Marriage Reflections

Marriage in a Godless culture wouldn’t make sense. Not when people feel they can have multiple relationships, not be responsible for the children they create outside of marriage, and they can be free from submission and committing to another person.

But, marriage was never man’s idea, but God’s: from the start, He made them male and female and joined them in covenant as one.

You see, marriage makes sense when it represents what it is supposed to, a picture of Jesus’ relationship with the church. When a husband and wife in Christ marries, it is to God’s glory. So, what He joins together in covenant, man should never try to part.

If you feel called not to marry, fine, it is a gift, then, because abstinence is the gift from God. But, if you can’t abstain, marry. That is God’s good plan.

Seriously. Our culture is quickly forgetting WHY we marry. It is to reflect Jesus’ relationship with us, the church. We need God to revive our country and the whole world with His truth, conviction, revelation, and Holy fire again. We need Jesus!!!

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Ephesians 5:31‭-‬32

Within One Day, One Month, One Year…

Today marks a year since I found out for real that my dad had cancer.  To be honest, I just couldn’t believe it.  He passed away within the week.  A part of me at times is still very mad at the hospital staff.  Why didn’t they work to save his life?  What does a DNR have to do with it?  Aren’t doctors supposed to do everything they can to save a person’s life?  Of course, I didn’t attend the meeting with the doctor, so I don’t honestly know how terrible my dad’s cancer had progressed. But, I had just seen him in April, and there was no talk of cancer then. How can doctors suddenly find a gross stage of terminal cancer when they failed to find it all along?  These things perplexed and angered me.  All along, I had hoped that none of it was true. I prayed he would be well.

I can still remember how just last year I was crying out, “Jesus! Jesus!” over the phone as my brother was telling me the news–for real.  There was no way to deny it anymore. But, shock does that to a person for a season.  I was in shock, and I couldn’t accept it.  But, I remember that after writing a five page paper for my American Politics Class, suddenly truth settled it.  I had to go home.  Everyone else was there at the hospital already.

Within the week, dad passed away, and within the month, we buried him. All that within this year.  Nobody talks about it anymore.  And, I try to tell myself to not rehash it all.  But, I’m a writer.  This is my way of grieving.  After all, June is his birthday, and he passed away a day before his birthday. June is also Father’s Day.  No wonder it’s all hitting me right now.

Since last June, I’ve moved from Texas to Virginia.  I’ve finished 2 Constitutional Law Classes and a class on Presidency.  I have also become part of a wonderful church, and I now live in Chesapeake.

Since last June, I have also learned to care for someone to find that God had others plans, and I have, instead, poured my life into teaching 6th graders in a Title One school.  More are the children of the desolate woman, the Word says.  Somedays, I wonder if God will ever allow me to marry and have a family of my own.  Then, I realize how He has filled my lack with His Presence and allowed me to minister to a lot of hurting families.  Maybe in heaven that is how family works.

Today, I watched the Norfolk community serve its community by providing food, shoes, and opportunities for families.  It was amazing to see churches, businesses, and non-profit organizations coming together to serve the area.  I also got to have some heart to heart conversations where I heard myself speak about my heart’s desires.

Yes, a lot has happened within this year. But, these are the things I know.  I know that dad gave his heart to Jesus Christ; I will see him again at Home.  I also know that God has brought me here to Virginia to continue trusting in His Promises, and He has been faithful to use me in the schools and community.  Furthermore, I know He is with me.  He is with me in every sweet word of encouragement I receive from new friendships and from my older friendships.  He is with me in the provisions He has granted me here on this ground.

I bless the Lord.  I know He is going to do something truly amazing in the coming days.  When we choose to say yes to Jesus, He is able to do extraordinary things in and through our lives.

I decided to get back into blogging again.  I hope this entry blessed you.  No matter where you are in this season, I understand how within one day, one month, one year—so much can happen. Imagine how God sees it all! To him, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years, like 1 day.  I love that HE is the constant in all of this.  That’s what makes everything hold together for good.

Blessings in Christ,

Christine

🌿I Am a Slave of Jesus Christ

People don’t like to hear the word slave. It’s a deeply offensive term these days that brings back memories of our painful history in America, a time when our nation used a portion of our humanity for selfish greed and personal gain.
Centuries later we are still fighting about that injustice and abuse.  We are still oozing with pain over it.

We fought a Revolutionary War for all Americans to be free of tyrany, but in our very own backyard there would be evidence questioning what our Founding Fathers actually fought for.  DO we hold these truths to be self-evident that ALL men are created equal?  Obviously, scars still show that wasn’t the case at the time.

Over the years the battle has been fought, and many victories have been won regarding slavery and racial discrimination.

You would think that after President Lincoln’s great Emancipation Proclaimation and the bloody Civil War, our nation would finally realize our great mistake and get it right, that we would finally embrace equality for all humanity.

Yet, it took a civil rights movement and more shedding of blood and legislation to guarantee a right we already have before our Creator.  Segregation. Marches. Civil disobedience.  The assassination of MLK, Jr.  After all this, it’s finally written down under the 14th Amendment in man’s annuls:  all are equal.  All are free.  So, why are we still in 2017 fighting this battle?

Still today our country is fighting over color, race, past mistakes, and our longing for freedom.  And quite frankly, I believe it all comes down to so many people irrespective of skin color, tone, or shade feeling so locked up inside their hearts.

We scorn the word, slave; nevertheless, so many people of all skin tones, are still walking around with heaviness of that hurtful heritage branded on their memories and hearts.  No wonder the fight still feels on.  Some have still not yet been set free.

It’s one thing to be a free on the outside, quite another to be free on the inside.

The truth is, we ALL long to be FREE!!! It’s not a color or race condition, but a human condition.

I wish I could just say I am sorry and cry with those still hurting until the anger finally gives way to honest confessions of grief, fear, incredulous shame—whatever is keeping a soul still chained to yesterday. If only we could muster enough courage to say “Enough!”  Because I do believe that kind of bondage is NOT supposed to stick around even for another generation.

Furthermore, I believe that bondage is found in every shade of humanity because what I am describing now is man’s sinful condition. Being a slave to sin is not about the color of our skin, but the condition of our hearts.

