In the post-Roe world, can a state rationally claim that the value of human life justifies the imposition of abortion bans but does not demand that a state protect the vulnerable young who are “born human beings”—commonly called “minors” or “children”—and are entitled to protection under a state’s laws? This essay advances the claim that it cannot. This essay asks that those who say they are “Pro-life” in politics and law demonstrate that they protect vulnerable life beyond the abortion context, and that they do so in the most minimal fashion: through a demonstrated commitment to protecting the basic welfare of the most vulnerable children. The proposed “wage for crying life” (a play on John Hart Ely’s famous phrase) is a set of remedies for the sake of rationality and for other obvious public ends to be paid by multiple stakeholders. These stakeholders, both public and private, must participate in measuring and meeting basic standards for ensuring the protection of children from child abuse and neglect in a jurisdiction before that jurisdiction may rationally ban abortion. Using the authors’ home state of New Hampshire as a case study, this essay offers an initial application of the proposed broad framework to show how one state’s record of permitting massive child abuse prevents it from rationally claiming the “Pro-Life” status it claims its abortion ban achieves.
Leah A. Plunkett and Michael S. Lewis
The Wages of Crying Life: What States Must Do to Protect Children After the Fall of Roe,
2022 Pepp. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/plr/vol2022/iss1/2