Before the United States was even a nation, during its formation, and all the way up until the Civil War, those who opposed slavery argued fervently for its abolition. George Washington — a slaveholder himself — said, "I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery." (Washington freed all the slaves he owned in his last will and testament, and provided for their education upon his death.) Thomas Jefferson warned of slavery's damage to the new nation, calling the practice of owning other human beings a "hideous depravity" and a "moral blot." Abraham Lincoln famously said, "If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong."
Though it took over 200 years from the founding of the first colony in America until slavery was abolished by the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, abolitionists never stopped arguing in favor of the essential dignity and humanity of blacks, never admitted defeat in their quest to utterly eliminate the institution of slavery, and indefatigably pursued civil rights for black Americans.
Abortion is the battleground for today's abolitionists.
The pro-choice movement does not understand this. Indeed, many abortion advocates thought the battle won with the United States Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973. To their surprise and ongoing consternation, 42 years after Roe the pro-life movement is stronger than ever.
There are many reasons for this. But here are two:
First, science and technology have advanced the pro-life argument. Ultrasound has made the essential humanity of the unborn child visible. Viability has been pushed back as far as 23 weeks (and even earlier in some cases). And yet the same children who most doctors will exert tremendous efforts to save can also be aborted, dissected and sold for parts.
This is untenable.
Second, abortion is every bit as much of a "hideous depravity" as slavery was. The idea of a mother killing her own child is just as incomprehensible and offensive as the concept of one human being "owning" another.
Abortion advocacy is grounded in lies and papered over with platitudes, just as slavery was. It is no coincidence that both slavery and abortion rest upon the same fundamental deceit: that the affected individual is not a human being, and thus not entitled to life and liberty, the most basic of human rights under the Constitution.
Looking back, this seems inscrutable: The humanity of the slaves, beaten, in chains, and suffering, was on display for all to see. And yet millions ignored the truth of it, invested as they were in slavery as an institution and a vehicle for profit.
So too, those who today profit from the big business of abortion (Planned Parenthood most notably) continue to lie and dissemble about a fact that should be indisputable — the growing child in utero is a human being.
The shocking videos released over the past few months by the Center for Medical Progress reveal that Planned Parenthood may not believe its own lies, but it certainly profits from them: You cannot harvest human brains, livers, eyeballs, gonads, and other "tissue" from anything that is not human.
These videos are not the only horrific insight into the realities of abortion. The trial and conviction of abortionist Kermit Gosnell for murdering viable babies born alive after botched abortions — as well as Gosnell's appalling callousness about these killings — sickened those who followed the story.
This brings to mind a quote from another famous abolitionist, Englishman William Wilberforce, who in speaking of slavery said, "You may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say that you did not know."
Pro-abortion rights activists try valiantly to deflect the public's attention, to get them to "look the other way." But this is a failing strategy. As the reality of abortion is made visible to Americans, public support for abortion has waned. In response, the "pro-choice" movement has shifted from professing the need to make abortion "safe, legal and rare," to "celebrating" abortion, or "removing the stigma." (Sadly, but predictably, the Obama administration and Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have ignored the CMP videos and continue to be among Planned Parenthood's staunchest supporters.)
There are even efforts to create the aura of religiosity around abortion. The head of the Episcopal Divinity School calls abortion a "blessing." A group of so-called "Christian" ministers came together recently to "bless" an abortion clinic in Ohio.
Pro-abortion activists apparently think that by doubling down they will win the argument.
The abolitionists are worthy role models. Slavery had been an institution for the entirety of human history — millennia. And yet those who proclaimed it to be an evil that should be abolished were steadfast, convinced of the rightness of their cause, and they prevailed.
No matter how many Supreme Court cases or pro-choice presidents they have, the abortion rights crowd needs to know this: The pro-life movement will never give up. Those of us who defend human life have science on our side, and technology, and truth. Those promoting abortion must rely upon deceit to promote death.