Sometimes life is full of ironies and vanities.

In history, God’s own people were sold as slaves in Egypt for a season. Eventually, they were set free to head toward the promise land.  Notice how future generations who made it to the Promise Land didn’t just constantly fight Egyptians in their hearts and remain in bondage through offense to their past history.  Nor did they expect a validation from what happened in the past.  No, instead, they learned to praise God and thank Him for their deliverance out of bondage by crossing that Red Sea Road of faith into freedom. They were no longer slaves; they were FREE!!!

Right now there is great offense over Confederate statues and names, (you know, those statues that rarely anyone but history nerds pay attention to) because there is a portion of our humanity that still feels the hurt caused by that era. And, one by one stone statues are being chiseled down to heal offenses.

But, earlier this summer, I learned a semi driver died because he hit the crane that was on its way to remove one of those statues in Dallas. Seriously, should a slavery issue from centuries ago still take innocent lives today?  If so, what was the Civil Rights Movement all about?  Didn’t we declare freedom for all?  Didn’t we make it a law of our land?  So, why all this bondage still to the past?  Why all the fighting?

I believe it has everything to do with the condition of our hearts no matter what color we are. No amount of tearing down statues will change any person’s true condition of the soul.

God says in His Word that we are ALL slaves to sin or righteousness. As for me, I choose to be a slave of Jesus Christ, a slave of righteousness.

But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

Romans 6:17‭-‬18 

🌿The Unexpected Gift of Election 2016:Donald J. Trump and His Relationship with the “Forgotten” Americans

Introduction

President Donald J. Trump was an unexpected gift to the United States on Nov. 20, 2016; however, like some surprises, not everyone was willing to accept him.  When he began his race for Presidency in June of 2015, all the odds were against him.  Political analysts highlighted a list of his deficiencies;  the media, like CBS for example, exploited him for their personal marketing gain during his campaign and spoke disparagingly about him throughout;  and although Trump was successful in the business world for decades, dealing with others auspiciously in both domestic and international relations, it was evident that within politics, he was an outsider, not part of the political establishment, not even accepted by his own party.  As a matter of fact, according to Ceaser, Busch, and Pitney, “GOP leaders were at a loss to stop a reality TV star with seemingly unlimited wealth and almost universal name recognition.”   Perhaps it was these outcast elements that helped Trump relate to those whom he would best serve and who would in the end help him win his Presidency.

To those in the opposing party and other multiple factions across the nation, dubious and ready to take offense at his every word, action, and policy, Donald Trump was simply a bombastic icon, a too-familiar brand; he was mocked, chastised, and judged for his past moral failures, his current temperamental weaknesses, and his apparent lack of political etiquette. How could such a man then outrun every other candidate and accomplish the improbable, becoming the 45th President of the United States of America?

Some in the evangelical Christian community would assert that the game changer was that President Trump found real Christianity during his campaign. Although Trump had not officially spoken out about his personal relationship with Jesus Christ, key pastors like Robert Jeffress began serving and promoting Trump because they had confidence that Trump would protect evangelical Christians in America.  At the time of the election, Christian consciences and rights were being violated through lawsuits.  In multiple private businesses throughout the nation, evangelical Christians were being forced to compromise their consciences or to pay penalties to the government. America, a place once known as a haven of religious freedom was slowly becoming a place of persecution for those of faith.  Therefore, when Pastor Jeffress stated, “I can tell you from experience, if Donald Trump is elected President of the United States, we who are evangelical Christians are going to have a true friend in the White House,”  regardless of President Trump’s personal faith, this acknowledgement gave the unsettled Christians hope. What they didn’t realize was that Trump was also providing hope to many more of his constituents, as well.

Keeping these details in mind, after analyzing Ceaser, Busch, and Pitney’s book, Defying the Odds and reading Richard Neustadt’s Presidential Powers and Jeffrey Tulis’ The Rhetorical Presidency, I assert that the fundamentals and contingencies surrounding the 2016 election impacted President Trump’s relationship with the American people in a more positive manner than what most are willing to admit: President Trump has been able to begin building trust with the people by keeping his promises to the “Forgotten” Americans.

Fundamentals and Contingencies During the Election

Ceaser, Busch, and Pitney ask the question, “Are presidential elections mostly about ‘fundamentals,’ or mostly about ‘contingencies?’”   They later admit that like all elections, the 2016 election was a mixture of both.  If we are able to see fundamentals as the practical groundwork, framework, and blueprint of what is taking root in America, then perhaps we can see contingencies in elections as the means of potential fruit for the future. Pragmatic roots and the hope of economic fruit were among several reasons why hardworking Americans had favor for President Trump during his campaign.

One of the fundamentals that highly stand out during the election process of 2016 was the need for jobs in the economy. When Obama took office, he inherited an unemployment rate of about 11.1 million according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in December of 2008.  However, by 2014, the rate had become 17.7 million unemployed people, and in 2015, the rate had been 16.9 million people unemployed, showing a decrease of 783,000.

Yet more employment is what the people expected the new President to provide. To work toward this end, Donald Trump made promises during his campaign to blue-collar workers that he would make America great again by bringing jobs back to America.  According to Ceaser, Busch, and Pitney, automation had put blue-collar workers out of jobs, and they were also afraid of the rise in economic globalization.  From automobile jobs being sent to Mexico, to the rise of undocumented immigration, the native-born working whites were feeling the effects of not only job loss, but also wage depression.   Ceaser, Busch, and Pitney state that  “Between 2007 and 2016, whites between the ages of twenty-five and fifty-four lost about 6.5 million more jobs than they gained,” whereas Hispanics, Asians, and African-Americans all gained employment during that time.   As a result, resentment began growing regarding discrimination.  Trump would step onto this scene, however, and reach out to “the forgotten” blue-collar Americans in the Mid-west and Pennsylvania, and this outreach would work toward his electoral gain and building trust with the American workers.

The interesting part about this fundamental puzzle piece is that in a sense it was all made possible by a contingency, Trump’s spirited personality and his “demotic rhetoric” with the people.   Although Trump was a billionaire, as he campaigned, he grew in public prestige as “the people’s billionaire.”  Trump found that he didn’t need to identify himself as an elite with a super PAC or any other party organization.  Instead, he simply related directly with the people through his rallies and social media.  As a result, he came to identify himself as a “spokesperson of a popular movement.”   Whereas most politicians were busy chasing money to make a difference, Trump already had the money.  He shifted his focus to chasing “the forgotten,” and as a result, he won their votes.

