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Are the Unborn “Less than Human”?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Leading Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said over the weekend, “The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.” She made her remarks on NBC’s “Meet the Press” (4/3/16).

I’m amazed that she even used the phrase “unborn person.” Many times those who favor abortion rights use demeaning phrases like “clump of tissue” or “POC,” i.e., “Product of Conception.”

Clinton went on to say, “Now that doesn’t mean that we don’t do everything we possibly can in the vast majority of instances to, you know, help a mother who is carrying a child and wants to make sure that child will be healthy, to have appropriate medical support.”

Carrying a “child”? Wow. That’s even more surprising. It’s almost as if to her way of thinking, the unborn is a child, if the mother wants the baby. If the mother chooses against having the child, then s/he is an “it”---a fetus, a parasite to the mother.

But, of course, “fetus,” a term those who favor abortion rights use to dehumanize the child, is actually Latin for unborn baby. Words can give life. Words can kill. Planned Parenthood has now rebuked Hillary for calling a “fetus” an “unborn child.”

Liberals are happy with Roe v. Wade and its companion decision of the same day, Doe v. Bolton. These two decisions combined (January 22, 1973) give us abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy.

It took a lot of semantic gymnastics to get abortion accepted in America. Actually, it took a majority of lawyers on the High Court to get it forced on us.

In Roe v. Wade, the pro-abortion majority noted that there were various views as to “when life begins.” There was dispute “in terms of the point at which the embryo or fetus became ‘formed’ or recognizably human, or in terms of when a ‘person’ came into being, that is, infused with a ‘soul’ or ‘animated.’"

The Court passed judgment on a whole class of human beings---the unborn---and declared them inhuman, non-persons. Therefore, they had no Constitutional rights. And now, we have seen more than 55 million unborn babies slaughtered in America.

In the infamous 1857 decision of Dred Scott v. Sanford, the Supreme Court declared, “The Constitution of the United States recognizes slaves as property…”

As a slave, the Court declared, Dred Scott did not have the right to bring suit in the federal courts on any matter. The Supreme Court said, “A free negro of the African race, whose ancestors were brought to this country and sold as a slave, is not a ‘citizen’ within the meaning of the Constitution of the United States.”

In short, sit down and shut up, Mr. Scott. You’re a non-person, a non-citizen. You’re out of luck. This terrible exercise of judicial activism was a catalyst for the Civil War.

The Constitution empowers “we the people.” Not we the judges. Not we the lawyers. Not we the ruling class elite. But we the people.

Yet in these two cases, the Supreme Court has acted to remove constitutional rights from whole classes of Americans.

In his classic book, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation (1984), President Reagan wrote, “Another William Brennan---not the Justice---has reminded us of the terrible consequences that can follow when a nation rejects the sanctify of life ethic: ‘The cultural environment for a human holocaust is present whenever ay society can be misled into defining individuals as less than human and therefore devoid of value and respect.’” [Emphasis mine]

The William Brennan whom Reagan cites is a now-retired professor in the School of Social Service at St. Louis University. He has written The Abortion Holocaust and Dehumanizing the Vulnerable: When Word Games Take Lives.” He documents how humans can justify all manner of mistreating other humans by engaging in semantic exercises.

Dr. Brennan once told me in a television interview: “’What is legal is moral’ is a frightening slogan used to justify all types of atrocities down through history. Legality was used to justify the ownership of slaves, the slave trade, the extermination of Indians on the American frontier, the killing of the Jews, and the destruction of the unwanted unborn and born dead babies today.”

My colleague John Rabe points out that Hillary’s recent comment is even more shocking in that she doesn’t even engage in euphemism: “She’s using the language of personhood and still denying those people their protections. This is actually a deeper step of hardening.”

The Bible puts it best when it says we are knit together in our mother’s womb and are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Mere words do not mask that reality. That’s why thousands of Christians work diligently to provide loving alternatives to abortion, because we know the unborn is indeed a “child,” a “person.” 

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