Americans have swayed from federalist ideals, and that is tragic.
Federalism is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the distribution of power in an organization (such as a government) between a central authority and the constituent.” In the United States, federalism is typically interpreted as individual states holding the authority to make decisions for themselves instead of the federal government making such decisions.
I am a federalist through and through, but there is one issue where I am willing to set these ideals aside: abortion.
Over and over, I hear many well-intentioned lovers of liberty express their horror at the countless lives taken by abortion, but continue by stating, “we don’t want the federal government to involve themselves in this issue, let’s leave it up to the states.”
Yes, in a perfect world, things like this could be settled by the states. After all, every state in the union has laws on their books against murder. However, we do not live in a perfect world, and the issue of life versus abortion has already been raised to a federal level.
An opinion piece written by Steven Ertelt explained the shift eloquently, arguing that abortion ‘rights’ have already been ‘nationalized’ by the Supreme Court taking up Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.
“If one day the Supreme Court reverses those rulings, abortion could again be left to the citizens and lawmakers of the 50 states to decide. But, abortion rights will never be solely the province of state law,” stated Ertelt.
“Unless the Supreme Court, in reversing Roe and Doe, held that legalized abortion was a violation of the national Constitution —as some legal scholars say it may be — the federal government would still have to confront issues related to abortion in many contexts, ranging from availability at military facilities to eligibility for federal grants to the provisions of national health care.”
Along with explaining why it would be near impossible to have a completely federalist approach to legislating abortion, Ertelt pointed out something important: abortion as a violation of the national Constitution.
In the 14th Amendment to the United States’ Constitution, it is written that, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Preborn citizens of the United States are still living humans with separate DNA and heartbeats from their mothers, and should be subject to protection under the law of the land as American individuals. Therefore, such treatment would render abortion unconstitutional in depriving life without due process under the 14th Amendment.
If this is the case, the federal government must intervene because every state in the union is currently violating the United States’ Constitution in one way or another.
Argument after argument could be made as to why the federal government must get involved in the war on abortion. However, I would simply appeal to the ultra-federalist pro-life bloc with this:
Lives are at stake for every moment we waste. Should we keep the federal government from preventing abortion in an effort to protect our federalist ideals? Or should we wait on the states to get around to protecting life while countless unborn babies are slaughtered?
The choice should be simple.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Human Defense Initiative.