Certainly, Tulis would see Trump’s rising as “soft-demagoguery.”   After all, Trump saw himself as a solution for the white working class; he would bridge the apparent gap between his prosperity and their need for a job by extending his attention on their behalf and drawing closer to them in understanding. Then, he would assure them by making campaign promises to bring back jobs that would serve them when he became President.   However, to Trump it wasn’t just a speech to gain their loyalty, but his word.

Consequently, in his is first 100 days of office President Trump did keep his word to his constituents.  He effectively used his Presidential power to decisively withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.  Also, he chose to approve the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL Pipeline and roll back anti-coal regulations, as well as implement the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order.   Neustadt would have been proud that Trump used his Presidential power to build his reputation as a decisive leader in the first 100 days of office, building his prestige and trust with the American people by keeping his promises to them.

Consequently, Trump used some Neustadtian principles also to pass the above orders, which additionally built up the President’s credibility and relationship with the people.  He made certain that all Americans knew he had signed executive orders by publishing them on his White House homepage and sharing them on social media for the public to see.  In addition, he held press conferences, so the country could know about his executive orders. Furthermore, any directives he issued out to his cabinet members were understood and astutely applied, and they were fully aware that he had authority to sign the executive orders, terminate agreements, and begin new ones, all on his own authority without Congress (although we certainly found courts jumped in to try and stop him).

The fundamentals and contingency plan were clear:  America needed a better economy and more jobs, and the fruit would be Trump keeping his word to the people, building trust to bring those jobs back to America. As Neustadt asserts, “[I]f choices are the means by which a President builds power, it is only as he sees his power stakes in what he does that choices become building blocks for him.”   In Trump’s case, his choices helped him build trust in his relationship with the American people, especially his constituents, “the forgotten” blue-collar workers who voted him in to do exactly what he said he would do.
Conclusion

Both the fundamentals and contingencies of the 2016 election greatly impacted President Trump’s relationship with the public. President Trump understood that economy and jobs were a major concern in people’s lives. Using his unique personality and bold rhetoric, he built a relationship of growing trust specifically with his constituents, the working class, even as he tried to build better relationships with angry factions across the nation.

Where some will see a “basket of deplorables,”  God will allow another to see with His heart of compassion. Maybe that is the spark of hope that inspired Trump to run for office, Make America Great Again.

Donald Trump was an improbable candidate in the 2016 election; however, truly his win has been an unexpected gift for our nation. God says in His Word that whatever we do for the least of these, we do it for Him.   “The forgotten” blue-collar workers finally had someone looking after them this past election, someone they would never have likely expected, a billionaire from New York City. They understood what it meant to be falsely judged, what it meant to be overlooked, and what it meant to be misunderstood and forgotten. I suspect Donald J. Trump had not expected to be the one to help them, but by the time he could, he understood all those things, as well.  That’s what  servant-leadership is, a true gift to those who are being served.  We never look more truly like Jesus than when we are willing to lay down our lives to serve others, and in order to do that well, sometimes we have to go through what they go through.  Perhaps this is why Robert Jefress knew President Trump would be a friend.

God bless America.  God bless President Donald J. Trump.
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Days.

We Belong:  A Part of His Body

Oh, I get it.  I get the liberal.  They have “atomistic” thinking.  Hear me out.  They don’t believe they are whole within a society.  They believe their whole societal concern is within themselves.

If I were not a Christian, I would be a tree-hugging liberal who would believe we are all individual and unique and we should just focus on that.  I would probably be asocial.  Some of it has to do with being hurt by institutions like family, school, church, and even the closest of friends.  Sometimes it’s safer to not lean on anyone else, but ourselves.

But, I thank God I am a Christian, and God will not let me be alone.  He has told us we are part of His body.  We are not the whole body, just a part.  That takes humility and dependecy.  We need others in this life.  We need God above all.

But, this is the pain of this generation. They lack moms and dads committed in marriage. So, many have learned to trust in nobody else, but themselves.  The idea of God being Lord through Jesus Christ means they have to let go of their personal power which is the one safe thing they KNOW they can depend on. 

Oh, we need to pray.  God wants to heal our society, community, our churches, families, marriages.  God cares about our part in His whole picture.  He created us in community. In Christ, we are His body.  He has more He wants to be in His body.  He died for us ALL, after all. ❤

So.. Yeah.  I got this whole revelation by looking up the word “atomization” today in my reading because I didn’t understand how that scientic word would fit politics.  But, I get it now.  And, it burdens me to pray for this generation, causes me to praise God for placing me in His body, and I look forward to how He will set this girl in His beautiful plan someday to understand the fullness of what marriage and family means.  Jesus heals.  There is HOPE for ALL OF US IN OUR NATION!!!!!!!! ❤

The whole body depends on Christ. And all the parts of the body are joined and held together. Each part of the body does its own work. And this makes the whole body grow and be strong with love.

Ephesians 4:16

Jesus is Home

In the winter of 2011 I was staying with a friend. I had gone to church and came home late. She had gone to a friend’s, and she was sleeping on the couch. I was shivering out in my car outside her home.

It was about 1:30- 2:00 a.m. and I was on the phone with a friend from Buffalo, New York. We were praying. I was overwhelmed because I didn’t understand what God was doing in my life. Why was I out in my car, instead of in my own comfy apartment, asleep?

While I was crying out to God in prayer with my friend on the phone, I asked the question, “What about me, God? What about me?” And, then, boom…it got really quiet, and my friend I felt God’s Holy Spirit. I was’t expecting an answer. I was just whining because I was freezing out in my little Corolla (yes, my sweet Corolla I still have-Blessing!) wondering where my friend was. But, God had an answer BEYOND ME. An answer that resonates with what I see today regarding the hurricane in Houston.

