The unborn child – personal property disposable at will?

Intelligent people can sometimes surprise us – with their utter folly. Take, for example Eric J. Segall. One can assume that Segall is an intelligent man because he is a law professor at Georgia State University. In mid-May, in an article in the Los Angeles Times, Professor Segall was discussing the probability of a backlash if the United States Supreme Court forces a change on the American people in line with President Obama’s recent “evolution” in the matter of gay rights. That change might well do more damage than good to the future of gay rights and other important causes, he argued.

Professor Segall’s main argument did make some sense. He was saying that changes forced through by the Supreme Court were not such a good idea. Congress, he said, was the better forum to effect change in a democratic society. But it was where he began to cite the precedents for this that his credibility broke down. To compare, confuse, to even suggest that there was even a remote similarity between the abolition of slavery and the campaign of self-indulgent adults with same sex-attraction looking for pseudo rights was astounding.

“By way of comparison,” he said, “at the time the Supreme Court invalidated bans on interracial marriage in 1967, 16 states prohibited whites and blacks from marrying, and there were few organized political movements devoted to defending the racism behind the anti-miscegenation laws.”

Not to see the essential difference between a battle to overcome an inhuman prejudice such as racism and an issue where those opposing change are doing so on the basis of the integrity of the conjugal relationship between a man, as he is biologically, and a woman, as she is biologically, simply beggars belief.

But that was the least of his folly. Roe V. Wade was then dragged into the equation and identified as a “progressive change” in the same way as civil rights battles of the 19th century – presumably including the abolition of slavery – and child labour laws in the early 20th century were progressive.

Arguing that legislation was a better way of effecting change than judicial activism, he holds the view that the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe V. Wade that abortion was a fundamental right protected by the 14th Amendment, set off a very undesirable anti-abortion movement. That decision overturned most state laws on the issue and “less than a decade later, the Moral Majority and the Christian right had become major forces in American politics.” How dreadful.

“I am a strong supporter of abortion rights, and if a woman’s right to choose had been truly secured by Roe, maybe the backlash would have been worth it. But poor women today still have a difficult time obtaining abortions, and burdensome regulations on abortion are proliferating every year.”

Regardless of the pros and cons of legislative as opposed to judicial activism, what seems preposterous in all this is that people like Professor Segall now think there is a parallel between the struggle of the African American against racism, and the system of slavery out of which it grew, and the assertion that yet-to-be-born, but actually living-in-the-womb, human beings are expendable at will. The frightening moral blindness involved here makes them incapable of seeing that the rights claimed by pro-abortionists are parallel with the very rights claimed by slave owners over the lives of the slaves whom they regarded as their personal property.

The slave trade in America accounted for the deaths of millions of African Americans. It is estimated that 11 to 15 million of those who were brought into America as slaves died unnatural and untimely deaths. That does not take account of the millions more who died in subsequent generations after the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade and before the abolition of slavery in North America. This carnage was defended for decades on the basis of property “rights”. The deaths of the yet-to-be-born resulting from the abortion trade, defended by pro-abortionists in the name of the “right” to choose, is much more accurately quantifiable. In the US it is reckoned to be 53 million since the Rove V. Wade decision.

Harriet Beecher Stowe in pre-Civil War America grappled with the conundrum of how her fellow-men, freedom loving citizens of her country, could justify the carnage, the destruction of life and the denial of freedom to other human beings which slavery entailed.

In Uncle Tom’s Cabin, she observed,

“Scenes of blood and cruelty are shocking to our ear and heart. What man has nerve to do, man has not nerve to hear. What brother-man and brother-Christian must suffer, cannot be told us, even in our secret chamber, it so harrows the soul! And yet, oh my country! these things are done under the shadow of thy laws!”

She described the horrors of the “property rights” enjoyed by slave owners and the way the law upheld those “rights”. Frederick Douglass, escaped slave and narrative chronicler of the miseries of the system described in factual but equally harrowing detail in his landmark account his early life.

“Let it be remembered that in all southern states,” Stowe wrote in her novel, “it is a principle of jurisprudence that no person of coloured lineage can testify in a suit against a white, and it will be easy to see that such a case may occur, wherever there is a man whose passions outweigh his interests, and a slave who has manhood or principle enough to resist his will. There is, actually, nothing to protect the slave’s life, but the character of the master.”

Can we not translate that observation right into our own time and say that in some countries where abortion on demand is now the de facto law of the land, “There is, actually, nothing to protect the life of a baby in the womb, but the character of the woman bearing it and the men and women who can bring their influence to bear on her?”

Horror stories of the abuses of abortion laws in countries where they have been passed surface with alarming regularity – like stories from Britain where the Daily Telegraph exposed widespread malpractice by abortion “providers” some months ago. Yet another was the house of horrors found in Philadelphia last year. Stories like these were also rife in the era of slavery in the US. Then as now, they were excused as aberrations and not typical of the system – and certainly not justifying the denial of the sacred property “rights” of slave owners. Mrs. Stowe noted it well. We can again translate her words to our own time and circumstances without any difficulty.

 “Facts too shocking to be contemplated occasionally force their way to the public ear, and the comment that one often hears made on them is more shocking than the thing itself. It is said, ‘Very likely such cases may now and then occur, but they are no sample of general practice.’”

Might we hope that someday a modern Harriet Beecher Stowe will emerge and write the novel – or make the movie – which will bring our planet’s inhabitants back to their senses where they will see the enormity of the holocaust in which a large portion of the world which calls itself civilized is currently perpetrating and justify on the basis of a simple “right” to choose.