The U.S. Declaration of Independence states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
In the brief history of the U.S., this resolute charter has been quoted countless times, serving as a battle cry for the civil rights movements that ultimately led to a miraculous transformation in the relationships of the different races, sexes and creeds of mankind.
However, in the U.S., unborn children still are systematically oppressed and massacred. The justifications for this epidemic are, according to the anti-abortion community, empty, with many striking an uncanny resemblance to the bigoted arguments made during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Possibly the most popular argument promoting abortion is that the woman’s body is her own. Therefore, she should be allowed to terminate her own pregnancy, and to deny such a right denies the woman her basic civil freedoms.
Such a conclusion is easy to make when the party who is being denied their basic rights to live are not even recognized. Roughly 91.1% of all abortions are performed during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, according to the CDC. By then, the child has its own complex DNA structure, a nervous system, lungs, intestines, brains and a beating heart, all of which are vital components to any complex, living organism. The child also has fingerprints, reflexes, teeth, bones, finger and toe nails and even hair growing on its body.
However, the systematic oversight of candid biology is not the first time the obvious signs of humanity are discounted for the benefit of a dominant group. Such a system was the crutch that supported the institution of slavery, especially American slavery, where one group of people was socially perceived as biologically superior, and thereby suppressed the humanity and rights of a separate population. In all fairness, this comparison is not to equate those who support abortion with slave owners, but merely to compare the logic upholding each institution.
Somehow in modern society, it has become commonly accepted that the child in the womb, a living human being, is inferior to the mother, rather than an equal life, and, therefore, can be killed disparagingly.
Another common argument is that many women cannot afford the financial burden of bearing a child. In the event of an unplanned pregnancy, it is best to abort the child, rather than force the parent to take up the financial burden of raising the child. To clarify, the argument deems that money can override the innate value of human life. History has constantly focused a careful eye on the dangers of putting money before life, leading to the abduction of African prisoners of war into the Atlantic slave trade, Jews being sold out to the Nazis during the Holocaust or Judas Iscariot betraying Jesus Christ for pieces of silver.
Even after debating the claims of the pro-abortion stance, the inevitable concluding argument is that abortion might be immoral, but it is now an unfortunate reality of society and a civil right. In other words, much like the antebellum South, abortion is viewed similarly to the unfounded lost cause theory. Much like anyone with a moral compass would say that slavery is an unnecessary and cruel practice, so would many doctors say abortion is just as unnecessary.
Dr. Everett Koop, M.D, former U.S. Surgeon General said: “Protection of the life of the mother as an excuse for an abortion is a smoke screen. In my 36 years in pediatric surgery I have never known of one instance where the child had to be aborted to save the mother’s life. . . . If, toward the end of the pregnancy complications arise that threaten the mother’s health, he will take the child by inducing labor or performing a Caesarean section. His intention is still to save the life of both the mother and the baby. The baby will be premature and perhaps immature depending on the length of gestation. Because it has suddenly been taken out of the protective womb, it may encounter threats to its survival. The baby is never willfully destroyed because the mother’s life is in danger.”
On the issue of slavery, Thomas Jefferson once said: “We have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other.” In the U.S., the debate of abortion is another wolf, held by the ears. It is undoubtedly true that to hold ourselves above the practice of abortion will be inconvenient to many.
All abortions end in the death of an innocent human being, denied the right to life for no morally justifiable reason. Since the Supreme Court upheld abortion in Roe V. Wade, the Guttmacher Institute, a former branch of Planned Parenthood, records there have been over 50 million children lost to abortion in the one place where they should be the safest, the womb of their mother. The U.S. was intended to be a better place. Americans have the freedom and opportunity to stand up for the voiceless. It is high time the endowed and inalienable right to life are upheld in the land of the free.
Brett Landry is a 20-year-old mass communication senior from Bourg, Louisiana.