SHIELDS: Lincoln, the Constitution, and Abortion


Friday, August 5, 2022

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs has produced a victory for liberty the likes of which have not been seen since Brown v. Board

For nearly five decades, the unborn were murdered by the millions in our nation and we were unconstitutionally barred from stopping the atrocity. At long last, we can advance the cause of life and save the unborn. 

All who love righteousness and care for the oppressed must fight to ban abortion, but it isn’t enough to fight for a righteous cause. We must also fight in a righteous manner. This means upholding the Constitution. 

The Constitution is the supreme authority to which we owe submission and honor. It is the foundation of liberty and justice in our nation’s positive law. 

If we do away with the foundation of justice and liberty in an attempt to procure justice and liberty, we will have no one but ourselves to blame when despotism arises. 

In his concurrence in Dobbs, Justice Kavanaugh rightly held that the Constitution is silent on the issue of abortion. The Tenth Amendment makes clear that any powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states. Thus federal laws regulating abortion within the states are unconstitutional. 

Even before the Dobbs ruling, there were pro-lifers proposing and advocating for federal pro-life legislation. This cannot be permitted. So long as the Constitution remains in its current form, we must work to ban abortion at the state level. 

It will surely be objected that the gravity of the fight for life is so great that we are justified in acting unconstitutionally. It being so that many states will not ban abortion, millions of more children will be murdered. This is the greatest evil since slavery, and drastic times call for drastic measures. 

That abortion is the greatest evil perpetuated by the American republic since slavery is an obvious truth, so let us be guided by the man who ended American slavery. 

Lincoln hated slavery and did much to fight against it, but he refrained from violating the Constitution to do so. The southern states had already begun to secede because of his victory when he gave his first inaugural address. Lincoln told them, “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” 

During the war he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in the rebellious states. He did not exceed his powers as president and free the slaves of loyal states as well, acting only as was proper in his capacity as commander-in-chief. He did not work with Congress to ban slavery despite having no constitutional authority to do so, rather he worked to pass the Thirteenth Amendment, and upon its ratification, Congress finally had the power to rid America of its Original Sin. 

Our nation became more just and the authority of the Constitution was not only preserved, but strengthened, because Lincoln fought slavery in submission to the Constitution rather than in defiance of it. Just as it was necessary to rid the republic of slavery, it is now necessary to rid it of abortion. And just as it was proper to seek an amendment knowing that some states would allow slavery if permitted to do so, it is proper to seek an amendment knowing that some states will allow abortion if permitted to do so. 

But let us submit to the Constitution and refrain from taking such action until an amendment is ratified. For nearly fifty years, the pro-life movement played by the rules, and in our using and honoring the system, Roe is finally dead. Why would we now abandon our constitutional system after it has given us our first major victory? 

The Constitution is the best weapon by which to rid ourselves of abortion. As we seek to expand the blessings of the American Creed, let us not affront the very tool that has preserved our Creed for over two centuries. Our constitutional system allowed us to ban slavery, and it will allow us to ban abortion if we submit to it. May we always do so. 

Jack Shields is a graduate of Texas A&M University and is currently attending Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. He is an editor and columnist for Lone Conservative, and a reporter for The College Fix.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Jack Shields

Jack Shields is a graduate of Texas A&M University and is currently attending Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. He is an editor and columnist for Lone Conservative, and a reporter for The College Fix.

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