Civil War Dawning
By Esther Hartstein
January 16, 2002
"…..Before the abortion, we were both alive. Moments later, I was alone", abortion survivor Sarah Smith movingly reminisces. Sarah is a stunning blond woman whose mother once attempted to abort her many years ago. Eluding her mom, and the abortionist at the time, was the fact that twin fetuses actually shared the warmth of her womb, causing the procedure to abandon Sarah while it destroyed the trembling and pitiful body of her brother.
Sarah has taken her story and honed it into a cry on behalf of the unborn, arousing human compassion through speaking tours around the world. As I listen, trying to comprehend the enormity of her horrible experience, I am involuntarily reminded of the harrowing feats endured by slaves escaping to freedom. And I wonder, am I the only one sitting in awestruck notice of the congruities between the abortion debate, and the events leading up to the civil war?
Like the slave debate before it, the abortion debate is a sectionally divided polemic, pitting the G-d fearing wide open spaces against the fury of the cities. While this aspect of the abortion debate is in converse relation to the slave debate (which pitted the pro-slavery, largely agrarian South against the industrialized North), the factors defining each side are mainly congruous. The abolitionists consisted of a somewhat insular brand of highly charged radicalism, forming the foundation of the Republican Party. They closely aligned themselves with religious and industrial communities, bearing every marking of what is classically known as the "Radical Right". And, like all that is considered to be "right wing" and "extreme", the abolitionists were largely scorned, their compassion derided as pitiful fanaticism, to be met with arrogant burlesque from the pro-slavery left.
The latter, on the other hand, consisted of a proudly and flagrantly hierarchical bloc of Southerners whose arguments were alarmingly similar to those of the pro-choice left. They respectively believed that black people were sub-humans, and therefore fit for white man's use in any manner he pleased. They espoused an agenda that centered around the premise that a slave-owner's property was nobody else's business, and to interfere with whatever he chose to do with it was a violation.
Allied with the pro-slavery left were forces that opposed the constitution, the capitalist system, and the erosion of aristocracy (in other words, the equality of mankind). Pro-slavery leftists, such as Charles Dickens, argued that capitalism and the equal status of people were forms of anarchy. Ironically, many people who subscribed to this reasoning also considered the constitution to be mean and overly strict; to be a cruel dictator working against Democracy.
I shall repeat this paragraph in altered form.
Allied with the pro-choice left are forces who oppose the constitutional rights, the system of free enterprise, and the erosion of the educational hierarchy which currently exists in our society. Pro-choice leftists, such as NOW's Kim Gandy, argue that free trade and equal class status of people are forms of too little government involvement in people's trades and lives. Ironically, many people who subscribe to this belief in bossy government consider basic human protection laws, such as abortion restrictions and the right to bear arms, to be intrusive and overly harsh; to be cruel moralizers working against freedom.
The likeness I have just displayed between pro-slavery and pro-choice is eerily similar to the likeness between anti-slavery and anti-abortion. Both of the latter have witnessed ridicule and scorn for our compassion toward the victim, and for our flaming desire to see the torture of the victim abate. Both of us argue on premises of the value of the victim and the equality of mankind, in the face of our opponents, who argue that the victim is worthless, and that its fate should be solely the concern of its oppressor. Both of us are a minority among a swelling and unfeeling majority, but are of a caliber that refuses to abate.
I have drawn these comparisons not to condemn the opponent, but to draw light on something that is dark and quickly approaching: A new civil war. Yes, people, history does repeat itself, and we must face the ugly legacy of these consanguineous events. The good news is that the violent and barbaric practice of dismantling children in the womb is nearing its permanent cessation. But do we want a war? Does the memory of thousands of our fellow Americans falling to their deaths on the battlefield of slavery have enough potency to hold back our feuding hearts?
I beseech both sides of the abortion debate to join hands in mutual effort; to throw aside our petty differences in favor of nonviolent solutions to the obstacle of unplanned pregnancy. Who knows, maybe war could be circumvented, and our country could be united in the bipartisan fight against war. While our side is doing more than its part to achieve thus, pro-choice seems to be a wider horse to tame. The abortion debate has taken us up to a point reminiscent of the period between California's struggle for statehood, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. Like the slave power at that time, pro-choice, on the wings of their gospel of "freedom", has elevated itself from inflicting opposing territory with "rights" they deem crucial, at the objection of the people, to downright waging war against any institution which they feel does not recognize or promulgate these "rights". This was exemplified by NY and CA's recent jihads against crisis pregnancy centers that do not perform abortions. How, in heaven's name, do we find common ground with an opponent that wants nothing other than murder? Perhaps we do not have the ability to sway the hard-core base supporting our opponent, but maybe the people will listen. Historically, the Republican Party accumulated large support during the mid-1800's from people who felt that the slave power had violated the rights of those who did not wish to be associated with slavery. Many of these people lacked abolitionist convictions, but found themselves at odds with the slave power nonetheless.
So this is how it is to be. The abortion power, like the slave power before it, will trip on its own evil and take the issue it has fought for with it forever. But can we change our fate? Can we avoid war?
Copyright 2002 by Esther Hartstein. Not to be reproduced in any fashion, in whole or in part, without written consent from the author. All rights reserved.