Janet Mefferd Interview

by Roger Resler

January 22nd marked the 43rd Anniversary of one of the worst Supreme Court decisions of all time: Roe v. Wade. Nationally syndicated talk show host Janet Mefferd interviewed Dave Sterrett and me on that day. Listen to the podcast here.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been interviewed live and it was a challenge to boil long answers down to quick responses. (Meaning: I failed miserably). In fact, I was cut off in mid-thought twice because we were up against breaks. What made matters worse is the fact that I could not hear the music rising in the background – which is the usual cue to wrap it up – so I simply kept talking!

The point I was trying to make the first time was that a key argument by Sarah Weddington in Roe v. Wade was that the anti-abortion laws that had come on the books in the late 1800’s (one of which – the Texas law – was the one Weddington was attacking) had only come on the books out of a concern to protect women from the dangers of abortion in the 1800’s. There was a partial truth to this argument since abortion, in the days prior to antiseptics, certainly was a dangerous undertaking for the pregnant woman. But Weddington was dealing in half-truths. In reality, the primary reason anti-abortion laws, like that of Texas, came on the books was a concerted effort to protect unborn human life. Ironically, even Justice Harry Blackmun, author of the Roe decision, openly (yet somewhat covertly) acknowledges this in the majority opinion!

Although buried in the midst of dry, legal ramblings, anyone who cares to take the time to look can still find this pro-life acknowledgment under the heading: “The Position of the American Medical Association” beginning on page 141 of the Roe majority opinion.

Prior to the mid 19th century, in the United States, English common law had prevailed. In general, abortion was considered a serious misdemeanor prior to “quickening” (the point in pregnancy when the mother first feels the baby move – which is generally around 17 weeks), and a felony after. Weddington ignored the fact that abortion after quickening had, for centuries, been a serious offense (even capital in some cases), and while Blackmun acknowledges it, he nevertheless tended to downplay the significance.

In the mid 1800’s, after fertilization in mammals began to be observed due to the improvements of microscopes, medical doctors became increasingly aware of the deficiencies of abortion laws that were based on the archaic notion of quickening. As Blackmun freely admits, these pro-life doctors began lobbying legislators to update the laws. As a result the quickening based abortion laws were replaced with even stricter laws nationwide. Many of these laws, like that of Texas, allowed for no exceptions other than a life-threatening situation for the mother.

So a key premise in Weddington’s arguments in Roe v. Wade was, at best, erroneous.

The second point I was attempting to make when time again ran out, was that the Texas attorneys who were arguing the pro-life position, were not well prepared and fell into the trap of arguing for “personhood” at conception instead of focusing on the biological beginning of human life. In short, they simply suggested that a fetus is a person because the state of Texas says so. This was obviously not a satisfactory argument for the pro-choice majority of Justices in Roe, who, ironically, ended up arguing the same way – only in reverse – by holding that a fetus is not a “person in the whole sense” because the Supreme Court says so. Unfortunately for millions of unborn humans, the say-so of the Supreme Court trumped the say-so of Texas.

First Post

by Roger Resler

Everyone has to start somewhere. This is my starting point. Zero. The beginning.

The purpose of this blog will be to supplement, expand on, elaborate on, clarify, fix, enhance, shamelessly promote and any other relevant action regarding my publications at Truth In Depth.com. Truth In Depth is my media production company. I’ve been involved in media production (mostly radio/audio) for… well, let’s just say a long time! Not quite since live recordings were produced on wax, but I’ve known my share of analog reel to reel machines.

Since my background is audio production, in 2003 I decided to produce an audio book. A topic that interested me at that time was Mormonism. I had been visited by Mormon missionaries in 2001 sparking a crash research frenzy into Mormon history which, though cooling from time to time, is still active. There were not a lot of audio books available on the topic of Mormonism at that time, so without spending thousands on focus groups or product development, I decided to fill the void on a hunch. I was granted interviews with several ex-Mormons (including the famous great-great-great-grand-daughter of Brigham Young, Sandra Tanner) and combined their expert analysis with my own research to produce Mormonism’s Greatest Problems. It highlights five of what I consider to be the most problematic areas of Mormonism. Since then the audio book has been featured on radio programs such as The Bible Answer Man with Hank Hanegraaff and Out of Mormonism with Andy Poland.

About a year or two later I took the biographical portion of my interview with Sandra Tanner and produced another audio book that features her and her late husband Jerald’s life story. That production is called: Why They Left.

Another area of interest I’ve had for a long time is the topic of abortion. Not that I am interested in abortion itself (very few people are) but rather in exposing what I believe is a great injustice against unborn humans that began through the legalization of abortion in Roe v. Wade. I researched Roe v. Wade and the history of the pro-abortion cause and secured interviews with leaders in the pro-life movement such as National Right to Life Committee co-founders, Dr. Mildred Jefferson and Dr. Carolyn Gerster as well as pro-life author Randy Alcorn and professors, Dr. William Brennan and Dr. Gerard Magill. Dr. James Thorp also contributed his expertise as a perinatologist. Also providing his own fascinating story behind the life-changing Hand of Hope photograph he took was photographer, Michael Clancy. That research culminated in the release of Compelling Interest: Life After Roe v. Wade in 2007, in conjunction with Oasis Audio.

I was contacted by the publisher in 2011 and encouraged to convert Compelling Interest into a book. I have been working with eChristian to that end, with the manuscript currently immersed in the editing process as of this writing. The goal is to complete an updated and expanded print version as well as a revised audio book for release in the fall of 2012 – in time for the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade (January 22nd).

Another project that I have in mind is a book on Mitt Romney, who, as everyone knows by now, is (or at least will be) the GOP nominee for president of the United States. Romney is a devout Mormon and many conservatives are leery about supporting a Latter-day Saint for the presidency. The book will help educate people about Mormonism and Romney’s involvement in it.

I will be blogging on these topics in the coming days and weeks and would appreciate hearing from any and all who have an interest in them.

Truth In Depth will also continue to develop new books and audio books. There are several ideas currently in the planning stages, so stay tuned!

Roger Resler is an author, researcher & media producer for Truth In Depth Productions.