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What Do Slavery and Abortion Have in Common?

While I can’t predict the future, I can in the present recognize the intense similarities between the two polarizing issues — slavery in the past and abortion in the present.

While the issue of slavery was settled in the 19th century with the Civil War, perhaps no other singular issue in America since has elicited such a profound, passionate, and polarizing response as abortion. As a matter of fact, after a draft memo was leaked indicating the imminent decision by a majority of the Supreme Court Justices to overturn Roe v. Wade, numerous pundits, journalists, and other Americans on both sides of the issue suggested that the decision would, in fact, lead to civil war.

Stephen Marche at the Guardian wrote an article with the headline: ‘With the end of Roe, the US edges closer and closer to civil war.’

While I can’t predict the future, I can in the present recognize the intense similarities between the two polarizing issues — slavery in the past and abortion in the present.

For starters, both abortion and slavery are two so-called Rights, which are not enshrined in the Constitution. Those, who supported slavery and those, who support abortion both find their claim outside the Constitution.

Frederick Douglas, the escaped slave turned abolitionist, remarked in 1857 that “instead of finding in [the Constitution] a warrant for the stupendous system of robbery, comprehended in the term slavery, we shall find [the Constitution] strongly against the system.”

Douglas asserted that in the entire body of the Constitution “there is not single mention of the term slave or slave holder, slave master or slave state, neither is there any reference to the color or the physical peculiarities of any part of the people of the United States.”

Indeed, the preamble of the Constitution reads “We, the people.” As Douglas asserted, it reads “not we, the white people — not we, the citizens, or the legal voters—not we, the privileged class, and excluding all other classes, but we, the people; not we, the horses and cattle, but we, the people—the men and women, the human inhabitants of the United States, do ordain and establish this Constitution, etc.”

Most importantly, Douglas points out that the words in the Constitution, in fact, “strike at the root of slavery, and any one of them, but faithfully carried out, would put an end to slavery in every state in the American Union.”

No person shall be deprived of life liberty, or property without due process of law. The Declaration establishes that the Constitution was established to secure the blessings of liberty for all and the right of the people to be secure in their persons and papers and houses and effects.

Thus the entire pro-slavery movement was built around the false claim that blacks were not people and thus were not extended these very Rights.

Is this not the same argument made by the pro-abortion movement to justify abortion? Just as pro-slavery activists asserted that blacks weren’t people — that they were less than human — the pro-abortion activists assert that the unborn are not human and thus not extended the same Rights and protections afforded to the born.

From where does the pro-abortion activist derive his or her claim that abortion is a Constitutional Right? A now-overturned Supreme Court decision made in 1973.

Even liberal legal scholars have long admitted that the Roe v. Wade decision was “barely coherent, “a disaster”, and an example of “heavy-handed judicial intervention.” It was the liberal Constitutional lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who said the decision was “a disaster” and former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who once called it an example of “heavy-handed judicial intervention.”

The unconstitutional Roe v. Wade ruling echoed another unconstitutional ruling by the Supreme Court: the infamous Dred Scott decision. In 1857, the Supreme Court ruled that blacks could not be citizens and thus fueled the pro-slavery Americans amoral claim that slavery was a Right enshrined in the Constitution.

The obvious difference between slavery and abortion is that while slavery was practiced since our Nation’s founding and a movement arose to abolish the vile and unconstitutional institution, abortion was not a so-called Right until 1973, when a movement arose to institute the vile and unconstitutional practice.

While President Lincoln abolished slavery and passed several amendments preventing any future claim of slavery’s constitutionality, the institutionalized racism continued even afterward. Democrats replaced slavery with Jim Crow and then replaced Jim Crow with welfare.

But the Supreme Court did not abolish abortion when a majority overturned Roe v. Wade. Their decision only granted each state the Right to determine their own individual abortion laws.

And now we arrive at perhaps the most frightening similarity between the issue of slavery and abortion. In 1858, Lincoln asserted that "A house divided against itself cannot stand.” He predicted the following:

“I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved - I do not expect the house to fall - but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new-North as well as South.”

It appears the militant pro-abortion movement is not satisfied with compromise. They too seem intent upon pushing it forward until it becomes lawful — to their uncompromising specifications and demands — in all states. They aren’t content to advocate for abortion in blue states. They also demand the practice is adopted in red states.

Consequently, it does not appear our Nation can exist both half pro-abortion and half pro-life. Either pro-life advocates will arrest its spread and public opinion must accept its extinction; or else pro-abortion advocates will violently and forcibly push it forward until public opinion must accept it as law — even if the law says it need not be accepted.

But abortion can not be universally adopted because the Constitution, science, common sense, and even Judeo-Christian values will always prohibit its acceptance without perpetual friction.

Every pro-abortion claim is rightly met with opposition by contradictory laws. Fetal homicide laws consider the unborn a human life. 30 states recognize the unborn as victims at any stage of development. 8 states recognize the unborn as victims at certain stages of development; for example, past 7 or 8 weeks.

Even many states that permit late-term abortions protect the unborn in early stages in cases of violence against the mother. In other words, the unborn isn’t considered a human life if a woman wants to abort her child in the second trimester or even third, but if that same child is lost at 7 or 8 weeks due to some act of violence against the mother, it is considered a human life in the eyes of the law.

How can these two views co-exist? They cannot. They’re completely contradictory and suggest that the unborn is recognized as valuable and human only if the mother views the unborn as such.

In other words, if a woman wants to abort the child and doesn’t want the child, the unborn is without rights or protection. But if the woman wants to have the child and the child is lost due to some assault, for example, the child has rights and protection.

The unborn’s status as a living human being is thus reduced to the intention or opinion of the mother. If she wants the child it’s valuable. If she does’t want the child, it is not.

The abortion issue is one of the greatest moral issues of our time, just as slavery was in another time. Were slaves human beings, protected under the Constitution and extended the same rights as every other American? Fundamentally, yes.

Is the unborn likewise protected under the Constitution and extended the same rights as every other American? I think the answer is yes.

The pro-abortion movement cannot make coherent arguments to the contrary. They’ll argue that the unborn can’t vote. Well the born can’t vote until they reach 18 years of age. Are these Americans considered human beings with Rights? Of course.

While many pro-life advocates are content to compromise in most cases, the pro-abortion advocates are not. In order to co-exist, we all must acknowledge that the unborn is a human life. Only then can we begin to have a rational and considerate debate about how to go forward.

Otherwise, the pro-abortion movement will continue to make radical demands until infanticide is the law of the land.

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