Abortion’s Parallels to Slavery

June is Abortion Awareness in the African American Community. Here’s a post in my Bulletin from a couple of years Back in St.  Thomas More Parish, a predominately African American Parish. I plan to run it in my current parish as well later this month:

Abortion Awareness Month – Uh Oh! Not that Conservative Republican Issue again! But for a moment, set aside the old wineskins.  Turn off images of modern day fanatics, white-racist-conservative-fundamentalists, Pro-Lifers who kill doctors, ugly and violent confrontations between fierce adversaries.  Set aside for a moment the true observation that too many view abortion as all that matters and refuse to consider other life issues e.g., poverty and racism.  Just for one moment, consider these shocking parallels between Abortion and Slavery:

  1. Fate of certain human beings is dictated by financial and personal interests of others.
  2. Courts establish who is human/non-human and use categories of partial humanness (slaves were called 3/5 of  a person for legal purposes, fetuses lack all human rights).
  3. The right to life  and liberty are not inalienable for the fetus just as for slaves. They are a different category than the  “all men who are created equal” Fetuses, like slaves of old,  are held to receive their  fundamental rights of life and liberty  not “from God” but only if other more powerful people say they have them.
  4. More powerful persons are also more valued in society and their rights trump the less powerful.
  5. Less powerful fetuses like the slaves lack all legal standing and cannot advocate for themselves.
  6. Fundamentally both slavery and abortion are economic and convenience issues. Slavery was considered by many a “necessary evil” to protect economic, political and social realities. So is abortion.
  7. Overturning the injustice depends on  unrelenting, courageous efforts of people who are labeled as “fanatics” just like the abolitionists of old were called this.

And, While we are at it, the following slogans apply the abortion rationales to Slavery. Try these on for size and see how they feel:

  1. “Let’s keep slavery safe, legal and rare.”
  2. “I’m not pro-slavery, but I do think slave owners should have the right to choose how they  run their plantation.”
  3. “I am personally opposed to slavery, but I don’t want to impose my values on somebody else.”
  4. “Slavery has been upheld by the US Supreme Court (Dred Scott), it is the settled Law of the Land.”
  5. “We really can’t say the slave is  a person.”
  6. Abolitionists are just trying to impose their extreme religious views on us.

How do these slogans feel? How are they different than the current thinking?

5 Replies to “Abortion’s Parallels to Slavery”

  1. Information is powerful, but setting it in motion is even more powerful. A call to action.

  2. “Turn off the image of modern day fanatics?” After an abortion foe shoots a doctor in church? Is the shooter “courageous” in your eyes?. What about Bill O’Reilly, who went on the air raving about “Tiller the Killer” but now backtracks in fear of being labeled an accomplice, saying he was only repeating what pro-lifers were saying about him. Is that courageous? But if one is familiar with the details of abortion and slavery, how are the interests of an antebellum slaveowner who owns a plantation and an African-American female who gets an abortion similiar? The antebellum slaveowner wants to maintain his wealth to keep on top of the pecking order while the African-American female gets an abortion because she has three children already and no job? Or the African -American female has a health condition that threatens her life. Is the aim of the prolife movement to make abortion illegal? Then what about the woman who has one. Since she’s committed murder, shouldn’t she go to jail? That’s what this society does with murderers. Maybe she can add to the large African American population already there.

    1. I don’t see the shooter as courageous, you know that. That is why I called him a fanatic. I don’t watch Bill O Reilly so I can’t comment on that. Your contrast of the antebellum Slave owner and the African-American woman is flawed in some respects. The point of the post is to examine the legal reasonings of abortion and how they are quite similar to those used to uphold slavery. The point was not to compare slave owners to African American women. The woman who considers abortion may have any number of reasons she seeks an abortion. She might be poor or ill. She might also experience the pregnancy as inconvenient, she might be scared or embarrassed. None of these unfortunate circumstances however can permit abortion. You rather patronizingly present the woman as poor and powerless, a victim of sorts. This is not always the case. But even for the poorer woman she is not as powerless as the infant in her womb. She at least has some legal protections, the infant has none and has been declared by the law for legal purposes, non-human. If any woman is in difficult circumstances she should know that help is available. Catholic hospitals stand ready to assist if there are issues of affordability. As for medical issues, this is the 21st century and pregnancy as a grave threat to the mother’s life is extremely rare. But here too help is available. Children can still be brought to term in the vast majority of the difficult cases. Also, for the woman with three children no job etc. that you site adoption should be considered before abortion. It is not easy to give a newborn up for adoption but it is surely more merciful and admirable that having the child killed. Should the woman go to jail? I would prefer that the doctor go. I think, with all the moral confusion of the current era and the many pressures women are under in this regard we should refrain from jail for women who abort. But doctors and other providers who actually perform the act should go to jail. Obviously the law would have to take effect for that to happen. Your last sentence is just plain ugly and uncalled for.

    2. You are a hypocrite. You like to think you are tolerant and progressive, but your closing sentence proves otherwise. It shows you are shallow, bigoted, and racist.

      Poverty may be an injustice, but the killing of a child because they are an inconvenience is far greater. Even if a child may be large inconvenience, that does not affect their status as a person. By your reasoning, governments of poverty stricken areas should be able to kill people who are not producing. A person has rights and dignity by virtue of coming into being, not by their value as determined by an ever swaying society.

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