No Mom Is An Island by Joan Frawley Desmond

No Mom Is An Island

Joan Frawley Desmond on Maternal Connections & the End of Roe

An optimist by temperament, I celebrated Gonzales v. Carhart, the Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, as the beginning of the end for Roe v. Wade. As Rick Santorum, author of the bill, said: “For the first time in over 35 years, the Supreme Court balanced the interests of the two individuals directly involved in an abortion and found for the interest of the innocent child.”

But later I began to question my initial reaction. Perhaps the Justices were concerned not with advancing the rights of the unborn, but with something more subtle and ambiguous: upholding the moral value of the maternal bond. A second thought flowed from the first: Would a stronger emphasis on maternal communion result in a deeper appreciation for the human dignity of the unborn, or would it produce a sentimental side show, shifting the public debate from the main event?

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Joan Frawley Desmond is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and three children in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She is a recent graduate of the John Paul II Institute for the Study of Marriage and the Family.

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