WASHINGTON, D.C. (FR) – President George Bush’s reinstatement of Richard Thornburgh as attorney general has already set the wheels in motion for an early Supreme Court review of the infamous 1973 Roe vs. Wade abortion decision. The high court decided in early January to review a Missouri case involving a state law which bans the use of public funds or facilities to perform abortions, and which says that life begins at conception.
Susan Smith, associate legislative director for National Right to Life, says the court’s decision is very encouraging. “We’re anxious to see what is going to happen. Either the court will reaffirm the states’ rights to say when life begins, or will place restrictions. But it would be a good case to open a review of Roe vs. Wade.” David Andrews, acting president of Planned Parenthood, said the decision was “not unexpected” and that he was confident that the court would not reverse its stand on abortion.
Thornburgh, a former Pennsylvania governor who switched over from the pro-abortion camp, has vowed to fight for the reversal of Roe vs. Wade: “I’m opposed to the concept of abortion on demand or abortion as a substitute for birth control,” he said. However, he does agree with President George Bush that abortion is appropriate in cases of rape, incest, and when a mother’s life is endangered.
In cases of a fetus being detected as diseased, Thornburgh said he would not support abortion. “A person with a disease or defect is not a second-class citizen. I have a mentally retarded son who is 28-years-old, so that’s a very real experience for me. The value of human life has to be underscored in some way by our governmental system.”
During his gubernatorial term in 1982, Thornburgh signed a law requiring doctors to inform women of the risks of abortion and the option of adoption. However, the Supreme Court struck down the law saying it would “chill” a woman’s “right” to an abortion and upheld the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision.
Thornburgh says his opposition to the Roe case is similar to Abraham Lincoln’s position against the 1857 Dred Scott court ruling which upheld slavery. He quoted Lincoln as saying that the Dred Scott decision, which reaffirmed the status of blacks as slaves, was “erroneous.” Lincoln promised to work to overrule the Supreme Court and to reaffirm the Constitution’s guarantee of rights to all blacks.
“I think that characterizes the views of us who think Roe vs. Wade is wrong,” he said.