AK Abortion Numbers

Since before Roe v. Wade in 1973, the pro-life movement has enjoyed very little success and unity, except in one respect: convincing most Americans that surgical abortion in the vast majority of cases is bad.

Forget the fake news surveys done by Planned Parenthood, feminists and the fawning mainstream media. The Gallup Poll question, which has remained unchanged since the ‘70s, demonstrates, give or take just a few points from year to year, that 75% of Americans want to re-criminalize 95% of surgical abortions.

But the horrible truth remains: How is that a prolife society? How can innocent human life ever be permitted to undergo destruction without the certain effect of broadening the exceptions to include what we see now: late-term abortion, infanticide and euthanasia – now openly advocated by the Democratic Party.

Nobel prize-winning recipient Eli Weisel said upon receiving the award, “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence helps the tormentor, never the tormented.” Unfortunately, Weisel himself favored permissive abortion! This selective application affects many of those ensconced in the pro-life movement when legislation is introduced to try to stop only some abortions.

All prolife legislation ought to include the rider, “This statute shall not be reviewable by the judiciary.”

This is evident when “rape-and-incest” exceptions are introduced, when micro-abortive measures such as IUDs and low-estrogen birth control pills are ignored in prolife legislation, or when surgical abortions are tolerated before heartbeats or brain waves appear. It also occurs when laws are crafted only at stopping abortion when the second trimester is reached, or when they permit abortion in the case of fetal abnormalities; and so forth.

The National Right to Life Committee split in the ‘70s over contraception, leading to the creation of the American Life League. There are still people who waste pro-life resources by calling for a federal Human Life Amendment, which is unneeded and would create untold mischief if it led to the creation of a federal bureaucracy that attempted to enforce it.

Thus, a proper remedy has always been to ignore the courts, follow the Constitution and thereby turn these questions over to the states. At that point, rough-and-tumble local politics would decide these questions and would, in most cases, lead to the outcome of imperfect legislation that saves some preborn babies yet merely curtails surgical abortion.

Alaska has not been immune to this fact, and imperfect or unnecessary legislation is causing intramural warfare among the state’s pro-lifers once again. Many people see this as counter-productive, but it is, unfortunately, very necessary. Imperfect or unnecessary legislation, and the criticism that is sure to follow, becomes an opportunity for educating society. If it splashes across the pages of mainstream media, which twists and lies for all to see, then – too bad.

Much of this comes from the false notion that courts, whether state or federal, must be obeyed. Hence convoluted legislation, attempting to work within the increasingly narrow parameters that the courts permit, fashion compromising or useless legislation. This bespeaks constitutional ignorance. Very few elected officials really understand the document that they have sworn to uphold.

It is vitally important to use this moment to educate pro-lifers and all Alaskans.

The well-intentioned Senate Joint Resolution 4, which is before the Alaska Legislature, is an example of unnecessary legislation. It is an attempt to amend Alaska’s Constitution so the courts cannot justify throwing out pro-life laws by citing the privacy clause or any other part of the constitution which they interpret as a prohibition against pro-life legislation.

The state courts long ago overthrew Alaska’s Constitution. One of the many ways occurred in Article 1, Section 22, which reads very simply: “The right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed. The legislature shall implement this section.”

SJR 4 would play into the hands of liberals by conceding that the courts shall implement (and interpret) this section to include abortion and the funding thereof. It would completely ignore the obvious last sentence of Sec. 22! The amendment recognizes that privacy has its limits, and it is the elected representatives that shall identify the limits, not the courts. So – why pass a constitutional amendment when the remedy already exists?

Unlike what you may have heard, we do not have “Three co-equal branches of government.” The Legislative is supreme. For that matter, all prolife legislation ought to include the rider, “This statute shall not be reviewable by the judiciary.” This is completely authorized in Article 4, Sec. 1: “The jurisdiction of the courts shall be prescribed by law.”

The composition of the current Legislature would quite possibly look very differently if they had done this with the voting requirement of witness signatures. Instead, the voter integrity law was overridden at the whim of the Alaska Supreme Court.

Just how this shakes out is now in progress. It is vitally important to use this moment to educate pro-lifers and all Alaskans. This must be done, by both sides, without denouncing those who are not in agreement, or those not yet in full understanding of the constitutional principles.

It must also be admitted that there are those within the Republican Party that view the prolife movement with cynical disdain. Just who they are is difficult to discern, but it exists, statewide and nationally.

This element understands full well that it is best to never really do anything about abortion, just enough to keep the prolife voter – so vital for Republican success – locked in. To them, the judiciary is really a convenient punching bag which would be foolish to defeat as long as prolife voters do not comprehend that the legislative and executive branches could snuff out judicial tyranny as easily as a candle.

If they only possessed the will to do so.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

What the latest battle between pro-life Alaskans reveals

Bob Bird
Bob Bird ran for U.S. Senate in 1990 and 2008. He is a past president of Alaska Right to Life, a 45-year Alaska resident and a retired public school teacher. He has a passion for studying and teaching Alaska and U.S. constitutional history. He lives on the Kenai Peninsula and is currently a daily radio talk-show host for The Talk of the Kenai, on KSRM 920 AM from 3-5 pm and heard online