“Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question of whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of its life. And that is nothing but murder.” – Dietrich Bonheoffer.
Over the course of the last two weeks I have had conversations with two men who claim to be conservative but who also steadfastly defend a woman’s right to choose abortion. In both cases, the self-proclaimed conservative asserted that the government has no right to tell a woman what to do with “her” body. One went so far as to say that a government that could outlaw abortion could also re-institute slavery.
Support for a so-called constitutional right to abortion is completely at odds with conservatism. In fact, when you hear a “conservative” claiming to support abortion rights you can be certain that the individual simply does not understand basic conservative principles. In all likelihood the pro-abortion-choice “conservative” adopts the label because of self-interest. Perhaps he makes good money and does not want to pay high taxes. What makes a person human does not necessarily make him conservative.
When you suspect you are talking to a pseudo-conservative there are usually two questions you can ask that will either confirm or disconfirm your suspicions immediately.
First and foremost, it is important to ask the self-proclaimed conservative the following: “Do you believe in the inherent ‘goodness’ or ‘perfectibility’ of mankind.” If you hear a “yes” you are talking to a liberal. If you hear “Did you mean to say ‘person-kind’?” you are talking to a feminist. (So end the conversation as quickly as possible!).
If you hear the right answer to question one, you can move on to question two: “Does man get his rights from other men?” If you hear a “yes” you are talking to a liberal. If you hear “Did you mean to say ‘persons’” you are still talking to a feminist. (I thought I told you to end the conversation as quickly as possible!).
Roe v. Wade was (and is) a deeply flawed ruling because it is predicated upon the notion that man can grant rights to man not granted to him by God. The distinction between the first, second, and third trimesters was not based upon any long-standing legal doctrine. Nor was it based upon solid and reliable medical evidence. It was simply based upon identity politics.
Harry Blackmun, author of the majority opinion in Roe, once said “I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.” That was from his opinion in a death penalty case. But Blackmun also said that our “Constitution compels abortion on demand.” That basic human rights should be assigned in such an arbitrary manner does lend credence to Blackmun’s characterizations – made in a different context - of the Justices as “eccentrics” and “prima donnas.”
The authors of our Declaration of Independence - as well as the Framers of our Constitution – had a very different view of the origin and assignment of basic human rights. Lest we forget: “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 - To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …”
Medical technology has come a long way since 1973. It has told us what we knew in our hearts all along; namely, that abortion, regardless of the trimester in which it is performed, constitutes a deprivation of life initiated by our Creator.
Ultrasound technology allows us a better view of the target of the procedure known as abortion. It takes little intelligence to understand that something that is moving (and growing) is indeed alive. Technology also shows us that a new heart is beating within a month of conception. Surgical abortions are not even performed until 6 to 7 weeks into the pregnancy.
This issue is important as the conservative movement seeks in future elections to make inroads among blacks, Hispanics, and younger voters. It is important because all three of these groups have something in common: They are clearly pro-life on the issue of abortion.
Younger voters are moving in the direction of life simply because they are the first generation to grow up with basic access to and familiarity with ultrasound technology. With the help of this younger generation, which now responds to opinion polls, the country passed the 50% mark in opposition to abortion just two years ago.
So it would be politically disastrous for the conservative movement to compromise on abortion. We are in the enviable position of being out in front on an issue that is consistent with both our political goals and our deeply held principles. Leave it to the opposition to argue that men have endowed us with an unalienable right to stop a beating heart.