Since Roe v Wade was unjustly decided in 1973, American law has approved the killing of 60 million children. At present rates we kill 926,190 each year, 2,537 each day, 105 each hour. Because our law teaches contempt for life, these dead have gone largely unnamed, unburied and unmourned.

In 1992, Justice Anthony Kennedy had an opportunity to stand against this killing. But his co-authored majority opinion in Casey v Planned Parenthood instead justified it. “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life,” Kennedy wrote. He believed that freedom required the death of innocents, because “people have organised intimate relationships and made choices, in reliance on the availability of abortion”.

In an important sense Casey is more radical than Roe. The first merely created a right to abortion. The second placed that right “at the heart of liberty” and based the legitimacy of the nation upon it. Overturning Roe would imperil the legitimacy of the court, Casey argued, and “if the Court’s legitimacy should be undermined, then so would the country be”.

With this argument, the Supreme Court declared abortion the basis of American order. It boasted that America’s foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon the great lie that the unborn child is not equal to his kin; that abortion – in the name of Liberty – is a natural and normal thing. America’s government became the first in the history of the world based upon this great physical, philosophical and moral falsehood.

Slavery was defended by many courteous, public-spirited Christian men. Only one, Confederate vice president Alexander Stephens, was bold enough to give a speech declaring that the “cornerstone” of the Confederacy was the principle that white and black were not equal. In its defence of abortion, Casey reads like a latter-day cornerstone speech.

A lie so deadly requires an accounting, a lustration that is total and thorough. We may never have that. But now that Anthony Kennedy has retired, Americans can and must challenge his image of our nation. We must insist that every child be protected in law and welcomed in life.

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