Monday, September 10, 2012

"I'm Pro-CHOICE, not Pro-Abortion" - Why It Doesn't Work Out That Way

You have undoubtedly heard that statement, perhaps you've even made it.  I feel it is inaccurate, and I believe I can best show why by reflecting on our nation's history.

Slavery was practiced in the United States of America for almost a century before it was overturned.  Abolitionist called for it to be outlawed, while a larger number felt it was distasteful, but had to be tolerated. (The Constitution had certainly made no move to outlaw it!) They personally did not hold slaves, but it was a legal practice and they would not join the fight to overcome it.  How do we judge them in hindsight?  In their willingness to tolerate slavery, were they not in fact perpetuating it?  Today we say, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem"  Instead of calling themselves "Pro-Choice" on the issue of slavery, they wrapped themselves in the mantle of "States' Rights."  Such a person could have said, "I'm not personally for owning slaves - I find it appalling; but I'm not going to tell a person in a Southern State that he doesn't have the right to do so.  He has that right under the law!"  In truth, there was no functional difference between being for "States' Rights" on slavery and being Pro-Slavery; both resulted in one person being able to own another.  (Note: There are of course legitimate rights of states, just as their are legitimate areas in which to exercise choice; in both the cases of slavery and abortion it is the morality, and resultant legality, of the practices to which I object.)

A slave was not recognized as a citizen with rights of his or her own.  They were regarded as chattle, property, that their master had rights over.  That was what the Supreme Court reaffirmed in Dred Scott v. Sanford.  Scott, an escaped slave, was not a citizen but property and had to be returned to his master.  The Court ignored the question of whether as a human being he had inalienable rights that made mute an owner's claim to his property.  The legal injustice was not redressed until the passage of the Thirteenth Fourteenth Amendments.

The same occurred in Roe v. Wade.  The Court made no ruling on whether or not the child in the womb was or was not a human being.  The Court upheld a woman's right to privacy in decisions between her and her doctor - the decision to procure an abortion falling under that right to privacy.  (Even then however, it was not understood to be an unlimited right for she and her doctor to perform any procedure whatsoever; there are limits.)  But the question of the child's humanity, and this new humanity's right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have never been addressed!  And 53 million children have been legally terminated in our nation as a result.  A person may insist on being called  "Pro-Choice" instead of "Pro-Abortion" but there is no functional difference between the terms.  By calling for the continued legality of a woman choosing to abort her child, even if personally opposed the "Pro-Choice" person is in favor of maintaining a mother's legal right to end the life of her unborn child.  

If "States' Rights" was a fiction allowing the continuation of slavery, then so is "Pro-Choice" in the matter of abortion.  Ultimately, evil is evil.  Saying that people have a right to choose evil is no reason for it to be enshrined in our nation's laws.


  1. Great article Shane! I have shared this same opinion for some time now. I feel that the best way to combat abortion is to unite under this noble and glorious title of "Abolitionists". The arguments surrounding slavery and that of abortion are astoishingly similiar and the point that we "abolitionists" need to drive home is that we are not trying to take away the rights of our fellow Americans we are simply trying to extend those same certain and unaliable rights to all Americans, much like they did in the 1860's. And sadly, the argument against this today is the same rebuttal as it was then, that being "These are not "people" we are dealing with". That argument is as ignorant today as it was then, in fact it's worse because we should know better.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Peter, thank you for the encouragement! "Abolitionist" - very well-said. I received a Manhattan Declaration email a couple of days ago showing the symbol of the abolitionist movement and proposing one for the Pro-Life/Pro-Marriage/Pro-Religious Liberty movement. Bumper stickers, in the windows of our places of business, etc. - something people could ask us about and provide an opportunity to share our beliefs.