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Law Protects the Weak

by Clifford Stevens, Omaha World Herald, September 8, 2000

In American jurisprudence, the destruction of the unborn is looked upon as "justifiable," an extension of the personal liberty of the woman bearing the child. One cannot but feel that there is some principle of law that is overlooked here, one that neither the jurist nor the legal scholar has been able to identify, a principle that is staring them right in the face - a principle that every decent person in the livid guts of his moral conscience is able to articulate.

One cannot help but feel, in light of the mammoth steps American jurisprudence has taken in the 20th century, becoming in so may ways the benefactor of the world, that some social cancer is gnawing at the entrails of American law, a cancer that cannot see that survival of the fittest is not the founding principle of American democracy.

Wherever constitutional law has emerged, it was in the form of laws to protect weak and helpless members of society from those who would use their power, privilege or position to oppress and exploit. Law itself can be described as protection for the weak and helpless, since the strong and prosperous have their own means of protection.

It is in the arena of justice that religion and law come together, as they always have, as they came together in questions of slavery, segregation, workers rights and child labor. The first voice that enunciated in Western civilization that all men are created equal and are endowed with unalienable rights was a religious voice. But for that religious voice, we might still be ruled by kings and emperors rather than by constitutions and laws.

And this religious voice today declares that the unborn have unalienable rights, rights not given by government; that there is an inviolable preserve, not constituted by government and which government itself is fashioned to secure and protect.

This preserve is private, personal, inviolable, not given by government but recognized by it; not granted by law but preserved by law; not originating in statutes, contracts or by judicial decree but originating in the very fact that one is a human being.

And this religious voice declares that that preserve belongs to the unborn by an unalienable claim, because it belongs to every human person for the totality of its existence...