The March For Life is happening in DC today for the 45th consecutive year. On a day like today, I can’t help but think about the future and imagine what the world will say about our society when it is gone. I doubt they will be able to make sense of it.
It will not make sense that 60 million human beings were slaughtered over the course of 40 years. It will not make sense that this eradication — the worst mass murder in history, by a long shot — could have been carried out in non-descript little office buildings situated on street corners and attached to shopping malls. It will not make sense that parents would take their own children, their own flesh and blood, into these facilities and have them put down like stray dogs. It will not make sense that we referred to this butchery as “health care.”
None of this will make sense. In the same way that slavery does not make sense to us today.
Well, we pretend it doesn’t make sense.
Yet, if we think for a moment, we can quite understand how and why a society might reduce an entire subset of humanity into nothing more than dehumanized property. That, after all, is exactly what we have done. Indeed, the parallels between abortion and slavery are impossible to escape. As I detail in my book, every argument uttered in defense of abortion mirrors the arguments made in defense of slavery. Every single one, right down the line:
Argument from ownership: “This slave/baby is my property/body. You can’t tell me what to do with it.”
Argument from privacy: “No one is forcing you to have slaves/abortions. Mind your own business!”
Argument from superseding rights: “My property/body rights come before the rights of a slave/fetus.”
Argument from inevitability: “Slavery/abortion has been around for thousands of years, it’s never going away. We might as well have a safe and legal system in place for it.”
Argument from pseudoscience: “Slaves/fetuses aren’t really people. They aren’t like us. Look at them — they’re physically different, therefore we are human and they are not.”
Argument from socioeconomics: “If slavery/abortion ends, most of these slaves/babies will end up on the street without a job.”
Argument from the courts: “Slavery/abortion was vindicated by the Supreme Court. It’s already been decided, there’s no point in arguing it.”
Argument from the Bible: “Slavery/abortion isn’t specifically condemned in the Bible. If it’s wrong, Jesus would have specifically said so.”
Argument from faux-compassion: “Slavery/abortion is in the best interest of Africans/babies. The world can be a cruel place. It’s best to protect them from it by keeping them enslaved/killing them.”
Argument from the assumed hypocrisy of the other side: “You say you want to end slavery/abortion, but you don’t want to live with freed blacks/adopt unwanted babies yourself. Therefore your position is invalid.”
We are shocked that such arguments ever could have been made in favor of denying personhood to black people, but we still deny personhood to black people based on these very same arguments. And we deny it to all people until they reach the arbitrary cut off point of birth. We would never subjugate a people based on their race or ethnicity, but we do subjugate them based on their developmental stage. I’m not sure that is any better. I think perhaps it may be worse. Certainly the death toll is worse. And it’s worse when you consider who is doing the subjugating (mothers) and who is being subjugated (their own children).
Yet a time will come when the world will look back on abortion in horror and bewilderment. They will say, “How could anyone have tolerated such a thing? Surely we would never be so brutal and so base.” And there’s a very good chance that they will say this hypocritically, as we do about slavery, because they will have their own form of societally accepted barbarism.
I do not imagine a utopian or enlightened future. I have read history books and I know better. But these sorts of atrocities never last in one form forever. They have their time, and then humanity wakes from its stupor and pretends it has changed. And when that happens, abortion will find its place on the proverbial ash heap, and people will read about it in books and marvel at it like science fiction. It will not make sense.
But it will.