To the editor:
News reports about the attempts of a young father to protect his unborn child from abortion raised three important issues.First, the incident reveals an enormous "blind spot" in the moral vision of "pro-choice" advocates. Their insistence that abortion is a purely private matter of the pregnant woman ignores entirely the profound interest of others, including the interest of the father in protecting the life-in-being of his own offspring.
Second, both the trial judge who entered the temporary restraining order and the appellate judge who entered the temporary stay displayed astute and courageous sensitivity to a subtle but possibly profound legal distinction.
In Planned Parenthood vs. Danforth, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a Missouri statute that required every married woman seeking an abortion to first obtain the express consent of her husband.
That myopic decision, which has been criticized widely, might be distinguished from the case that arose recently because the Danforth case involved a direct state-versus-individual conflict, while the case a few days ago involved a purely private dispute; the state was not involved at all in the conflict.
The ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and abortion clinics rejected that distinction and read the Danforth opinion very broadly. But 10 years ago, the Utah court named a similar subtle distinction when it upheld Utah's parental notification of abortion requirement, even though the U.S. Supreme Court in Danforth held that parental consent was unconstitutional.
Then, as now, the same pro-abortion interests rejected the subtle distinction and insisted on absolute, unilateral abortion. But the U.S. Supreme Court accepted the subtle distinction and upheld Utah's parental notice statute.
Finally, the action of the pro-choice party, organizations, and advocates in holding a press conference attacking the decision of the trial judge to temporarily enjoin the abortion (to maintain the status quo until he could hear the case) raises serious questions because the case was pending and active at the time.
While the right of all persons to criticize controversial judicial decisions is very important, the integrity and indepence of the courts is equally essential to a free government. Trying the case or attacking the judge in the media on the eve of the court hearing raises serious concerns about exerting improper pressures.
Lynn D. Wardle