Who Laughed During the Roe v Wade Arguments?

Sarah_Weddington.jpgIt is a little known fact that there was laughter in the United States Supreme Court 40 years ago during the Roe v. Wade hearings. Thought to be the youngest person ever to win a Supreme Court case, then 26 year old Sarah Weddington, the attorney for “Roe”, briefly lost her composure in a choked bout of chuckles before the court. She laughed alone that day, however, and every single citizen in our nation ought to hear what was said, particularly in light of this month’s Alabama Supreme Court ruling that “unborn children are persons with rights that should be protected by law.”

When Justice Harry A. Blackmun asked whether Mrs. Weddington felt there is any “inconsistency” in Court decisions against the “death penalty with respect to convicted murderers and rapists at one end of lifespan, and [her] position in this case at the other end of lifespan,” she replied that it has “never been established that the fetus is a person or that it’s entitled to the Fourteenth Amendment rights or the protection of the constitution.” It was clear to the court, even back then, that the case depended on the “fetus” having “constitutional rights.”

Justice Potter Stewart pressed further, “Well, if it were established that an unborn fetus is a person within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment, you would have almost an impossible case here, would you not?” Mrs. Weddington replied, “I would have a very difficult case.” And then she laughed nervously. Justice Stewart, not laughing at all, continued that this is akin to ruling that if a ”mother thought that it bothered her health having the child around, she could have it killed.” Mrs. Weddington said, “That’s correct,” and declined any further response.

Our laws still, chillingly, reflect this inconsistency. On the one hand, we have the almost decade long 2004 Unborn Victims of Violence Act which federally recognizes a “child in utero” as a legal “victim” if he or she is injured or killed by crimes of violence, and laws such as the one decided in Alabama this month that recognize “unborn children are persons with rights that should be protected by law.” On the other hand, we have abortion for all nine months of pregnancy and impunity for the ones that kill those children, children who are not even guaranteed the protections given to convicted murderers and rapists in some states. It was not funny 40 years ago, and it is still no laughing matter. These are children being killed. Aren’t children people too?

Have you ever listened to the Roe vs. Wade arguments?

Click the play button, it will start at ~20:00 minutes into Mrs. Weddington’s arguments (the attorney for Roe). The clip is only ~4 minutes, but be sure to listen from 23:30 – 24:30. The whole recording is found here. It is a piece of history, a tragic one. This is how it was argued that a mother has a right to kill her own child 40 years ago. 

Justice Harry A. Blackmun: But tell me why you didn’t discuss the Hippocratic Oath.

Ms Weddington: Okay.

I guess it was– okay, in part, because the Hippocratic Oath, we discuss basically the constitutional protection we felt the woman to have.

The Hippocratic Oath does not pertain to that.

Second, we discuss the fact that the state had not established a compelling state interest.

The Hippocratic Oath would not really pertain to that.

And then, we discuss the vagueness jurisdiction.

It seem to us that that– that the fact that the medical profession, at one time, had adopted the Hippocratic Oath does not weight upon the fundamental constitutional rights involved.

It is a guide for physicians, but the outstanding organizations of the medical profession have, in fact, adopted a position that says the doctor and the patient should be able to make the decision for themselves in this kind of situation.

Justice Harry A. Blackmun: Of course, it’s the only definitive statement of ethics in the medical profession.

I take it, from what you just said, that you’re– you didn’t even footnote it because it’s old.

That’s about really what you’re saying.

Ms Weddington: Well, I guess you– it is old, and not that it’s out of date, but it seemed to us that it was not pertinent to the argument we were making.

Justice Harry A. Blackmun: Let me ask another question.

Last June 29, this Court decided the capital punishment cases.

Ms Weddington: Yes, sir.

Justice Harry A. Blackmun: Do you feel that there is any inconsistency in the Court’s decision in those cases outlying the death penalty with respect to convicted murderers and rapists at one end of lifespan, and your position in this case at the other end of lifespan?

Ms Weddington: I think had there been established that the fetus was a person under the Fourteenth Amendment or under constitutional protection then there might be a differentiation.

In this case, there has never been established that the fetus is a person or that it’s entitled to the Fourteenth Amendment rights or the protection of the constitution.

