Pro-Lifers Are Today’s Abolitionists
What a difference 40 years can make. On January 22, 1973 the decision of Jane Roe et al. v. Henry Wade was announced - abortion surgery was legal nationwide thanks to the United States Supreme Court. This was the height of the Second Feminists’ Movement, Gloria Steinem’s successful Ms. Magazine was celebrating its first anniversary in publication and Australian singer-songwriter Helen Reddy had just received the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the Feminist Icon Anthem I am Woman.
The seminal issue of Modern Feminists movement at that time was Abortion. Gloria Steinem went so far as to publish the “honor” role of prominent women who had had abortions including Steinem herself at the age of 22. The issue then was liberty: “Keep you hands and your laws off of my body.” Steinem would never go on to have children.
Of course 1973 was also the start of another movement – the Pro-Life Movement where the seminal issue was the right to be born after conception. The movement was dismissed in every quarter of our society at the time. The morality of killing a development human being was ignored with a sense of self-delusion similar to the ability of educated Christian southerners to delude themselves by seeing a proper place for slavery in southern society. Blacks were considered inferior in every way - educated blacks were dismissed as freaks of nature. Slavery was a peculiar institution.
The parallels between the Popular Sovereignty argument to support slavery (let the white people decide) and the Pro-Choice argument (let women decide) is striking and incredibly consistent. Look at the following slogans supporting the right to an abortion vis-à-vis the right to own a black slave.
DON’T LIKE ABORTION?
DON’T HAVE ONE
DON’T LIKE SLAVERY?
DON’T OWN ONE
These slogans only make sense if morality and science are dismissed as Inconvenient Truths. Of course unborn children are human just as black Americans were fully human then as well as now.
Fast forward 40 years to today and the issue is now coming into focus as an issue of life due in part to modern medical technology – today we cannot turn our backs on the truth as the feminists did in 1973. We can see the unborn child sucking his thumb, we can see the fingernails on the little hands, and we can see a developing heart beating. Indeed, doctors can now perform surgical procedures on fetuses correcting a host of deformities including prenatal surgery for Spina Bifida as reported by NPR. Today we know this surgery is on a developing human being. The Universe of the womb now resonates in some families with Mozart piano sonatas played by mothers convinced it will benefit their unborn child in years to come.
It must be remembered that the abolitionists persevered for 77 years to remove slavery from the Constitution. William Lloyd Garrison published The Liberator, An Abolitionist Newspaper for 35 years. Listen to his rhetoric from issue number 1 in 1831: “I am aware, that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice…but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.”
Since 1973 the Pro-Life Movement steadily gained converts including the Roman Catholic Church, Evangelical Christians, and the base of the Republican Party. In 2013 the Pro-Life movement has converts from virtually every segment of American society. By contrast, the Pro-Choice movement now resides on the most liberal fringes of American Society. As the Democratic Party in the 1850s embraced Popular Sovereignty today it warmly embraces the Pro-Choice position on the Right to an Abortion by any woman who wants an abortion. President Obama has voted twice to let fetuses from botch abortions die on the operating table.
In 1857 the United States Supreme Court stumbled into the issue of slavery with the disastrous decision of Dred Scott v. John F. A. Sandford. Chief Justice and
slave-holding Democrat Roger Taney speaking for the majority ruled that blacks were inferior by nature and therefore never were citizens – that is they had no legal standing under the constitution. This went far beyond the 3/5ths compromise of 1787. Maryland
Just as popular opinion eventually migrated to the abolitionists so too are today’s Americans migrating to the Pro-Life view. For the first time since 1973 more Americans now identify themselves as Pro-Life by nine percentage points according to the Gallup Poll of May 2012: 50% Pro-Life to 41% Pro-Choice. Even Jane Roe, Norma Leah McCorvey (née Nelson) is now a fervent Pro-Life Activist.
Today’s Democratic Party is not budging however. 32 year old abortion supporter Sandra Fluke was prominently featured at the Democratic National Convention in 2012 after she appeared on the cover of Ms. Magazine.
This darling of the left needs to answer this question: “Ms. Fluke, what month during the pregnancy do you become Pro-Life?” This newly minted lawyer would have to resist saying the normal pro-choice line never because nearly every pro-choice proponent realizes that at some point in the pregnancy the developing baby deserves the state’s intervention of protection. If she insisted on saying it is a woman call for all nine months then her disintegration would be complete – a young attractive monster with a law degree and a Dorothy Hamill haircut.
The issue has always been more complicated than feminist doctrine admitted since the issue was always a body within a body - there would be no debate if a woman wanted to simply remove her pancreas. The true debate here is one of balance - should a woman be compelled to carry her unborn child to birth? The physical and emotional stress of the woman versus the life of the unborn baby. This is not an easy call but the life of the unborn child that is, the Right to be Born, trumps the right not to carry a child to birth. It’s life, liberty, and then the pursuit of happiness.
It took the 13th amendment in 1865 to finally and unequivocally end slavery – possibly it will take the 28th amendment to end the senseless killing of unborn children, the most vulnerable humans among us.
The national Democratic Party finds itself once again defending political convenience and calculation over morality – shame on them. Word Total: 1086
Geoffrey G. Fisher is a Federally designated Highly Qualified state-certified history teacher working in southwest
as a guest teacher. He holds a BA in History from the Florida University of Connecticut and a MA in Public Policy from Trinity College in In addition to teaching he is a former elected official and speechwriter. Mr. Fisher now writes the political blog: THE THINKING CAP at Hartford, CT.