The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion We must protect life from conception until the moment of birth!

People protest in response to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, in Washington, DC. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

I can see how you might be confused! At least, I think that horrid screaming, silent sobbing and rending of garments indicate confusion.

You are looking at the rulings the Supreme Court has been putting out lately and wondering how they are consistent with one another. “This ruling seems like it will result in many more births. Tons of births. More births than a majority of Americans think we ought to be compelled to have, in fact!” you say. “Whereas this ruling seems like it will result in people being killed with guns. Are we excited to protect life, or aren’t we?”

This is simple. Let me draw you a chart: Here is conception, when we have decided life begins. Sacred, exquisite, beautiful life. Life, than which nothing is more precious. Life, a concept popular enough to sell as both a board game and a cereal. Life! Which everyone ought to have!

Here, we have the halcyon period during which nothing is too good for you and you must be saved and protected at all costs. Anything you want, you must have. Someone else’s body, even at risk to her life? You got it! We owe you that much. We have no way of knowing you won’t be Shakespeare, or invent foaming hand soap. Up until the moment of birth, you are a glistening orb of magical potential. You might become a president, or better yet, the man who picks the president by deciding which electoral votes get counted.

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And then here is birth, after which you are on your own.

Once you have been born, you are a nuisance and, possibly, a woman — two categories the Supreme Court generally frowns upon. The born are always asking for things. You want baby formula? Uncontaminated formula? You want people not to be able to bring guns to your school? You want to be mirandized? Can’t we go back to that lovely place when you were just an exciting concept who might grow up to be a Supreme Court justice?

Marc Thiessen

counterpointThink abortion will salvage the midterms for you, Dems? Not a chance.

Are you getting the idea now?

“But surely,” you might say, “people who have been born also have rights we are bound to respect?” Yes, for the moment. But we’re working on it! See how we’ve started chipping away at public safety?

Hopefully we can get the number of rights down even further, if we really work at it. No precedent is safe! Not Griswold! Not Lawrence! Not Obergefell! Down with substantive due process and up with due dates!

Some complain that this will be the first generation born with fewer rights than the one preceding it. But can you blame us for limiting the rights of the born? They are just so irritating!

All the people who sit next to you on public transit and talk too loudly and cough come from the ranks of those who have been born already. All the people who told you that your position on abortion is incorrect. All the women who threatened your precious career. All the people who show up outside your house and yell. Everyone who takes too long at the checkout line in front of you, or who calls you at home from a number labeled Spam Risk, or who leaves unpleasant comments on your online posts. They have all been born, and they are all terrible.

The born demand food and clothes and a roof over their heads. They object to laws passed about their bodies by people who have only the remotest, foggiest notion of what their bodies actually contain. They feel, somehow, that they should be able to make their own decisions, medical and otherwise — even the ones who are capable of conceiving! They, themselves, want to choose, not a bunch of people in robes who have been laboring under a misconception for years and now would like everyone else to as well. And these born keep insisting they have a right to life, to liberty, to full autonomy. So needy!

Now you understand, surely. There is life — pleasant, luminous, sacred, to be honored and protected at all costs. And then comes the moment of birth, after which all you have is the unpleasant, sticky process of actually living. That hardly seems worth protecting at all.

Roe v. Wade and abortion access in America

Roe v. Wade overturned: The Supreme Court has struck down Roe v. Wade, which for nearly 50 years has protected the right to abortion. Read the full decision here.

What happens next?: The legality of abortion will be left to individual states. That likely will mean 52 percent of women of childbearing age would face new abortion limits. Thirteen states with “trigger bans” will ban abortion within 30 days. Several other states where recent antiabortion legislation has been blocked by the courts are expected to act next.

State legislation: As Republican-led states move to restrict abortion, The Post is tracking legislation across the country on 15-week bans, Texas-style bans, trigger laws and abortion pill bans, as well as Democratic-dominated states that are moving to protect abortion rights enshrined in Roe v. Wade.

How our readers feel: In the hours that followed the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Washington Post readers responded in droves to a callout asking how they felt — and why.