Pro-choicers on abortion seem perplexed why some of us persist in our dissent from their viewpoint. Convinced themselves, they cannot understand why the same arguments do not wear us down by sheer repetition. Perhaps viewing their arguments in a different light would help. Consider the pro-choice argument circa 1859:
“The whole slavery question is just a matter of a small religiously based minority trying to impose its morality on everybody. The northern Congregationalist, Unitarian and Quaker preachers draw huge crowds with their anti-choice sermons, but theirs is not the only Christian view.
“In the south, the Baptist, Presbyterian and Methodist denominations strongly support a person’s right to own slaves. Who are Henry Ward Beecher and his fellow agitators to impose their own views on so many other unwilling Christians?
“The law does not say that a person must own slaves. It is a matter of choice. Those who believe slavery is wrong need not participate in it, but they have no right to prevent others from doing so.
“The anti-choice forces say that a slave is a full human being with all the rights of white people. The Supreme Court says otherwise. In the Dred Scott decision, the court clearly stated that Negroes are not equal and that slaves are not entitled to full civil rights. If the anti-choice forces are allowed to alter the Constitution to change Dred Scott, will any of our rights be safe? If they can take away the right to own slaves, they can take away any right. It is a Pandora’s box to change the Constitution or overturn established legal precedent.
“And what of the cost of emancipation? There are already many poor citizens, and resources are scarce. Can we afford the economic havoc that would be wrought by suddenly destroying the Southern economy and creating millions of new free citizens? The world is much more complicated than the simplistic anti-choice slogans indicate.
“Also, isn’t it maddening that so many of the anti-choice leaders will never even have to face the slavery issue on a personal level? Virtually all of them come from states with only minuscule black populations (true in 1859). They will not have to live with the economic and social burdens their policies will cause those in slave-holding regions.
“Clearly, the anti-choice forces are frustrated by their inability to abolish the right to legal slavery. Unable to win by democratic means, they have resorted to violence and murder in Kansas, Missouri and Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. Will we allow fanatics like John Brown to determine public policy in this country?
“The majority of Americans do not support abolition of the right to free choice in the matter of slavery (also true for 1859). That majority must be heard. Remember, we are not pro-slavery, we are just pro-choice!”
The pro-choice slavery argument fails because it ignores the critical point about the humanity of slavery. The pro-choice argument for abortion fails because of a similar omission about the nature of unborn children.
One cannot be pro-choice and claim not to make a value judgment about human life. The whole pro-choice argument is based on an assumption about the lack of intrinsic value of young human life. That assumption, and not the diversionary “pro-choice” argument, is the real issue, which abortion supporters prefer not to address.
Ray Warren is a Charlotte attorney and former member of the state House from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Taken from the News & Observer, Raleigh, NC.