Abortion Creates Family Destruction

Family law is not commonly presented in a restorative context in a law school course on family law, but law students at Regent University are encouraged to take the initiative to think critically about family law and policy and how it fosters family restoration, or family breakdown. Justin Drach, 2012 Juris Doctor Candidate and current Family Law student has this perspective on a recent controversial court case on a woman's right to choose: 
 In January 2012 one of the most appalling cases of abuse of discretion occurred in a Massachusetts probate court. Norfolk Probate Judge Christina L. Harms, ordered that a 32-year-old woman known as “Mary Moe,” who was mentally ill, be "coaxed, bribed, or even enticed ... by ruse" into a hospital where she would be sedated and an abortion performed. (Read the case opinion in its entirety here.)
Even more appalling, the judge ordered that any medical facility that performed the abortion also sterilize Moe at the same time "to avoid this painful situation from recurring in the future." By now, I would imagine that the lawyers reading this know what is coming next, but first, I cannot help but to think about the Nazi "doctors" and the atrocities committed during World War II by Josef Mengel and his colleagues. Something is obviously inherently wrong with any judge ordering an abortion and sterilization.
Fortunately, a Massachusetts Appeals Court overturned Judge Harms's ruling, and skewered her in the process. The appellate decision noted that Moe “has consistently expressed her opposition to abortion” and likely would “continue to do so if she were competent.” As for the sterilization order, state Appellate Court Associate Justice Andrew R. Grainger wrote: “No party requested this measure, none of the attendant procedural requirements has been met, and the judge appears to have simply produced the requirement out of thin air.” Essentially, the judge was depriving Moe of the constitutionally protected fundamental right to procreate without due process of law. As a completely separate issue, Moe's fetal child is still being subjected to the drugs that Moe must take for her mental illness.
Now for the argument that everyone is expecting. 
The underlying issue here is clearly abortion, rather than Moe's best interests. Since coming to law school, I have had the opportunity to expand my knowledge on the subject. I have met several wonderful advocates against abortion who are zealous in their beliefs and their arguments are quite sound. Persuasive enough to change the philosophy of this hard-headed "devil's advocate," (I find it amusing, and with tongue-in-cheek humor, to call myself the "devil's advocate" at Regent School of Law), I've come to realize that most people do not recognize the collateral damage upon the family that abortion brings. While I am not going to reveal my exact philosophy so that you can use it against me during a future Supreme Court confirmation hearing, I will tell you that this is a case where abortion seems to be a catalyst in one woman's mental illness. Ironically, the first abortion, if not for logical or pro-life judges, has almost led to a second abortion!
Because of a previous abortion, Moe suffered a psychotic breakdown when she was a college student. Thereafter, she believed people were staring at her and stating that she killed her baby. She becomes agitated and emotional when discussing the pregnancy that ended in an abortion. During the probate proceeding, Moe states that she is "very Catholic," does not believe in abortion, and would never have an abortion. Her parents, who have been appointed as Moe's guardian, however, have stated that she is not an "active" Catholic. Moe's parents seem to believe that it is in the best interests of their daughter to terminate her pregnancy. Interestingly, Moe's parents are also caring for her minor son.
Because there is a likely chance that some of you who are reading this blog may not yet have a personal faith in Christ (If you are one of these people, I encourage you to look into it. And aside from the factual evidence for the person, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I offer you simple reasoning on why you should consider being a Christian: 1. Christians are generally more happy in all aspects of life. 2. Happy people live longer. 3. Pascal's Wager (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_Wager) clarifies the wager each individual makes: If God exists, it's infinitely good to believe, as you enjoy life now and eternity. If He does not exist, you have lost nothing, and enjoyed life. So overall it's a better wager to believe), I want to highlight how an abortion contributed to the mental illness of Mary Moe. Additionally, the repercussions of that decision are eroding this particular family. Furthermore, the motives of the Department of Health initially, and then Moe's parents now for seeking an abortion of their 32 year old daughter's fetus are not clear.
As a law student I am taught to analyze the facts in light of the law. Here, relevant facts to consider include 1) the parents' assertion that Moe is not an active Catholic, 2) that they feel an abortion is in the best interests of Moe, 3) that the parents are caring for Moe's minor son, 4) the financial and time burden of another minor child during their golden years, and 5) the burden and frustration of caring for their mentally ill daughter. The law, however, generally protects vulnerable individuals like Mary Moe. I fail to see how any of these motives supersede the due process rights of Moe. Nor can I see that these facts justify subjecting a child to excrutiating and fatal pain. Nor can I see that this ruling can actually be in the best interests of Mary Moe. Furthermore, where is the father of either child? Is he in Moe’s life? What is his take on the matter?
There is an inherent breakdown in Mary Moe's family on many levels, and it is quite sad, tragic even. The Massachusetts Department of Health and lower court have further fostered that breakdown, all to the great detriment of Mary Moe. And all these sad realities are because of abortion.
With a cohesive family, and dare I say a vibrant, personal Christian faith and values, an individual may be significantly less likely to be in such a quandry. While I hope you may have been entertained with my Saturday morning that turned into Saturday afternoon thoughts, I more importantly hope I convinced you of the two things you now know I set out to accomplish. Family restoration is never possible in an abortion context. Now, back to chasing around my 18 month old!


