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Ken Koehler, West Fargo, Published July 29 2013

Letter: It is Forum that ‘missed point’ about ND abortion legislation

I was disappointed in the short-sighted attitude expressed by The Forum editorial in response to the recent temporary injunction preventing one of our North Dakota abortion laws from taking effect Aug. 1 (see “Next step hate mail to judge?” July 24).

While the headline communicated the editorial’s prejudices, it is more about the lack of respect for the process of change that disappoints me. With Roe v Wade still the law of the land regarding abortion, everyone should have not only expected that recent North Dakota legislation would be challenged, but should also know that this is part of the process needed to build a strong enough case to eventually overturn an improper and unjust Supreme Court decision made back in 1973 (the interpretation that the Constitution provides mothers with the right to kill their living, though not yet born, human offspring).

Indeed, North Dakota is but one of several states taking part in this process as it becomes ever clearer to more people and their elected representatives that the separate beating hearts of the human beings living inside their mother’s wombs need to be legally protected.

Upon signing the bill into law, Gov. Jack Dalrymple clearly articulated that he understands the process by stating that this is “a legitimate attempt by a state legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade ... because the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed state restrictions on the performing of abortions and because the Supreme Court has never considered this precise restriction, the constitutionality of this measure is an open question.” And yes, there will be a cost involved with the process, both financial and personal, just as there are with all great causes.

Yet The Forum (along with others) continues to belittle and even mock the decision of the Legislature and governor in their attempt to let this process of changing laws work itself out. What if the United States had simply accepted unchallenged the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision of 1857, which ultimately allowed black-skinned people to be bought and sold, and even whipped and killed due to their then “legally declared” non-person” status? What if William Wilberforce and others in England had done the same instead of working for years to build the case that eventually overturned the injustice of slavery?

Instead of assuming that anyone who disagrees with Roe must be a “radical cabal of anti-abortion lawmakers” who have “missed the point” and whose next step is going to be “sending hate mail” to the federal judge who issued the injunction, I would request that you recognize there is more than one side to this hugely important and controversial issue of human rights and to be thankful that we live in a country where we have the freedom to challenge our laws through a process of legal change.

Koehler, West Fargo, is a Christian educator and pro-life activist.