Suddenly, the Spirit of God said, “What about you? You have everything you need for Life and Godliness.” Then there was a flash of light and a vision in my heart. Then the Spirit said, “What about them?” What I saw were MULTITUDES of homeless people. And, they weren’t homeless because they were on drugs or addicted to alcohol. God then said, “you have a Home in me. But, What about them? They don’t have Home. They don’t have Me.”

I bawled. A hard cry. I knew God was saying I was alright. But, He was also challenging me to see like He sees. To give my life away. My friend was on the other end, she was part of the moment because I told her what was going on as it was happening. God showed me multitudes of lost souls who would be homeless, but ultimately they would be Homeless without Him. What about them? In that moment I knew that God was trying to show me that I would serve in missions, but His way. Jesus would train me and give me everything I needed to GO.

He wanted me to understand the call and offer Home to lost souls who don’t know Jesus Christ, our true Home. With Hurricane Harvey taking the homes of so many Texans, I have an opportunity this season to be His hands and feet. To tell the good news. To go. So do you.

Sometimes God sends us back to a place, not for ourselves, but for others. To GO. Friends, I get that this is one of the reasons He sent me back to Texas this late summer when I was willing to resettle back in my hometown in Illinois after my dad passed away. No, God didn’t want me in Illinois. He wanted me to be brave. To trust Him. To come back here. To Texas. To give my lufe away. So, He can use me. Okay! So, I obeyed.

What about your part, too? Your call? Who is your Home? Who around you needs to know that? How can you offer Home, Jesus, to them?

It is time to expect unity and to serve others in humility. Our nation needs hope. Our nation needs Home. Our nation needs Jesus. We all who are in Christ can do our part to share the Gospel and Hope. Missions always happens in our own back yard, afterall.

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:16-21

The Princess and the Rose Bush

©2017 Written by: Christine Ann Craig Story #1 in her Princess Parable series

Once upon a time, there lived a Princess at the edge of a wheat field. She harvested most of her crops from that field, but in her spare time, she had a special hobby of tending to a special rose bush.

Her house was located at a fork where the field would divide into two pathways. And, down each of the dusty roads lived a prince…

One of the princes had a beautiful castle, and he had a favored horse that he would take for a trot every day down the dusty road. One day as he was going past, he caught glimpse of the beautiful Princess harvesting the wheat outdoors. He thought to himself, “it’s time to get married. She is very beautiful and a hard worker. I think she would make a wonderful wife.” He thought about all the securities he had, and he calculated that he could provide for her well. So, he made plans in the coming days to captivate her with all his riches and woo her for marriage.

Down the other dusty path lived a Prince in a very humble home. He had actually journeyed from afar, and although he was given permission by inheritance to bring all his possessions with him, he chose to take only what he needed, for he did not know how long his journey would be. Trusting his circumstances to a faithful and loving God, he cultivated a heart of gratitude for his present circumstances. As an evening solace, the prince would often travel the dusty path through the wheatfields by foot, usually too caught up in song to pay attention to his surroundsings. But, one day, he felt led to go for a walk in the afteroon, and as he was trecking down the path, his eye caught sight of a beautiful princess carrying a sheath of wheat and placing it near the grindstone near her porch. She disappeared to the back of the house, soon returning with a water bowl; then she watered her rose bush. Quickely surveying, the cut wheat around him, he thought to himself, “This beautiful lady is very hardworking. Does she tend to her field alone?” And, he had compassion on her.

Well, one beautiful early summer afternoon, the prince on horseback was going to check his estates when on his journey trotting down the dusty road, he saw the princess out in her yard tending to her rose bush. He went to her, and cordially bowed and introduced himself, then he admitted to her that he had been considering her for marriage. Would she consider his offer? To this confident lad, she had but a test. 

She told him that a long time ago, her Father had planted a rose bush for her. And, that she knew when it would be the fullness of time for her to marry because when her true love would come, he would be able to pass a single test. So, she looked him square in the eye, and asked him, if he were serious in his pursuit, and if he wanted to consider the test.

Feeling rather put off that she had rebuffed his offer of marriage, the prince had to try and hide his frustration before meeting her eyes and saying that he would take the test. What was it?

She told him that if he earnestly meant to win her heart, he must pluck a rose from the rose bush and give it to her in proposal.

So the prince set out to do just that. As the princess left to go inside the house, the prince hastily walked over to the rose bush, and he reached down to pluck the first rose he saw. But, alas, when he put his hand to the stem, his flesh was cut. A thorn had pierced his hand, and he was bleeding. When he saw what had happened, he was very upset.

Immediately, he stopped his endeavor of procurring the rose for the princess, and he got on his horse to ride home to bandage his wound, so he wouldn’t get an infection. Leaving the Princess and the rose behind for the day, he didn’t know if it were worth the cost of coming back any other day to try again. The thorn’s impression in his flesh had cut deeply, and it hurt. He didn’t know if he could ever take that kind of pain again. So, he said goodbye. 

The Princess wasn’t distracted. She was far too content to be distracted by suitors who didn’t know the price and cost of true love. She had promised her Father that she would trust and wait for Him to bring true love along with the time was ripe. She intended to go about her work vigorously unconcerned and kept until it was the Father’s time to join her heart with the love of her life.

Well, one day, the Prince on foot was walking down the dusty path, humming a merry song, when he once again noticed the Princess carrying a sheath of wheat from the field toward her porch.

“May I help you with that?” He called out to her, as his feet suddenly took a jog.

“I would be very thankful,” the Princess replied. 

So, the Prince took the sheath from her hands and carried it to the others. He noticed all the work that she had already been doing before the heart of noon.

Moving back towards the dusty road, he walked by the rose bush.

“What beautiful blooms!” The Prince replied, and he knelt down to gently smell a single rose.

“Be careful!” the Princess immediately cautioned, remembering the injury the other prince encountered, but she had spoken too slowly.

The Prince had already cut his finger on a single thorn.

“Well, dear Princess, what a beautiful bush, one that aptly protects you!”  The dear Prince laughed.  “Do you have any rose water that I may dip my finger in to take away its sting?”

Immediately, the Princess went inside to get the water, thinking to herself that the Prince was wise, and he had humor.  

When she got back outside, there he was kneeling with a single, glorious bloom in his hand.

“Will you marry me, dear Princess?”  The humble Prince asked.

