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Not wrong at all?

By Mark Trapp
web posted October 22, 2001

The most corrosive influence that the Roe v. Wade decision has had on our society is not the forty million plus human lives ended in the name of "choice". Rather, it is the effect it has had on our societal view of the sanctity of human life.

In 1973, when Roe was decided, even many liberals adhered to the common sense view that a human life begins at conception, and is worthy of protection. Indeed, in 1971, even the ultra-liberal Senator Ted Kennedy could write his constituents that "the legalization of abortion is not in accordance with the values which our civilization places on human life." He went on, writing that, "human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized – the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old." Presumably, Kennedy, one of the most reliably pro-choice votes in the Senate, has since changed his mind regarding the sanctity of human life.

In this, he is not alone. Other liberal politicians, notably Jesse Jackson, Al Gore and Bill Clinton have likewise changed their minds about the virtues of abortion. Whereas each of these men were once pro-life, once each entered the realm of national politics, they suddenly had a change of heart.

However, even as a pro-choice president, Bill Clinton declared that he wanted to make abortion "safe, legal and rare." I have often wondered why he or any other liberal would wish to make abortion rare. The only explanation for wishing to make it rare is that abortion is in some sense wrong. However, if abortion is not the killing of a human being, but merely the disposal of an unwanted tissue mass, more akin to a tumor than a baby, why should it be considered wrong, or discouraged? Why make it "rare"?

The answer lies in the fact that even today, in spite of their efforts to convince themselves otherwise, many pro-choicers realize that an abortion is the ending of a human life, and that whatever else may be said about it, it is not a good or happy thing, nor is it something that should be encouraged or promoted. Indeed, many believe that it should be "rare."

However, at least partly due to the corrosive influence of Roe, even this belief is beginning to lose influence. In this respect, abortion mirrors slavery. Whereas slavery was grudgingly tolerated by the Founders of this country, and looked upon with distaste and the hope for eventual abolition by most colonists, by the middle of the next century, southerners such as Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun could argue with a straight face that slavery was a "positive good" for both the slave and the master. I have heard people today assert the same thing about abortion. Better for the mother, better for the unborn baby.

Indicative of this change in public opinion, in May of this year, LeRoy Carhart, the abortionist who challenged Nebraska's attempt to ban partial-birth abortion in front of the United States Supreme Court and won a 5-4 victory, stated that he performed abortions "to satisfy my ego." He also stated that his fame stemming from the Supreme Court victory had resulted in his traveling more, which he stated was "more fun than doing abortions."

Wow. Whereas a short 30 years ago, human life was considered by even the most liberal of politicians to have "certain rights which must be recognized", our society has now degenerated to the point that it could go unnoticed and unremarked upon that the most famous abortionist in America felt his job of sucking out the brains of half-born infants was "fun."

Similarly, just over a week ago, a crowd of about 200 people paid $30 apiece to attend a "Governor's Commission on Disability Fall Conference" in New Hampshire to listen to the radical views of Princeton University Professor Peter Singer.

Peter Singer

Never one to disappoint, Singer told the crowd that "it is sometimes appropriate to kill a human infant." He also asked the audience "what makes it so seriously wrong to take a life?" Previously, this man has advocated that parents should have twenty-eight days following birth to decide whether to keep or kill their children, and written that "Killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all."

For thousands of years of human existence, any statement even approaching these would have been received with universal scorn, ridicule and approbation. However, forty million abortions have paved the way for a somewhat more tolerant view of such ideas. Indeed, the Boston Globe reported that Professor Singer received a "respectful reception" and the Concord Monitor stated that "No one booed him. No one insulted or interrupted him. And when he finished speaking, most of the audience members clapped."

In a land where abortions are "fun", the killing of disabled babies is "not wrong at all", and people can actually applaud the statement that "it is sometimes appropriate to kill a human infant", can it be argued that we are not in the midst of the greatest moral crisis since slavery? Thirty years ago, who would have thought that a man such as Professor Singer would be invited to address a Governor's Commission on Disability, or even taken seriously?

How long then, before someone will be able to openly advocate first voluntary, then forced, abortions of those deemed not worthy of life? How long until the killing of physically or mentally handicapped individuals, homosexuals, or the elderly or infirm or people of certain races are lauded as "positive goods", to be engaged in for the benefit of all society? How long until these things are deemed "not wrong at all"?

Do you doubt that this will happen? Before you dismiss the notion, remember that thirty years ago Ted Kennedy was pro-life. Then remember that last week 200 people gave a "respectful reception" to Professor Singer. Finally, remember that in the past twenty-eight years, "choice" has been responsible for the deaths of seven times as many people as died in the Holocaust. Seven times.

Not wrong at all? I think not.

Mark Trapp is a regular contributor to Enter Stage Right.

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