I was a very little girl during the 1960s, so I wasn't exposed to whole lot of racial tension. Except in the 5th grade at Superior Street Elementary School, I had a black classmate who could run track like the wind! I heard someone say, “the Willis boy” ought to be with his own kind, but I didn’t know it was a racist remark. I thought they meant he ought to be with people who could run track as fast as he could, because our school team wasn't very good.
I admit my middle-class white family was unusual. After all, for a while, my twice-divorced Grandma dated a very tall black man I only remember as “Mr. Harrison.” He sounded like James Earl Jones, drove a Porsche, and hid boxes of Nabisco Snap Cookies in his suits pockets for us to find.
So it wasn’t until I was in junior high school that I learned that some white people didn’t want black people to drink from the same water fountain, or go to the same schools. I remember thinking, “Sometimes grownups are really stupid.”
Funny, that’s the same reaction I get now from teenagers as they try to figure out abortion laws that don’t make sense.
Most people don't know that the part of Constitution which the Supreme Court used to grant Black Americans Civil Rights and basic human dignity is the same part of the constitution that was used to deny the humanity and right to life of the unborn.
In Brown v. Board of Education 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for public schools to be segregated. Their decision was based on the 14th amendment which says no state can deny a person life, liberty or property without the due process of law, and every person is entitled to equal protection under the law. The Court ruled that school segregation was a violation of both the Equal Protection and the Due Process clauses. This ruling was the first of many that helped us as a nation look beyond skin color or class to see the person inside.
In 1973, the Supreme Court, used the “Equal Protection” and “Due Process” clauses to rule that abortion does not deny a PERSON equal protection, or their life without due process, because the unborn are NOT people protected by the Constitution. According to Roe v. Wade, only the mother is a citizen protected by law.
The justices decided that "up until the moment a baby is physically separated from the mommy," the little girl or boy is the mother’s property to discard or deliver as she sees fit. This is what a “woman’s right to choose” means. A woman’s right to choose which of her children will live.
Because citizenship (and thereby protection of the government), isn’t conferred until complete physical separation has occurred, it’s led to the practice of gruesome procedures such as “partial birth abortion,” where part of the baby is still inside the woman. It was this procedure that led to another schizophrenic legal requirement.
The “Born Alive Infant Protection Act,” which was passed in 2002, requires that, if during an abortion procedure, the infant should become separated from the mommy accidentally, the doctor who delivered the live baby by mistake, is required to do everything possible to save that baby’s life, or he will face criminal penalties, from the same government who might actually be paying for the abortion.
I still say to myself, "Sometimes grownup are really stupid."
I also can't help but wonder what Martin Luther King Jr. would have had to say about the Supreme Court decision made only 5 years after his death, which said one human being still has the right to treat another human being as "property."