She was a little surprised.  How did he know how to get the rose off the rose bush?  How did he know to ask her with the flower in bloom? She had never had a chance to share her Father’s test with him.

“Before I respond, I would like to ask you a couple questions. Kind, humble, sir, how did you get the rose?  How did you know to ask me to marry you?”

The young Prince with a kind twinkle in his deep brown, sincere eyes said, “That was easy.  My Father sent me on a long journey.  He told me that one day down a long road of a wheat field I would meet my true sister, my bride.  His only caution to me was that there would be a single thorn I would have to endure.  He told me that to win your heart, I would have to let it crucify my flesh with its searing pain.   He told me that although the pain would be excruciating that it would be brief, but the joy set before me in capturing your heart would be for His eternal glory.  He asked me if I were willing to go.  And, dear Princess, my answer to Him was Yes. So, my sister, my bride, will you marry me?”

The Princess bowed to the ground next to his feet, and she humbly spoke, “Yes, dear sweet, humble Prince.  I have been waiting for you all my life.”

The end.
Began on 1/19/2011. Finished today, on 8/21/2017.

🌿Loss:  My Dad Went Home

Tomorrow we will bury my dad’s ashes in the ground.  The guns will fire their shots honoring my dad’s military years of service.  Those really were some of his honorable days. His most honorable day to me, however, was this past April when he repented of his sins and asked Jesus to take his whole life and in exchange give him all of His.  My dad asked Jesus to fill him with the Holy Spirit.  I didn’t know then what I know now. God allowed me to make a drive from Texas to Illinois all in one night, so I could prepare my daddy to meet Jesus two months later. I promise I didn’t know. I was looking forward to him someday walking me down the aisle….

He saved my life when he came back to South Korea when I was a baby.  Maybe someday I can share the whole story, but for now, I know my daddy was God’s instrument of protection for me… and my mom. He loved her. He wrote her letters every day for a whole year. He sent money for my baby milk. Apparently, I loved drinking it so much. My mom still talks about it.

I was in Alexandria, VA when I found out my dad was sick with stage four cancer at the start of June.  I had just talked to the nurse 10 minutes before, thinking all he had was pneumonia like he had in April when I visted.  He was a smoker. Pneumonia happened often. She said he was sleeping. I had asked her to scribble a note to him that I had called and that I loved him.

I didn’t know ten minutes later my brother would call to tell me the unthinkable. I honestly couldn’t process it when he did. My brain, heart, and spirit rejected the notion of it all for a few more days. After all, the doctor had not told me anything when I had just called.

After the news that night in Alexandria, VA, I headed toward Virginia Beach. I had to at least see my school, Regent University. Afterall, that is why I had driven to the East Coast for the summer.  The truth is, I was waiting for God to release me to go back home to see my dad. He was keeping me steady and quiet, though.  As I waited and prayed for dad’s healing, I finished a paper, felt peace and HOPE.
I was going to drive up toward Maine this summer, spend some days in New York and Boston along the way.  I had planned to see the lighthouses. However, it all changed in that moment in Alexandria.

Looking back, I understand more fully why I kept seeing signs for HOPE on my way to VA.  At first, I thought it was because a guy I had prayed about marrying had just married someone else that summer.  But, I was glad for him, and I knew in the end, he wasn’t God’s Promise for me. So, I didn’t think HOPE was for that.

I had also gone through a hail storm, with hail pelting through my makeshift, plastic window, and I had gone through my door not closing.  I thought maybe the semi that had Romans 15:13 about HOPE was for the car issues I was having.  Now I know better.

Through that hail storm, I found my ability to cry out to Jesus.  The minute I did, the storm literally ceased. I had never experienced that before.  I was standing outside of my car with a sun windshield visor over my head, getting pelted by nickle to quarter-sized hail. But, at His named cried out honestly from my lips, it all stopped. I knew then God was with me.

The night before I left VA to see my dad, I spoke with my brother on the phone. As we were talking and praying, the only thing I could do was cry out again, “Jesus!” A couple Regent brothers heard me, and they and another friend of theirs surrounded me that night in prayer, intercession, and encouragement. That was HOPE.

Also that week, I met with my amazing Dean of my school and emailed with my current professor. They both encouraged me and prayed for me.  I felt strengthened. There was HOPE.

I can still remember being in shock, writing a 5 page paper for my class at the Regent Law Library. It was a good distraction, afterall. But, the minute I hit submit, I felt the strong nudge to go home and my first wave of grief.  Then, I knew that what I heard could be true.  I still at that time couldn’t say the name of the illness. I knew I had to hurry back.

My dad was in hospice. I can’t write about that experience without being upset, so I will skip it, but eventually, dad went Home.

Since then, I drove back to VA for 3 weeks to write a 15 page Roe v. Wade paper. That paper will always mean souch to me.  You can read it below. Currently, I am back in Illinois.

Loss is strange. Grief comes in waves.  I love my dad, and I will miss him. But, I thank God I will see him someday at Home. I praise God that I have that confidence because of our visit in April.

So, tomorrow I will attend my dad’s memorial and burial, but tonight I just wanted to take a moment to process the past two months.  One thing I am thankful for is that God is a God of HOPE…alway…all the way Home!!!!!!!!

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13 

🌿Judicial Activism in Roe v. Wade and Its Effects on the Nation

Paper submitted on June 28, 2019.

 

Introduction

    In the fall of 1967 a young woman and her boyfriend drove south through Texas to cross the border into Mexico.  Her purpose was to get an illegal abortion. The Texas statute enacted in 1857 and remaining “substantially unchanged to the present time” would not allow a woman to get an abortion unless her health was in danger.  Since the only thing that was potentially in danger that year was her JD degree at the University of Texas Law School in Austin, she did what she thought she had to do to protect her future career. Six years later, at the age of 26, she would find herself standing-poised, eloquent, and articulate- at the highest judicial ground of the land—the Supreme Court.  This was her shining moment. Her name was Sarah Weddington, the young, female lawyer who would represent the appellant in the United States landmark case of Roe v. Wade.