It would be inconsistent to decide that, after birth, various classifications of persons would be subject to the death penalty or not but, here, we have a person, the woman, entitled to fundamental constitutional rights as opposed to the fetus prior to birth where there is no establishment of any kind of federal constitutional rights.

Justice Harry A. Blackmun: Well, do I get from this then that your case depends primarily on the proposition that the fetus has no constitutional rights?

Ms Weddington: It depends on saying that the woman has a fundament constitutional right and that the state has not proved any compelling interest for regulation in the area.

Even if the Court, at some point, determined the fetus to be entitled to constitutional protection, you would still get back into the weighing of one life against another.

Justice Byron R. White: And that’s what’s involved in this case, weighing one life against another?

Ms Weddington: No, Your Honor.

I said that would be what would be involved if the facts were different and the state could prove that there was a person for the constitutional right.

Justice Potter Stewart: Well, if it were established that an unborn fetus is a person within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment, you would have almost an impossible case here, would you not?

Ms Weddington: I would have a very difficult case. [Laughter]

Justice Potter Stewart: You certainly would because you’d have the same kind of thing you’d have to say that this would be the equivalent to after the child was born.

Ms Weddington: That’s right.

Justice Potter Stewart: If the mother thought that it bothered her health having the child around, she could have it killed.

Isn’t that correct?

Ms Weddington: That’s correct.

Chief Justice Warren E. Burger: Could Texas constitutionally– did you want to respond further to Justice Stewart?

Did you want to respond further to him?

Ms Weddington: No, Your Honor.

23 Responses to Who Laughed During the Roe v Wade Arguments?

  • The case was a complete fabrication from start to finish. I have heard from the lips of Norma McCorvey herself, Jane Roe in the case, that she fabricated the allegation that she had been raped, she gave birth to the child that is the supposed subject matter of the litigation, and that Sarah Weddington was out to overturn the abortion laws and make a name for herself and had absolutely no concern for her client, McCorvey being merely a means to Weddington’s end of legalizing abortion. McCorvey has since embraced the Faith and is a firm pro-lifer.

  • Robert A. Rowland says:

    Sarah Weddington will not chuckle or smile when she finds out what happens to someone responsible for the deliberately killing of over 59 million children. She is in a class of definitve contempt all by herself

  • Mary De Voe says:

    The Mother is considered the victim in abortion, because the Mother is destroyed. Only the woman is left. The woman would have to turn states’ evidence against herself. In any case, the woman would be granted immunity from prosecution for states’ evidence. That our Creator creates motherhood out of womanhood out of wifehood, fatherhood out of manhood out of husbandhood, ought to have indicated that our Creator endows unalienable rights to life to the newly conceived, morally and legally innocent human being, the standard of Justice for our nation, the compelling interest of the state in preserving the virgin.
    There are two victims of rape, the woman and the child. The child may not be put to death for the sins of his father. If God wants the child to live, the child will live. The woman has suffered violence. Ought she surrender her motherhood as well?
    Why is the abortionist charged with destroying human life in abortion a lesser charge than homicide?
    The benefit of a doubt and discovery were not implemented. Something so important as the life of a sovereign person in the womb was dealt with by the court with cavalier indifference, almost as though their decision, or non decision brought about reality. What this, in fact, only says is that the court does not endow sovereign personhood. The foetus could not be a sovereign person because no one said that it was a sovereign person except the state of Texas. All were waiting for the Supreme Court to say that the sovereign person in the womb is a person and protected under our constitution as “our posterity” all future generations of sovereign persons. Our Creator endows sovereign personhood.
    Once Roe v. Wade came to court, the infant child in the womb became a ward of the court. The question was asked near the end about the father’s rights to his child and the question was left unanswered. I almost heard: “Who cares” but it was not spoken. The child was abandoned to abortion.
    The infant cannot speak to God or write to God. The infant in the womb is peaceably assembling for God, praising and worshipping his Creator, thinking about God from the very first moment of his existence. Brain waves are measurable at 40 days but only because there are no instruments for better measuring. His heart beats at 18 days. DNA proves he is another person. The only thing he lacks is his mother’s love.
    The human soul of the newly begotten child in the womb was not acknowledged. His human soul was denied because the Supreme Sovereign Being was removed from the public square. The God of Life gives us His Name: “I AM”
    Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights.
    The Hippocratic Oath has been removed from medical graduates.
    Hitler adopted our eugenics program for his concentration camps.

