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The Constitution Knows

What is the justification for abortion?  Is abortion a moral or therapeutic concept?  Medical or legal?  Sociological or personal?  These considerations underlie Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer, a narrative of the comprehensive criminal enterprise of Kermit Gosnell, M.D., Philadelphia’s notorious baby killer and drug trafficker, by the Irish journalists Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer.  Alas, in this unfocused and repetitive but important book, the authors fail to identify the central evil that their accounting reveals: not the when, where, or how of the abortion-related killing, but the fact that it occurs at all.

The right to abortion that shielded Gosnell and his customers from the law for decades comes, we are told, from the U.S. Constitution—somewhere, perhaps, between the 9th and 14th Amendments.  The Ninth Amendment protects rights not enumerated in the Constitution.  The 14th contains Due Process and Equal Protection clauses.  Where, exactly, the right to abortion appears is not important.  The Constitution is living, breathing, protean.  It is all powerful.  It is the product of ancestors and spirits.  It knows what it is doing.

To divine the Constitution’s meaning, we look to justices, the Constitution’s mediums. ...

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