Sarah Weddington was not Jane Roe.  But, by all accounts, she could have been.  The truth is, most don’t know the full story of Roe v. Wade.  In an impromptu survey, I had asked eight people if they knew the name of a different girl, Norma McCorvey.  Interestingly enough, all eight did not know who she was.  They did not know that 25 year old Norma McCorvey was the nationally acclaimed Jane Roe, the young woman searching for a way out of her pregnancy in 1969. Since they did not know her name, they also did not know her story.  Although the abortion case was initiated by McCorvey, by the time the Supreme Court fully tried her case, she was no longer pregnant.  She had delivered her baby. Although these personal reasons could have mooted her case, the classified class-action suit continued on with the appellant counsel Sarah Weddington, perhaps the true Jane Roe of the hour, leading the way at the Supreme Court with her opening remarks on Dec. 13, 1971.

From the start, the Supreme Court took advantage of their opportunity to practice judicial activism in Roe v. Wade.   Perhaps it was the opportunity to move beyond just trying a case for jurisdiction.  Perhaps it was that they only had seven fully appointed judges on the bench at the time of the first argument.  Or perhaps, it was that the majority of the remaining justices among them were liberal, and they were reaching for the opportunity to make a lasting social change in the nation. Whatever their true motives were, these Supreme Court justices in the years of 1971 -1973 creatively tried a case that would end up not only altering the lives of so many women, babies, and families all across our nation, but stretching how justices can interpret and create new rights not directly found in the United States Constitution. Perhaps the greatest qualm against these justices’ actions is that they conducted these trials and wrote their opinions and decisions by using that strong measure of judicial activism that left the republic without a voice in the decision. That is what the heart of this research paper is about.  In the landmark abortion trial of Roe v. Wade, the seeds of judicial activism in the Supreme Court grew until it fully produced a piece of judicial legislation that would not only adversely affect mothers and babies, but the entire nation.

Judicial Activism in Roe v. Wade

Whoever thought that judicial activism only started when Supreme Court justices were currently seated on the bench did not know the domino effect that could occur as a result of one retired judge’s article.  In the fall of 1969 retired Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark published a law review article advocating legalized abortion.  He had been one of the judges who had helped to strike down the Connecticut contraceptive law in Griswold before he retired.  Now, he had written an article that would be cited by many lawyers and lower court justices, including two Supreme Court colleagues, Justices Douglas and Brennan, who would also favorably influence a third justice with ideas of legalizing abortion. Although Clark’s final conclusion to his random article was that in the end “It is for the legislature to determine the proper balance…,” the damage of his publication had already been completed for these liberal minded justices who wanted an opportunity to try their hand at striking down abortion laws throughout the land.  Manipulative seeds of arguments for abortion rights had been scattered throughout his article, influencing these key members of the judiciary with words that would eventually make their way into the Roe v. Wade decision.

There were only seven justices on the panel when Roe v. Wade first came up for judicial review in the Supreme Court in Dec. 13, 1971. The justices had decided to hear the abortion argument without the two new judges, because at the time they had a majority of four who were favorable toward abortion, and they did not want the chance of losing their liberal advantage.  They were also neither too concerned, nor too prepared for the abortion argument because it was specifically determined that Roe was going to be argued as a jurisdiction case to settle procedural issues between the church and state. As a matter of fact, it had another case even attached with it, Doe v. Bolton which would be tried in the same manner. However, the four liberal justices were eager to legislate from the bench, especially Justice Brennan who submitted his opinion of Eisenstadt v. Baird on that same day of the first arguments.  Quite timely, his opinion would contain the rhetoric needed to tie abortion with the right to privacy as established as precedent in that case.

    To further understand the judicial activism that was happening on the bench during Roe’s trial, we need to consider key concepts covered in Ronald Fisher’s book, The Concept of Judicial Activism.  In the book, Fisher asserts that both scholars and common court observers have a hard time differentiating when the Supreme Court is legislating or interpreting in their court decisions and policies in regards to judicial activism.  He claims that justices are bound by the constraints of the Constitution; otherwise, their “actions” would be dismissed.”  Yet, by citing Professor Mendelson, he shows how some justices seem to have a broader, more liberal view of the Constitution:

The Constitution lives on in a changing world because it grows not only by formal amendment but also by “interpretations”—a process in which the judiciary plays a large, yet by no means an exclusive role.  Lawmaking, then, is an inherent and inevitable part of the judicial process.  Judges must be more than mimics.  Greatness on the bench—or—elsewhere—lies in creativity.

Keeping this in mind with Roe v. Wade, it is apparent then that Justice Brennan was in agreement with Mendelson’s liberal view of “creative” judicial activism and judicial lawmaking.  It is also apparent that he was working within the constraints in his mind of a living Constitution when he wrote his opinion for Eisenstadt v. Baird which held the rhetoric that would later be used in Roe v. Wade.

The majority of the seven had already decided their decision to strike down the state abortion legislation when Chief Justice Burger suggested not only once, but twice that Roe v. Wade should be reargued with a full panel of nine judges who were finally appointed to the bench. The liberal core of four were very upset.  Forsythe writes, “The four liberals were enraged; fearful that a 4-3 ruling might become 5-4 against abortion rights, they immediately circulated statements that they opposed reargument.  Nevertheless, Chief Justice Burger prevailed in getting the case heard by the full panel of nine for a second set of arguments in October of 1972.

    In this line of thought, it is interesting to briefly highlight former Justice Black’s convictions regarding judicial activism in the Supreme Court.  Fisher writes that retired “Justice Black stated that he based his faith in the Supreme Court’s ability to interpret the United States Constitution as a living document on two personal convictions:  (1) his enduring belief in the Bill of Rights, and (2) his belief that there existed ‘absolutes’ in the Constitution of the United States.”  Although Black had retired from the Supreme Court prior to Roe, according to Forsythe, if Black had been involved with the Roe deliberations, there were strong reasons to believe he would have voted against creating a constitutional right to abortion, and he would have been for leaving the abortion issue to the democratic process in the states.  Forsythe’s reasons were because Justice Black not only dissented the decision in Griswold, Roe’s precedent, but he had also rejected Justice Douglas’ idea of the “penumbrae” in the Constitution being used.  As a result, although Black was no longer on the Court, the fact that Forsythe could extrapolate Black’s views into the case of Roe ironically exposes the other justices’ liberal judicial activism.