  • ctd says:

    The oral arguments have some historical value, but it is the opinion, not what is said at oral arguments, that matters. The opinion itself, as well as the subsequent opinions, do not support the claim that “the case depended on the “fetus” having “constitutional rights.” As Weddington acknowledged, that might have made deciding that particular case a little different, but the opinion itself did not turn on whether the unborn child has constitutional rights, is a legal person, or whether the state recognizes the unborn child as a human life. The basis of the decision is that the “privacy” prenumbra gave a right to abortion, even if the unborn child was given some constitutional rights.

  • “The basis of the decision is that the “privacy” prenumbra gave a right to abortion, even if the unborn child was given some constitutional rights.”

    The basis of the opinion is that Harry Blackmun made up a right to abortion out of thin air.

    Justice White hit the nail on the head in his dissent:

    “With all due respect, I dissent. I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court’s judgment. The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant mothers [410 U.S. 222] and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes. The upshot is that the people and the legislatures of the 50 States are constitutionally dissentitled to weigh the relative importance of the continued existence and development of the fetus, on the one hand, against a spectrum of possible impacts on the mother, on the other hand. As an exercise of raw judicial power, the Court perhaps has authority to do what it does today; but, in my view, its judgment is an improvident and extravagant exercise of the power of judicial review that the Constitution extends to this Court.

    The Court apparently values the convenience of the pregnant mother more than the continued existence and development of the life or potential life that she carries. Whether or not I might agree with that marshaling of values, I can in no event join the Court’s judgment because I find no constitutional warrant for imposing such an order of priorities on the people and legislatures of the States. In a sensitive area such as this, involving as it does issues over which reasonable men may easily and heatedly differ, I cannot accept the Court’s exercise of its clear power of choice by interposing a constitutional barrier to state efforts to protect human life and by investing mothers and doctors with the constitutionally protected right to exterminate it. This issue, for the most part, should be left with the people and to the political processes the people have devised to govern their affairs.”

  • philip says:

    Donald and Fr. Levi-

    Pardon me. None?
    None at this time.
    Friday you will see future House Reps. and future Congressmen walking the National Mall in support of the unborn. This is not hyperbole. Call it prophecy.
    Our future statesmen and women will turn the table on Roe v. Wade.
    We must believe and Pray it.

  • Mary De Voe says:

    “I cannot accept the Court’s exercise of its clear power of choice by interposing a constitutional barrier to state efforts to protect human life and by investing mothers and doctors with the constitutionally protected right to exterminate it. Justice Byron White.
    The state, government, Constitution, does not create human life. The state, government, Constitution cannot authorize the power to exterminate human life. In capital punishment, the executioner represents the sovereignty of the murderer, the power of attorney to act in the murderer’s behalf, to put an end to the crime and bring the murderer to Justice. The sovereignty of the newly begotten constitutes the Constitution. With no need for correction, the executioner with power of attorney in the infant’s behalf is to protect human life.

  • Mary De Voe says:

    @ctd: “The basis of the decision is that the “privacy” prenumbra gave a right to abortion, even if the unborn child was given some constitutional rights.”

    The unborn child becomes a citizen at birth. That is why partial birth abortion was invented, to prevent citizenship. The child, not a citizen, ought to have been treated as a sovereign person with immunities, as are foreign dignitaries. Roe v. Wade was a prosecution of the unborn sovereign person, seeking his demise. How does one defend the innocent when the plaintiff portrays herself as victim violated by the innocent’s unalienable right to Life?

  • Mary De Voe says:

    Stacy Trasancos: Thank you for your kind words. The Supreme Sovereign Being, WHO exists and WHO is existence breathed our souls into us. No one exists except at the will of God. Roe v. Wade was set about to deny the existence of God in man, or the living soul of the newly begotten child of God would have been respected, cherish and loved.
    I, too, enjoy your posts.

