Townhall.com::Speaking as a Former Fetus…::By Dinesh D’Souza
Speaking as a former fetus, I welcome the Supreme Court’s decision permitting regulation of partial birth abortion.
D’Souza goes on to compare the current debate over abortion to the Lincoln-Douglas debates over slavery in the US Senate campaign of 1858. He compares the “pro-choice” position on abortion to Douglas’ “pro-choice” position on slavery:
Douglas, the Democrat, took the pro-choice position. He said that each state should decide for itself whether or not it wanted slavery. Douglas denied that he was pro-slavery. In fact, at one time he professed to be “personally opposed” to it. At the same time, Douglas was reluctant to impose his moral views on the new territories. Douglas affirmed the right of each state to choose. He invoked the great principle of freedom of choice.
“I’m not pro-abortion. I’m personally opposed, but I’m reluctant to impose my personal position on others.” Sound like anyone we know?
Lincoln, the Republican, disagreed. Lincoln argued that choice cannot be exercised without reference to the content of the choice. How can it make sense to permit a person to choose to enslave another human being? How can self-determination be invoked to deny others self-determination? How can choice be used to negate choice? At its deepest level, Lincoln is saying that the legitimacy of freedom as a political principle is itself dependent on a doctrine of natural rights that arises out of a specific understanding of human nature and human dignity.
The argument between Douglas and Lincoln is very similar in content, and very nearly in form, to the argument between the pro-choice and the pro-life movements. Pro-choice advocates don’t like to be considered pro-abortion. Many of them say they are “personally opposed.” One question to put to them is, “Why are you personally opposed?” The only reason for one to be personally opposed to abortion is that one is deeply convinced that the fetus is more than a mere collection of cells, that it is a developing human being.
If abortion is something you personally oppose, why do you oppose it? There’s really no reason to oppose it other than your belief that the abortion is killing a living human person. And if you believe that, how can you believe that it’s possibly a valid choice? You’re either lying about being opposed to it, or selling your conscience for political gain.
Finally, Dinesh turns his sights on the hard-liners in the pro-life movement:
In my view the pro-life movement at this point should focus on seeking to reduce the number of abortions. At times this will require political and legal fights, at times it will require education and the establishment of alternatives to abortion, such as adoption centers. Unfortunately such measures are sometimes opposed by so-called hardliners in the pro-life movement. These hardliners are fools. They want to outlaw all abortions, and so they refuse to settle for stopping some abortions, with the consequence that they end up preventing no abortions. These folks should learn some lessons from Abraham Lincoln.
He’s exactly right. Rome wasn’t built in a day. A quixotic focus on saving all unborn lives will cause us to fail to save some lives that could be savable now. In World War II, we defeated Japan by taking small island after small island. An assault on mainland Japan early in the war would have been a bloodbath and a failure without having taken the islands that allowed to have supply lines for our troops. We’re in a similar situation today: we’ve taken our first island, but there are many more to go. We’re not in any position to attack the mainland.