    Perhaps the strongest voice that exposed the overreach of judicial activism in Roe v. Wade, however, came from Justice Rehnquist, one of the new justices in the full panel of nine who would end up voting dissent in the Roe v. Wade decision. His arguments all revealed how the role of judicial activism in the case went beyond the bounds of the Constitution.  First off, he challenged the Court’s new right of “privacy.”   He declared, “The Court’s sweeping invalidation of any restrictions on abortion during the first trimester is impossible to justify under that standard, and the conscious weighing of competing factors that the Court’s opinion apparently substitutes for the test is far more appropriate to a legislative judgment than to a judicial one.”  It was apparent that he saw the overreach of the Supreme Court and made it clear that they were misapplying the word “privacy” as the Constitution would originally mean it.  In addition, Rehnquist challenged the “compelling state interest test” by asserting that the Supreme Court judges breaking down pregnancy for the states into three distinct terms, outlining acceptable state regulations for each trimester took “more of judicial legislation than it does of a determination of the intent of the drafter of the Fourteenth Amendment.”  In other words, again, it went beyond the original intent of our Founding Fathers in the Constitution. Additionally, Rehnquist wisely took some time to do careful research into the past histories on abortion legislation to back up his dissent.  As a result, his words further exposed the excessive current judicial overreach in creating a new right:

The fact that a majority of the States reflecting, after all, the majority sentiment in those States have had restrictions on abortions for at least a century is a strong indication, it seems to me, that the asserted right to an abortion is not “so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental…Even today when society’s views on abortion are changing, the very existence of the debate is evidence that the “right” to an abortion is not so universally accepted as the appellant would have us believe.

As a final incitement of truth and revelation, Rehnquist ended his dissent explanations by challenging the Supreme Court by ironically addressing the original Founding Father’s intent for the use of the Fourteenth Amendment in the states:

There apparently was no question concerning the validity of this provision or of any other state statutes when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted.  The only conclusion possible from this history is that the drafters did not intend to have the Fourteenth Amendment withdraw from the states the power to legislate with respect to this matter….

There are no better words of rebuke for the Supreme Court for their judicial overreach in Roe v. Wade than these that came directly from one of their new colleagues.  Rehnquist’s’ dissent and argument succinctly revealed how the Supreme Court justices had gone over the constraints of the Constitution in their final decision of Roe v. Wade.

National Effects of Judicial Activism in Roe

The adverse effects of the Supreme Court’s decision on Jan. 22, 1973 in Roe v. Wade went beyond just mothers and babies to the whole nation.  When Justice Blackman wrote the final Roe decision, he removed the abortion issue out of the legislatures and placed it in the courts.  With his one decision, Blackmun and the other justices denied the people of the United States the opportunity to debate the abortion issue. Those who were opposed or who were for abortion could not go through the legislative process of contacting their state representatives regarding their views about the issue.  If the republic had been allowed that democratic process, new legislation could have been formed to examine all the various aspects of the abortion issue.  

David Brooks of the New York Times asserts that “If it had remained in the legislatures, we would have seen a series of state-by-state compromises reflecting the views of the centrist majority that’s always existed on this issue.”  As it turns out, prosecutions were pending in many states against abortionists when the decision was published, and there were already 30 states who upheld anti-abortion laws, except in the case of saving the mother’s life. Regardless of this 3/5 majority of the states affirming anti-abortion laws, with the Blackmun decision, the Supreme Court nullified the statutes of all 50 states, requiring that they, instead, implement the new created laws given by the Supreme Court of the land.

As a result of Roe, an assumption rose in the public regarding rights, linking the court to social change.  Scheingold declares that “The assumption is that litigation can evoke a declaration of rights from the courts; that it can further be used to assure the realization of the rights; and, finally that realization is tantamount to meaningful change.  The myth of rights is, in other words, premised on a direct linking of litigation, rights, and remedies with social change” Because they took the fight away from the states and the public, the Supreme Court opened themselves to the precedent of creating new rights, extracting them from somewhere in the penumbrae of the Constitution.  

Some justices like Skelly Wright would argue that in general the role of judicial activism in shaping our country has been “necessary and proper,” especially in areas of law where the political process has been ineffective because politicians have neglected the problems. However, in Roe v. Wade, when the Supreme Court took the debate away from the politicians and democracy, they legislated to “shape a society” where abortion would be acceptable even into the 3rd trimester, unto viability (28 weeks), even though the majority of the states had a hard time even accepting any stage of abortion outside of saving a mother’s life.  If they had left the debate with the legislators and voters, who could work through the issue through the democratic processes of “bargaining, education, persuasion, and voting,” it is possible that during this process statistics would have disclosed that a woman’s health is rarely the reason why women get abortions. After all, according to Bennett’s statistics, from 1972-1991 only seven percent of all abortions actually fell into the category of threatening the mother’s health, whereas nearly 200,000 second-and-third-trimester abortions were committed annually.  Without knowing the statistics at the time, in the end, seven percent, clearly a minority, is what the Supreme Court based their final Roe decision on.  As a result, the majority in the nation was adversely affected, as well.

According to Brooks, there were a number of other political effects that also emanated throughout the land from the Supreme Court decision in Roe.  For one, the political parties polarized.  In addition, both parties developed groups to destroy future judicial nominees that might oppose their side of the abortion fight.  Furthermore, the Senate, once strong in deliberation to achieve consensus, began playing manipulative games to make sure that appointed Supreme Court nominees would reflect their legislative partisan view.  As a result, electing judges was no longer about the judicial wrong and right, but about the judicial left and right. Democrats began using the method of filibustering again and again, while the Republicans began threatening to change the Senate rules.  According to Brooks, present-day America still needs to have this democratic abortion debate because he asserts that it is in eventually overturning Roe v. Wade, that the cycle of political viciousness and counter-viciousness will be destroyed at the root.

According to Judith Blake, a number of abortion-related bills increased significantly to oppose the Roe v. Wade decision that was released in January of 1973.  Right after the Supreme Court decision, 260 bills were introduced and 39 enacted.  In addition, several states enacted statutes to either deny or restrict Medicaid reimbursement for women who had abortions and expected tax dollars to cover the expense of their decision.  

