Lincoln and Obama, Slavery and Abortion

via: theologica

Jeffrey Anderson and Darren Guerra recently argued that President Obama is more in step with Stephen Douglas and John C. Calhoun than with Abraham Lincoln. An excerpt:

There are significant parallels between these two issues. Each is likely the political or moral issue about which Americans of their era have, or had, the most passionate feelings and the strongest opinions. Each was ultimately decided, at least for a while, by the Supreme Court — in favor of legalized slavery and legalized abortion. And each involves conflicting interpretations of fundamental natural rights — of liberty versus property in the case of slavery, of life versus liberty in the case of abortion. . . . Both slavery and abortion ultimately reduce to competing claims over unalienable rights. No one can justly take the liberty or life of another if that other qualifies for the rights with which all of humanity is endowed. Thus, debates over slavery eventually became — as debates over abortion eventually become — debates over the humanity of the slave or the fetus. If the slave or the fetus are among those beings who, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, “are created equal” and “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” then their unalienable rights to life (in the case of abortion) and liberty (in the case of slavery) must be secured. If they are not, then a slave-master may be said to have a right to property in a slave, and a pregnant woman may be said to have a right to liberty in the form of abortion.

Read the whole thing (but note that it’s two pages, not one–it’s hard to tell from the design on their page).


1 Comment

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One response to “Lincoln and Obama, Slavery and Abortion

  1. Dan Walker

    I don’t see the parallels between slavery issue and abortion. For one thing — those who were anti slavery in 1860 were sincere as a heart attack. We see politicians today that like to pander to abortion foes, but sometimes have abortions themselves. More than one man has proclaimed he is against abortion – but when he gets a woman pregnant, suddenly he thinks 1,000 dollars for an abortion is a lot cheaper than 200,000 dollars in child care.

    For another thing – it’s the woman’s body. The conflict is “who decides what goes on in that woman’s body?” Does the woman have a right to determine what goes on in her body – or does the government?

    All of us agree abortion is bad, you can even say it’s a sin, its evil, whatever. But who gets to decide what goes on in that woman’s body? Does the government get to decide?

    Slavery is not the same thing. The government has to sanction slavery — it has to be protected, slaves have to be returned if they run away — contracts to sell the children have to be enforcable in, Slavery an onlyl exist with much support by the legal framework of a society or state.

    Slavery involves the entire society. Slave labor has profound effects on the entire culture and economy. The abortion is between the woman andd her doctor.

    Abortion is the woman’s right, her right to her body. Her right to be WRONG even about ther body.

    Should the government be forcing women to give birth? By what right?

    So no, slavery and abortion or not the same thing.

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