THE ABOLITIONIST: The Comparison of Abortion to Slavery

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The comparison of abortion to slavery/genocide is usually dismissed for purely visceral reasons (are those really reasons?), so I thought it would be worthwhile to examine how the comparison is accurate and in which ways it may not be.  Let’s begin with genocide.

Genocide is the systematic murder of a people group, and abortion belongs in this category inasmuch as there is a subgroup of human beings, those still in the womb, who have been dehumanized in order to justify their destruction.  How is abortion unlike other genocides? Well, firstly the preborn aren’t part of a different ethnic group from their attackers, and secondly they have no means of resistance.

Next we come to slavery.  With slavery the “owner” was free to choose whether or not a slave had value and would survive.  Slaves were a commodity, and usually their lives weren’t ended unless the “owner” thought it would be more lucrative for the slave to die.  Likewise, babies en route to birth are treated as items for the auction block.  If unwanted, they are judged by society as having no value and are likely to be killed.  If they are wanted, society decides to treat them as human beings after all and act accordingly.Negro Fetus

Is human worth based on nothing more concrete than a community’s estimation?  Are you only what other people think you are?  Do individual members of society alone determine the value of life? Is perception truly reality?

Thank God this isn’t so!  There is a reality that exists and to which all perceptions must conform or be revealed as delusions. The author of reality is not you, or I, but the God who made us both and all else. You bear his image, the divine impression – however marred – and so does the human being now developing in her/his mother’s uterus.

To play at costs and benefits in deciding whether or not to kill such a being as you, I, or our counterpart in utero is no different than a slave owner deciding whether or not to sacrifice the lives of his human “property.” The mass-murder of the pre-born population accompanied by a campaign to dehumanize the victims and cover up the aftermath is no different than genocide. Allow your conscience to be informed by reason, and then let conscience dictate your actions. And if, like us, you accept the revelation that God made human beings in his image; welcome to Abolitionism.

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2 responses to “THE ABOLITIONIST: The Comparison of Abortion to Slavery

  1. Thank you Mr. Ivy, for putting these facts in such concise order. I’ve agreed with your conclusions for many years, but couldn’t express the reasons clearly. One point though, it doesn’t seem right that opposition to abortion is predicated solely on the belief that God made human beings in his image. Surely atheists aren’t automatically in favor of abortion? Again, I haven’t done the research or articulated my reasoning. Can you please help?

    • M(r?)s. Miller,

      Thank you for your question! I hadn’t intended to argue that atheists were automatically in favor of abortion in my last paragraph, and definitely don’t think that they all are. Many atheists have strong moral feelings and act on them. What I wanted to communicate was that as Abolitionists, we are motivated by the Divinely revealed proposition that God made human beings in his image, with great inherent value. That’s the intellectual starting point from which we can rationally maintain that it’s wrong to kill human beings. If an atheist agrees that abortion is wrong because they realize it’s rationally in the same category as slavery and genocide (which they feel to be wrong) they still have no root intellectual starting point “in the nature of things” to say WHY slavery or genocide or abortion is wrong -other than: “I feel a revulsion for those things”. An atheist has moral feelings, but has no rational basis for making their moral feelings obligatory. At best they have some evolutionary psychology based reasoning that explains how the feeling arose as a survival mechanism, but even if they could prove that their moral feelings arose in such a way (which they can’t) that wouldn’t make it compulsory. Clear thinking atheists realize this and will admit that their moral feelings are merely a matter of conditioning and personal feeling.
      As Christians we know that all humans, atheist or no, do in fact have real transcendent consciences (however scarred) and a rudimentary understanding of the real moral dimension God gave his universe, and we can give an account as to why this is so, but the consistent atheist can give no such account.

      All this to say: Yes, atheists can and sometimes do oppose abortion, they just can’t be Abolitionists in our sense of the word. Abolitionists of slavery like William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglas and William Wilberforce all founded their call for reform upon the basis of God’s making all human beings in His image and likeness, and constantly returned to this appeal.

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