Blake also shared data from national surveys conducted by Gallup and NORC to reveal attitudes of those surveyed in the public prior, during, and after the abortion legislation passed.  In terms of men and women’s attitude toward elective abortions, it was interesting to note the disapproval rating for abortion declined from 85 percent in 1968 to 63 percent in 1974 and 1977.  Nevertheless, Blake indicated that none of the results showed more than 50 percent approving or less than 50 percent disapproving elective abortions.  

In regards to questions about the timing of abortion procedures, results from Blake’s survey clearly showed that the country was in opposition with the Supreme Court here, as well.  Although the Court didn’t feel it necessary at the time to solve the issue of when life began, and eventually, they extended the right to abortion up to 28 weeks, in 1975, 58 percent of the women said life began at conception.  Only 11 percent agreed with the Supreme Court that it would be at viability.  

Also, according to Forsythe, the abortion decision affected the other branches of government, as well. The Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade bound Congress, the President, and all state and local governments across all 50 states through the Supremacy Clause in Article VI because the supreme law superseded all the state laws of the land. With the passing of the Supreme Court legislation, abortions increased throughout the whole nation, reaching an annual high of 1.6 million in 1992, before declining to 1.2 million in 2006.  According to the Guttmacher Institute, the consequence of Roe v. Wade is that from 1973-2014, the women in America have had 59, 115, 995 abortions.

More specifically, according to the Index of Leading Cultural Indicators, from the years of 1972 to 1991, there are some other startling facts that resulted from Roe v. Wade. (Because it was difficult to disaggregate the data for just the years starting from 1973, these statistics will include the initial year prior to Roe, as well).  From the statistics, Bennett disclosed that 59% of abortions were committed by women under the age of 24.  Also, about 40 percent of teenage pregnancies (about 400,000 a year) ended in abortion, and the teen number of abortions was one-fourth the total number of abortions that were committed yearly in the United States. Also, he reported that girls who were younger than the age of 15 had an inflating abortion rate by 18 percent between 1980 and 1987.  

In lieu of these results, perhaps having more than seven justices on the panel of the first argument may have helped them consider other possible questions to address in regards to the  abortion decision that would affect the whole nation.  The closest they came to considering other perspectives than just the woman’s health was in the first oral arguments when Jay Floyd submitted in his conclusion that in some instances the consideration should be given to the father of the baby, if he would object abortion. Because of the connection to Doe v. Bolton, it seems likely that the main perspective and age range the justices were considering in regards to abortion legislation at that time were that of adult women, either married or single.  If the thought of teenage abortions would have crossed the justices’ minds, then perhaps their conferences and drafts of opinions may have included some thought regarding parental consent for minors and whether that would even be Constitutional.  However, because the seven justices on the panel denied Texas’ motion to postpone the first argument until Powell and Rehnquist had been sworn in, they were left to hear the first arguments without them on Dec. 13, 1971, and just three days later, a bloc of justices were ready to vote for abortion rights. As a result not much deliberation took place over an issue that would impact the nation for the next 43 years.

Perhaps in their scheming to leave out the other two justices and in moving too quickly through the case, the Supreme Court justices were negligent in doing their research and homework to get all the facts needed to make the most judicious decision. As Forsythe writes, “Roe and Doe began, in the Supreme Court as a serious procedural mistake that left the justices without any factual record to consider the complex historical, legal, medical, and constitutional issues surrounding abortion.” In a landmark class-action suit that would affect the whole nation, it would have been wise to do some research before applying judicial activism from the bench.  After all, according to Bennett’s report, 63 percent of total abortions were committed by women who had never been married, and one of their main supports for the abortion argument was taken from Griswold v. Connecticut, which was about stablishing the Constitutional right of privacy specifically for married couples. Perhaps with some judicial restraint and taking some extra time, the Supreme Court justices may have reconsidered their decision. After all, one of the two who dissented, Justice Rehnquist, did so because he took the time to conduct some research into the opinions that were submitted by the justices to see if the judicial activism happening in the bench stayed within the constraints of the Constitution.  Perhaps if more of the Supreme Court justices had chosen to just interpret the law according to the Constitution, rather than judicially legislate, these adverse effects in our nation could have been constrained.  

Conclusion

    In conclusion, Alexander Hamilton in the 78th Federal paper described judges as the guardians of the Constitution.  He wrote that “the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them.”  It is evident that he never expected to see the day that judges would legislate from the bench to add rights to the Constitution and change the culture of a nation.  That is exactly what the Supreme Court did in Roe v. Wade.

The Supreme Court justices who used the Roe v. Wade decision to practice judicial activism went beyond the constraints of the United States Constitution to create new rights and laws that in the end have adversely affected the whole country.  By establishing prior precedents in cases like Griswold v Connecticut and Eisenstadt v. Baird, the Supreme Court created new rights of privacy and abortion that are not found anywhere in the text of the Constitution. The results of this encroachment on state legislative responsibilities and the rights of the people left the country needing to fully debate the abortion issue. There was so much to consider.

The basic qualm against the Supreme Court and their decision is that they usurped the power of deliberation and representation from the democracy by judicially legislating from the bench.  In hindsight, their decision was calculated, because there was a majority on the bench that wanted to strike down the abortion laws.  They based so much of their opinions and decisions on penumbrae and precedents from other cases.  Instead, like Justice Rehnquist, they could have considered the context of the Constitution as the Founding Fathers meant it, and they could have researched some factual evidence.

Although the fact that Norma McCorvey never had an abortion did not matter to the Supreme Court, perhaps, if they knew at the time that Sarah Weddington did have an abortion, it may have mattered.  It may have made them pause, to think.  Why would this woman want so badly to fight for this case?  There may have been a conflict of interest with her presenting the case. In the end, Sarah Weddington may have seemed “successful” in achieving so many of her goals.  After all, she graduated from law school, and she “won” the national landmark Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade.  However, I can’t imagine what the cost has been to her life.  The cost of her “success” to America has been very excessive, indeed.

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Garrow, David J. “She Put the v in Roe v. Wade.” The New York Times. September 27, 1992. Accessed June 26, 2017.  http://www.nytimes.com/1992/09/27/books/she-put-the-v-in-roe-v-wade.html.

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