  1. Thank you Justin for your insight on the matter. I must say that prior to coming to Regent I didn't really give much thought to abortion. I was neither Pro-Choice, nor Pro-Life. I was indifferent, it's selfish to think that my indifference was a result of never being in that situation myself... and that I would never have to be.

    I met someone at a job before coming here who had 3 children. She would have had 4 had she not aborted the first. She felt such pain talking about the child she "gave up" (euphemism), it haunted her until she birthed her first child. She felt it was her second chance. Unlike Moe, she did have a choice in the matter.

    As I mentioned before, I didn't think much about abortion before coming here until one day I actually pondered why it is such a big deal especially in the Christian community. And I had a revelation. Our adversary uses the same old tricks, he never comes up with anything new... just different methods. There was infanticide around the time Moses was born, infanticide when Jesus was born... abortion is just a new method to an old trick.

    While I haven't joined any Pro-Life groups, nor do I volunteer at Planned Parenthood, I am at least now thinking about the evil behind abortion and hopefully I will make the "right choice" if I am ever in a situation where I have to choose.

  2. I find that I am conflicted on Mary Moe's situation. On one hand, if she is not able to take care of the child and she requires a guardian then an abortion might be in her and the child's best interests. On the other, if she has the child, making this child her second child, could she recover from the trama she seems to be experiencing? I see this a a very emotionally charged situation and it is very hard to pinpoint the correct decision.

    It seems like her guardians, parents, are unwilling to consider the alternative of adoption of this child. Adoption might be the best answer for all involved. Mary does not have to have the abortion that they are pushing for and her parents would not have to raise another of her children. It could be a win/win situation and allow a family who is seeking an infant to add to their family.

    My one nagging question in Mary's case is - who is the father and how did this mentally handicapped woman become pregnant in the first place. It appears that her guardians are not keeping a good enough watch on her to keep her from being taken advantage of or worse.

  3. The other missing problem underlying this entire situation is why Mary Moe is having sexual relations with anyone given her current psychological state. That by itself seems like a failing on the part of her guardians. She does not sound anywhere near a healthy state to engage in a physical relationship.

    That said, I have always failed to see how an abortion in the child's best interest, as asserted by the parents here. It can only be viewed as a one-sided interest. Saying that the baby has a better interest in not living makes little sense. Particularly when the only thing you can do is assume on behalf of the child that this assumption is correct.

    The first thing to be done is to remove the daughter from these parents. If she is incapable of caring for a child, I fail to see how sexual relationships leading to more children is in her best interests. She needs a better guardian and psychological help. Another abortion would only seem to exacerbate the situation, not help it.

  4. The fact that the judge said Mary should be coerced, tricked or forced into an abortion tells us Mary probably has more capacity than we are led to believe. Further, how is it that according to the pro-abortion movement, a 12 year old girl has the capacity and should be able to choose an abortion, without her parent's knowledge or consent, yet this grown woman with mental deficiency is given no presumption of having any capactiy to refuse an abortion or to have a child? Abortion is about power and control. Girls, women and children deserve better than to have violence against themselves as their "best" or "only option." Why didn't this judge hold a hearing about terminating Mary's parental rights instead? Perhaps Mary is more capable than the facts show. This case reaks of bioeugenics...then again, that is the backbone of the founding of Planned Parenthood, so pro-abortionists should be comfortable with the argument. Unborn children are either human beings worthy of protection of their lives or they are not. Advocates for abortion must come to terms with that reality and have the honest discussion that abortion kills children but it is ok because they are unable to speak for themselves to assert their right to live. Instead, proponents enshroud themselves with the words of "choice." I fail to see what choice the judge is giving Mary in this matter.

  5. There are many opinions left to be considered, Justin. THANK YOU.

  6. I do agree with Mr. Drach that abortion can create family destruction. I had a discussion with my own mother just recently on this issue. We discussed the state restrictions on abortion, the affect of abortion on married couples, and how the law could foster family restoration.

    After taking family law, I do feel that the law should foster family restoration. I spoke with my mother regarding the outcomes for a restriction that would be imposed only on married couples considering abortion. In an ideal world, I picture a married couple making this decision together. I picture them weighing the outcomes for either growing their family, or proceeding with an abortion.

    Therefore, I would advocate that married couples should have both parents sign off before proceeding with an abortion procedure. My reasoning centers on the premise that this decision is not just that of the mother, but for the couple. I feel that this process would encourage family restoration because families would have to make this decision together.

    My mother disagreed with my logic and pointed out several weaknesses in my opinion. She mentioned that not all married couples have a strong enough foundation for a line of communication to discuss such a serious decision.

    I greatly respect my mother's thoughts on the subject, but I do find it interesting to continue to debate the issue. I would hope to reach a solution to help bring families together. Strong families should be the foundation for our country moving forward.