Abortion and the culture of death


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In January 1973 when the Supreme Court issued its decision in Roe v Wade legalizing abortion nationwide, I was a first year full-time graduate student at Rutgers University. Philosophically, I was a prochoice libertarian but opposed the Supreme Court decision because it violated an important principle–federalism.  

Fast forward to 1995, when I was teaching an evening Corporate Finance class and a nontraditional student—a woman in her 40s—stopped by my desk and showed me drawings of a “partial birth abortion.”  I was horrified.  I thought late term abortions where outlawed or restricted under Roe.  (Why the student showed me this is still a mystery but reflects how this procedure affected individuals’ consciences.).

Two years later I was the New Jersey Libertarian gubernational nominee.  My campaign consultant had ties to prolife activists in New Jersey and I told him I was adamantly opposed to partial birth abortion.  The prolife activists wanted Governor Whitman to support a partial birth ban.  As a “prochoice” Republican she was pro-abortion all the way, as was the Democratic nominee, state senator and mayor Jim McGreevey.  (Welcome to New Jersey.  Dual office holding has been mercifully prohibited in the Garden State for several years.)  

After my opposition to partial birth abortion became known and when my campaign became eligible for state matching funds, which required me to be in three debates with the two major party candidates, I met with prolife leaders and activists to discuss the abortion issue.  I still was not convinced that all abortions should be illegal. 

I then called congressman Ron Paul whom I have known since the early 1980s and had been supporting his congressional campaigns, because he was a libertarian Republican. I asked him for his advice because he was pro-life and an OB-GYN physician.  He told me he had written a short paperback a few years earlier defending the pro-life position. He sent me a copy of the book which I read one afternoon.  (Unfortunately, the book is out of print.).  However, a review on Amazon provides an excellent summary of Dr. Paul’s position.

This little book is great! Ron Paul explains the abortion issue from his perspective as a young doctor. After walking in on an abortion, his view on the matter quickly solidified. After questioning the Dean of the college, and getting his reasoning behind abortion, Dr. Paul learned that he was talking with a full fledged (sic) eugenicist on his hands. The Dean stated that he would favor terminating the life of a child up to age six, if any deformaties (sic) occurred! This book makes such a good case for why abortion should not be protected under the law. Also, it gives a great insight into how much our society has changed, and just accepts abortion as normal now. Great book…

After I read Challenge to Liberty, I embraced the prolife position, because it is consistent with the libertarian nonaggression principle and one on the Commandments, “Thou shalt not kill.”   In other words, I should have been a prolife libertarian years earlier.  This is one of my biggest regrets in life. 

I informed the prolife community I was going to support a ban on partial birth abortion in the gubernatorial debates but also make the case that Roe was a flawed decision and thus the abortion issue should be returned to the states.  I was then endorsed by prolife organizations and spoke to their members during the campaign. 

The 2022 Dobbs decision overturned Roe and returned the question of abortion to each state where the issue was determined before 1973.  Since then many states, both “blue and red” ones have legalized abortion.

The “right to abortion” is nowhere to be found in the Constitution.  Instead, in Roe the Court asserted that there is “right to privacy” and thus the Fifth Amendment upholds a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy.

The majority opinion asserted that because the Fifth Amendment states “No person shall be… deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…,”  the justification for legalizing abortion nationwide was fuzzy, at best.  Moreover, the key to the Roe decision was the “the Court established that the word person as used in the Due Process Clause and in other provisions of the Constitution did not include the unborn, and therefore the unborn lacked federal constitutional protection.”  This conclusion could mean that under Dobbs states could provide legal protection of the unborn child. 

But last Tuesday the voters in Ohio amended the state constitution and effectively allowed abortion up to birth.  The exact language is “Always allow an unborn child to be aborted at any stage of pregnancy, regardless of viability if, in the treating physician’s determination, the abortion is necessary to protect the pregnant woman’s life or health.”  In other words, Ohio now condones infanticide. 

And the other day, this New York Post headline caught my attention: “Nebraska girl, 16, arrested for slitting throat of her newborn baby: police”

Could there be anything more horrific?  A teenager murdering her newborn instead of giving the baby up for adoption.  Not surprisingly, the police have charged the unidentified mother with first degree murder.  Why?  All she did was “abort” her baby after birth.  In other words, the difference between slitting a baby’s throat right after birth and a physician performing partial birth abortion is a matter of “geography.”  One is done outside the womb and the other is done partially in the womb.  Both acts achieved the same result, the death of an unwanted child.

Will the ACLU come to the defense of the teenage “murderer?”

So why is killing a baby literally seconds or minutes after birth a crime while a partial birth abortion is now enshrined in the Ohio constitution—and possibly more state constitutions ahead?  And why is the destruction of life in the womb, which is what abortion is, heralded as a moral imperative to many voters? 

Upon reflection, the “culture of death” has become one of the predominant ethical positions of individuals who undoubtedly are self-identified compassionate, humanitarians.  This mindset explains the state of America and the world.

It will take a philosophical revolution to replace the culture of death with “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” There is nothing more glorious than working toward this goal. 


This is an update of my 2021 forecast, 


Murray Sabrin, PhD, is emeritus professor of finance, Ramapo College of New Jersey. Dr. Sabrin is considered a “public intellectual” for writing about the economy in scholarly and popular publications. His new book, The Finance of Health Care: Wellness and Innovative Approaches to Employee Medical Insurance (Business Expert Press, Oct. 24, 2022), and his other BEP publication, Navigating the Boom/Bust Cycle: An Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide (October 2021), provides decision makers with tools needed to help manage their businesses during the business cycle.  Sabrin’s autobiography, From Immigrant to Public Intellectual: An American Story, was published in November, 2022.

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