The "Double Whammy" of January 22, 1973: Roe V Wade & Doe V Bolton


By Larry Peterson

This coming Thursday is the 42nd anniversary of Roe vs Wade and  the annual March for Life will take place in Washington, D.C. Thousands upon thousands of “Pro-Life” advocates will  brave the freezing weather in defense of the unborn.  Millions more across the country will gather at state capitols, cities and small towns  lending their support to the most defenseless of the defenseless.  The hopes and prayers of all these folks (including myself) are for the High Court to overturn Roe vs Wade.  I am  a “pro-life” person who had an “up close and personal” experience with the miracle of life and the pain of death all on the same day.  If I had harbored any doubt whatsoever about the “viability of a fetus” that doubt was vanquished  forever 36 years ago.

At the beginning of Loretta’s sixth month of pregnancy she unexpectedly went into labor. Bleeding profusely she was rushed by ambulance to the hospital and our fourth child, a daughter, was born. She also lived and died very quickly, within minutes.  I had called ahead to Holy Trinity Catholic Church and a priest, Father Murray, was waiting for our arrival. Our baby was baptized and buried with my parents. She was our child and was a gift from God. We had  been preparing  for the arrival but it came three months earlier than expected.  No matter, she was a real person who lived and died.  Her name is on a tombstone. It simply reads: Theresa Mary Peterson. September 6, 1978—September 6,1978.

Theresa was not simply a “fetus”.  She was not “products of conception”. She was not an “annoyance”, or an extra pair of shoes to worry about or another potentially “sleepless night”. She did not mean  less money in the bank.  No, Theresa Mary was worth far more than any of that multiplied a thousand times over.  Nothing can change the fact that she did exist, albeit for the briefest of moments. In God’s world there is no “time” as we know it. HE lives in the “Eternal Now”.  Theresa Mary now lives there with HIM. (I like to think she is close friends with her namesake, St. Therese)

My own daughter was born premature for unknown reasons. But she was alive and fully intact from head to toe. She only lacked  additional time in the womb.  Today she would have probably been saved. Knowing that, I cannot help but  think of the millions of little people like Theresa Mary who have been intentionally put to death in a heinous fashion because they  they might cost too much money or might interfere with a career.  Maybe they were vanquished simply because they were an unexpected inconvenience. How many have been eradicated simply because people take no responsibility for having sex, getting pregnant, and deciding that this “thing” has to go before it “ruins” their lives.

 Here is a quick “news flash” (hopefully at least a few young people will see it): You can actually wait until you are married to have sex. Then you have it with the person you are married to and expect to spend your life with. That type of relationship captures the true beauty and wonder of not only the sex act but also of having children. It is the continuation of God’s plan for the human race.  It comes from the Natural Law.

Today many people mock those concepts. Self-gratification seems to be the secular battle cry for continual pleasure. This is an illusion that oftentimes simply leads to sadness. Having sex just to have sex, can be demeaning and self-destructive. In addition, it is NOT the same thing as breathing, eating, and sleeping. Those bodily functions are instinctive and necessary for us to live. We do NOT have to have sex to live. We won’t die if we say NO.  Many people actually choose to live a life of celibacy.  It is OKAY to do so. And make no mistake, none of them die from NOT doing “it”.

January 22nd  will be the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling known as “Roe vs Wade”.  Simply put, the court, by a 7 to 2 majority, said that abortion is a citizen’s fundamental right under the United States Constitution.  You are all familiar with how that ruling  has torn our nation apart.  What many people do not seem to be aware of is the other ruling that took place on that very same day.  It provided the proverbial  “double whammy” to the abortion issue. That  ruling is called “Doe Vs Bolton”.  Once again, it was a 7 to 2 majority vote affirming the ruling.  The US Supreme Court had given birth to the “Roe & Doe” twins.

The ruling in the “Doe Vs Bolton” case is summed up here: (The link supplies the details:
The Court’s opinion in Doe vs bolton stated that a woman may obtain an abortion after viability, if necessary to protect her health. The Court defined “health” as follows:

         “Whether in the words of the Georgia statute, “an abortion is necessary” is a professional judgement that the Georgia physician will be called upon to make routinely. We agree with the District Court, 319 F. Supp., at 1058, that the medical judgement may be exercised in the light of all factors-physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age-relevant to the well being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.”

Amazing as it is, if Roe vs Wade was ever overturned, Doe vs Bolton would take its place. Doe vs Bolton allows for abortion “after viability” for almost any conceivable reason. Read the excerpt above closely. According to Doe vs Bolton an abortion could be permitted at full term because the baby’s crying when born might cause too much stress for someone in the house who has a psychological problem. Far fetched? Not really. Just get a doctor to sign off on it.

God help us today and tomorrow.

                                                                    copyright 2105 Larry Peterson

"For This Unborn Child, Mom Had Her Back"

Ten minutes away from the house was a hospital and the paramedics wanted to take her there. She had lost a lot of blood and they were concerned for her life. She was 33 years old and had three kids. The risk was too great. She did not care. “NO! NO! NO! You have to take me to Holy Name.”

“But it is too far. It is more than a half hour drive. Do you want to die?”

“I don’t give a damn. I’ll be fine. I want this child treated properly and if she is not going to make it I want her baptized.”

There was no concern for her own well being. At that very moment it was she and her unborn baby against the world and she was the only one who cared. If her child was going to die she would definitely have lived first. She would have existed. She was a person, God’s gift to a family and to the world no matter how supposedly insignificant. Her momma had her back. They relented and headed to Holy Name Hospital.

When the ambulance pulled into the emergency room entrance her husband was waiting and so was Father Murray, the priest from nearby Holy Trinity Catholic Church. As they removed the gurney from the ambulance the blood had soaked upward past her head and was already matted in her hair. The emergency room doctor looked and said, “Oh my God, get her upstairs stat. Let’s hurry.”

The baby girl did not make it. She was baptized by the priest and her mom survived despite a tremendous loss of blood. Some of the folks on staff were amazed that she had, in fact, made it.

This woman, who was also my wife, had an innate need to protect her unborn daughter. It did not matter how big this baby was. It did not matter if the child was three or five or six years old or still unborn. Her mom needed to protect her. It was not crazy or ridiculous or stupid what she did. It was heroic. She was willing to die for her child, born or unborn. She would have taken a bullet if that is what had been necessary. Nothing else mattered except saving her baby. That is love my friends. Plain and simple.

Theresa Mary Peterson was born on September 6, 1978. Theresa Mary Peterson died on September 6, 1978. On October 3, 1978, Theresa Mary, her remains in a tiny white casket, was transported by limousine to Gate of  Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla, NY. She was interred with her grandparents. Her mother saved her because her mother was willing to die for her. Because of that heroic effort the world knows that Theresa Mary did exist even though she had only  breathed for a few moments. There is no difference with time in   God’s world.  Everything takes place in the “eternal now”.  One second, one day, 100 years–no difference. So, it does not matter how old she was.

As hundreds of thousands, (many of them young folks) participate in the March for Life today,  we should remember that  when they mention a number like 55,000,000 abortions over 40 years, it has taken one person at  a time to reach that number. One person like Theresa Mary, whether smaller or bigger than she, but one  person nonetheless. Finally,to all the moms (dads too) who have lost children through miscarriages, God bless you all. That was a true loss of a family member  and “not for the best” as some might have suggested. You had every right to grieve. Losing a child is a terrible thing.