imageEarlier this week in an interview with CNSNews.com, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum likened what abortion to slavery in the United States as both violate basic human rights.  He said:

Every person, every child conceived in the womb has a right to life from the moment of conception. Why? Because they are human, genetically human, at the moment of conception. They have the same genetic composition as you and I do from that moment on. And it’s alive. So it is human, by genetic, and it is alive, so it’s a human life. So the question is, not whether this is a human life. When Barack Obama is asked, you know, is a child in the womb a human life? ‘Oh, well, that’s above my pay grade.’ Just about everything else in the world he’s willing to do, to have the government do, but he can’t answer that basic question, which is not a debatable issue at all. I don’t think you’ll find a biologist in the world who will say that that is not a human life. The question is–and this is what Barack Obama didn’t want to answer–is that human life a person under the Constitution? And Barack Obama says no. Well, if that person, human life, is not a person, then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, no, we are going to decide who are people and who are not people.

He clarified his remarks with David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network:

For decades certain human beings were wrongly treated as property and denied liberty in America because they were not considered persons under the constitution.  Today other human beings, the unborn of all races, are also wrongly treated as property and denied the right to life for the same reason; because they are not considered persons under the constitution. I am disappointed that President Obama, who rightfully fights for civil rights, refuses to recognize the civil rights of the unborn in this country.

In the midst of the hysteria on the left over these comments, Time Magazine’s Joe Klein defended (though he disagrees) Santorum saying the complaints are a “classic example of political correctness run amok.”

….there is an internal logic to Santorum’s remarks that represents the exact opposite of racism.

First, you must understand that Santorum truly believes that abortion is murder–at any point after conception, even when the mother’s health is at risk (as it was in the case of one of his wife’s pregnancies). This is an extreme position, but not an implausible one. If you believe that a fetus is a person, then abortion is the denial of its most basic right–the right to exist. According to Santorum, the only other category of Americans whose civil rights were so severely truncated were slaves. He’s right about that. Slaves were considered property; there was also that most odious Constitutional assertion that, in terms of representation, blacks counted as 3/5s of a person. Santorum believes that this history should make the descendants of slaves more sensitive to the civil rights of fetuses. There are a great many members of the black church who would agree with him.

Now, once again, you may not believe that a fetus is a person–but if you do, as Santorum does, this is a perfectly reasonable argument, an argument against limiting the civil rights of anyone according to race or life status.

Looking out the window, I think I saw a glimpse of a pig flying.  I agree with Klein’s assessment that Santorum made a reasonable argument.  It is a mainstream position among those of us who are prolife.

3 comments
  1. To correct the record, the 3/5’s clause was created by the north to help mitigate pro-slavery congressional representation in congress by the south.

  2. That’s the thing–until Roe v Wade, abortion was often considered a civil rights issue not unlike slavery. First, the rights of the unborn child were being violated through the abortion procedure (in particular, the right to life). Second, many if not most of the early abortion proponents were eugenicists–they wanted to eliminate what they considered to be unhealthy genes from the human race through abortion. In particular, one of their targets were African Americans. For this reason, I understand that many of the African American civil rights leaders during the 1950s and 1960s were anti-abortion, and that even Jesse Jackson was anti-abortion until the late 1970s (sorry, but this is from memory, so I have no links). Santorum is merely echoing an earlier argument against abortion–an argument that was once nearly universally embraced.

  3. That’s the thing–until Roe v Wade, abortion was often considered a civil rights issue not unlike slavery. First, the rights of the unborn child were being violated through the abortion procedure (in particular, the right to life). Second, many if not most of the early abortion proponents were eugenicists–they wanted to eliminate what they considered to be unhealthy genes from the human race through abortion. In particular, one of their targets were African Americans. For this reason, I understand that many of the African American civil rights leaders during the 1950s and 1960s were anti-abortion, and that even Jesse Jackson was anti-abortion until the late 1970s (sorry, but this is from memory, so I have no links). Santorum is merely echoing an earlier argument against abortion–an argument that was once nearly universally embraced.

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