blog Time Hath Found Us: Parallels of Abortion and Slavery in American History

May 09, 2005

Parallels of Abortion and Slavery in American History

Unborn child and Dred Scott. Both ruled by Supreme Court to be non-human.

Every once in a while one encounters a work which precisely expresses a long held but subconscious knowledge which never quite gelled into expressible, concrete form. I have just had such an encounter.

In an insightful yet remarkably simple piece, Dr. Brian Melton has written about the striking similarities between the pre-Civil War slave system and the modern pro-abortion movement. The essay is:
"A House Divided: Abortion and Slavery in America."

[...] Yet, as a student of America's Civil War, a number of historical similarities present themselves between the arguments over abortion and slavery that could possibly point to another, disturbing conclusion.


Then the specter of slavery reared its head again. Slavery was a moral evil upon which there could really be no compromise. Either slavery would exist, or it would not. Either the government would allow one group of men to deprive another of their unalienable rights, or it would acknowledge that it was its purpose to guarantee those rights to all. This contradiction is one of the main influences that set the two sides irreconcilably against one another, resulting in the pressures that led to secession and over 600,000 deaths by 1865.

In light of recent events, it is interesting that issues like this have already exploded onto the American stage, and abortion is clearly one of them. Either a baby is human, and therefore enjoys the same right to life as the mother, or it is nothing more than a mass of cells and the mother has a right to have it cut out, burned off, or flushed away. There is no middle ground between these two positions that either side would feel comfortable in occupying.


Southerners employed, and abortionists still do, sham science to justify their crimes, even as honest science makes the reality of their victim's humanity all the more clear. [...] The primary difference between the two is that while the former stole lives a day at a time, the latter snatches away an entire life when it is most innocent and helpless. At least Nat Turner and Denmark Vesey could revolt.

Like their Nineteenth Century abolitionist counterparts, Pro-lifers are left with only one real choice: they must oppose abortion. ...

I've just thrown some bones, the real meat of Dr. Melton's argument is in the article. Please read it.

From a personal perspective, as one who has actively joined the pro-life cause at this late date, I find myself referring back to pre-Civil War abolitionist writings quite often. The abolitionist biographies are shining examples of moral fortitude and perseverance in the face of unjust and immoral laws. Their correspondence and published works exhibit clearness of thought and unflinching conviction. One of my favorite writers of that period is Lysander Spooner - a Nineteenth-Century lawyer, abolitionist, entrepreneur, legal theorist and political radical. Click on the link and bookmark the site.