This week marked the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and since state-sanctioned slaughter via judicial fiat began at least 50 million Americans have been killed. Over the last 40 years there have been some eloquent attempts to win the defining moral argument of our age, but few have come close to being as effective as the one I’m sharing with you today.
And it was written by Jesse Jackson. Yes, that Jesse Jackson.
To commemorate the 4th anniversary of Roe v. Wade in 1977, Jackson wrote an editorial titled How We Respect Life is the Over-Riding Moral Issue. What’s particularly unique about the article is that it both defends the right to life and reconciles it with Jackson’s liberal politics. The article is too big to post here in its entirety, and I would certainly recommend reading all of it in context. But just to whet your appetite, here are a few powerful excerpts:
• “The question of abortion confronts me in several different ways. First, although I do not profess to be a biologist, I have studied biology and know something about life from the point of view of the natural sciences. Second, I am a minister of the Gospel and therefore, feel that abortion has a religious and moral dimension that I must consider. Third, I was born out of wedlock (and against the advice that my mother received from her doctor) and therefore abortion is a personal issue for me. From my perspective, human life is the highest good, and God is the supreme good because He is the giver of life. That is my philosophy. Everything I do proceed from that religious and philosophical premise.”
• “Therefore, life is the highest human good because life is sacred. Biologically speaking, thousands of male sperms are ejaculated into the female reproductive tract during sexual intercourse, but only once in a while do the egg and sperm bring about fertilization. Some call that connection accidental, but I choose to call it providential. It takes three to make a baby: a man, a woman and the Holy Spirit.”
• “Human beings cannot give or create life by themselves it is really a gift from God. Therefore, one does not have the right to take away (through abortion) that which he does not have the ability to give.”
• “Some of the most dangerous arguments for abortion stem from popular judgments about life's ultimate meaning, but the logical conclusion of their position is never pursued. Some people may, unconsciously, operate their lives as if pleasure is life's highest good, and pain and suffering man's greatest enemy. That position, if followed to its logical conclusion, means that that which prohibits pleasure should be done away with by whatever means are necessary. By the same rationale, whatever means are necessary should be used to prevent suffering and pain. My position is not to negate pleasure nor elevate suffering, but merely to argue against their being elevated to an ultimate end of life. Because if they are so elevated, anything, including murder and genocide, can be carried out in their name.”
• “Psychiatrists, social workers and doctors often argue for abortion on the basis that the child will grow up mentally and emotionally scared. But who of us is complete? If incompleteness were the criteria for taking life we would all be dead. If you can justify abortion on the basis of emotional incompleteness then your logic could also lead you to killing for other forms of incompleteness -- blindness, crippleness, and old age.”
• “There are those who argue that the right to privacy is of higher order than the right to life. I do not share that view. I believe that life is not private, but rather it is public and universal. If one accepts the position that life is private, and therefore you have the right to do with it as you please, one must also accept the conclusion of that logic. That was the premise of slavery. You could not protest the existence or treatment of slaves on the plantation because that was private and therefore outside of your right to concerned.”
• “Another area that concerns me greatly, namely because I know how it has been used with regard to race, is the psycholinguistics involved in this whole issue of abortion. If something can be dehumanized through the rhetoric used to describe it, then the major battle has been won. That is why the Constitution called us three-fifths human and then whites further dehumanized us by calling us ‘niggers.’ It was part of the dehumanizing process. The first step was to distort the image of us as human beings in order to justify that which they wanted to do and not even feel like they had done anything wrong. Those advocates of taking life prior to birth do not call it killing or murder; they call it abortion. They further never talk about aborting a baby because that would imply something human. Rather they talk about aborting the fetus. Fetus sounds less than human and therefore can be justified.
• “It is that question, the question of our attitude, our value system, and our mind-set with regard to the nature and worth of life itself that is the central question confronting mankind. Failure to answer that question affirmatively may leave us with a hell right here on earth.”
Sadly, just a few years after he wrote these words Jackson reversed himself. A decade later Jackson appeared at a large Los Angeles rally in favor of child killing and urged the crowd to “fight for the right of self-determination” and that “God has endowed us” with the right to kill others.