the woman outweighed those of the state, especially prior to the viability of the unborn child.
The plaintiffs also admitted that they were arguing a constitutional right to abortion under the constitutional guarantee of liberty when pressed by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas as to what right they were arguing needed protecting. Previous SCOTUS rulings on abortion considered concepts entailing rights under the Constitution and various amendments, such as personhood, undue burdens, and privacy.
Founding Father James Wilson warned of licentiousness, a concept conflated with liberty but truly its antithesis. “Licentious,” or “license,” comes from the Latin term “licentia”: an unbridled, wanton, chaotic freedom. The distinction between liberty and license wasn’t made by anyone in the hearing. Wilson was one of the original SCOTUS justices, serving from the onset of its establishment by the Judiciary Act of 1789 until his death in 1798.
“Liberty and happiness have a powerful enemy on each hand; on the one hand tyranny, on the other licentiousness. To guard against the latter, it is necessary to give the proper powers to government; and to guard against the former, it is necessary that those powers should be properly distributed,” asserted Wilson.
After the hearing, Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ-06) shared one of his floor statements from earlier this year describing how his life was saved when his birth mother chose life over abortion and gave him up for adoption.
“I was born in an unwed mother’s home – so was my brother, so was my sister. You’ve all met my little girl that came to us as a gift out of nowhere. But I’m 38 years old [at the time] and through a series of accidents, I get the phone number for my birth mother – and I call her. And the first words were just through the tears and this high-pitch almost – she was struggling, you could hear her almost hyperventilating – is: ‘I prayed for you every morning. Are you okay? Are you healthy, are you happy?’ And I’m crying on my side, saying, ‘I have a great life. Thank you for letting me live.’ […] My little girl’s third generation adopted, now. […] And we will get together with our birth moms and our moms. The amazing thing is my mom became best of friends with my birth mom. This is the American family of today – let’s love it and respect it.”