  • Vance says:

    I’m no attorney, but I could have made a better argument than Flowers against abortion. There was plenty of scientific research and evidence in 1973 to inform the court as to when life begins. I didn’t know that Texas legalized abortion in 1854. Thank you for providing this recording. I hope that the Pro-Life activists will use a better representative than one like Mr. Flowers.

  • eddie too says:

    according to the 14th amendment to the constitution, personhood precedes birth as it says “persons born”. a person is born. that is the law of the usa.

    according to the 14th amendment, citizenship is granted to those persons born in the usa.

    while it may be a subject of intellectual debate as to when a human being becomes a “person”.

    there is no debate as to when a human being begins his or her life. the moment that a human being begins its life is an established and accepted scientific fact.

    personhood is a philosophical construct. a human being is a material reality.

  • J.A.C. says:

    It certainly is funny how a woman can have her child killed and yet we send murderers to prison. Is really sad to think that the ones in prison have certain rights but yet an unborn child does not. Is a very sad situation. Might as well just have all those murderers set free.

  • Mary De Voe says:

    eddie too says:
    “according to the 14th amendment to the constitution, personhood precedes birth as it says “persons born”. a person is born. that is the law of the usa.

    according to the 14th amendment, citizenship is granted to those persons born in the usa.

    while it may be a subject of intellectual debate as to when a human being becomes a “person”.

    there is no debate as to when a human being begins his or her life. the moment that a human being begins its life is an established and accepted scientific fact.

    personhood is a philosophical construct. a human being is a material reality.”

    When the immortal soul leaves the human body, death occurs. When God creates and ensouls the human body at fertilization, when two become one (Genesis) life begins in a whole new individual with scientific DNA, in sovereign personhood and unalienable right to LIFE. How could the Right to Life be not-unalienable as endowed by our Creator, when the Creator is Existence Himself? Or better still, How could the individual human being in existence not have the sovereign personhood of the Sovereign Person of God, his Creator? Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights… from Thomas Aquinas.
    Again, If God has created an individual in His image and likeness with free will and intellect, God has endowed the individual with unalienable right to lIfe and sovereign personhood. Personhood comes from God. Citizenship comes from the state, the servant of the people. Rightfully so, “…a person is born” Can you be a living human being and not be a person? A person is immutable. If the person is alive, the person is a person. The human being is a person from conception to eternal life. The human being is composed of body and soul, whereto God has endowed unalienable rights to the person. (Not so with animals) Roe v. Wade redefined the human being, you and me, and our posterity, as at some point, the sovereign person is subject to creation or redefinition by the state. If nothing else, legally, Roe ought to have given the unborn person the benefit of the doubt or asked for discovery and acknowledged the fatherhood of God. The Immaculate Conception, the Blessed Virgin is conceived without sin, sovereign virginity and personhood from conception, and she is our Mother. Who are we but sovereign persons conceived into the sins of our first parents.

    Curtis: “May God Bless you and fortify you for the tribulation we will soon face, Mary De Voe. Your words are beautiful and inspirational.”
    My words are from (the Person of) God. I pray for courage to face the tribulation and the strength to overcome. The rosary.

  • Mary De Voe says:

    I have to add after reading again the words of Justice Potter Stewart: ”mother thought that it bothered her health having the child around, she could have it killed.” Weddington: “That’s correct.” Sovereign personhood is infused with the human soul at the conception of life and is immutable. What happens as the child grows is his personality.

  • Mary De Voe says:

    And more:My five children were raised and taught “On Becoming a Person” the Carl Rogers’ heresy that a human being becomes a person rather than being created in sovereignty with an immortal and rational personhood in his created and endowed human soul. This heresy denies that the human being is composed of body and soul, but must grow into personhood rather than having the personhood of his immortal soul breathing forth his personality. This is the heresy that Jesus Christ did not know that He is Divine and the Son of the Living God. This is the heresy that Jesus “grew” into wisdom and grace, virtues that were not His as a sovereign Person. This is the heresy that underpins Roe v. Wade, the denial of the human soul and its sovereign personhood from the beginning of human life. This is the heresy that enabled the atheist to remove the sovereign Person of God from the public square and allowed the demons to prey on us, ourselves and our posterity.

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