In Memoriam

 

From Michael Paulsen’s incredible essay on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, posted today on RealClearPolitics, a piece that manages to be both scrupulously objective and emotionally devastating:

After nearly four decades, Roe’s human death toll stands at nearly sixty million human lives, a total exceeding the Nazi Holocaust, Stalin’s purges, Pol Pot’s killing fields, and the Rwandan genocide combined. Over the past forty years, one-sixth of the American population has been killed by abortion. One in four African-Americans is killed before birth. Abortion is the leading cause of (unnatural) death in America.

And later:

Roe is a radical decision and a legally indefensible one. But what really makes Roe unbearably wrong is its consequences. The result of Roe and Doe has been the legally authorized killing of nearly sixty million Americans since 1973. Roe v. Wade authorized unrestricted private violence against human life on an almost unimaginable scale, and did so, falsely, in the name of the Constitution.

It is hard to escape this conclusion, but not impossible—and many certainly try. I will not here belabor the question of whether the intentional killing of innocent, dependent, vulnerable human children is a grave moral wrong. My concluding point concerns the lengths to which we will go to deny the reality of this holocaust, because it is almost unbearable to contemplate and still go on living life as if nothing is terribly wrong. The cognitive dissonance is simply too great. And so we have become, in effect, a nation of holocaust deniers.

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  1. Profile Photo Member
    @NormD

    There is no “Constitutional duty to protect innocent life”

    If you guys are so opposed to abortion, then convince your fellow citizens to outlaw it. Abortion was legal in California, where I live, before Roe and it would remain legal even if Roe were repealed.

    Don’t get me wrong, Roe is bad law, but it is not responsible for abortion.

    The reason abortion exists is because most citizens think it should exist and the pro-life movement has utterly failed to convince them otherwise.

    Blaming Roe is just scapegoating and excusing failure.

    • #31
  2. Profile Photo Inactive
    @katievs

    I mean, do you consider yourself morally superior to people who are more pro-abortion than you are?

    • #32
  3. Profile Photo Member
    @
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Trace Urdan: I think the problem with the argument is that in order to accept it you must already agree with the author, so it change no hearts or minds.

    I think to suggest that society is engaged in a de facto holocaust or mass genocide is to assume that you know when life begins.

    I have, of course, had friends who have had abortions or encouraged their sexual partners to do same. It is staggering to think how many men and women have been involved with abortion. And the issue is difficult and there are people on all sides. But we all know when life begins, even if we pretend otherwise. It’s not a matter of feeling or assumption. · 16 minutes ago

    But you dodged the question Mollie. Do you then think that consuming the morning after pill is the same thing as a late-term abortion? I don’t think that most people do believe that. Even if they might concede that is when life begins. This is the decision that the court struggled with in Rowe and what most people (voters) agree makes sense.

    • #33
  4. Profile Photo Member
    @MBF
    Karen What I’m asking is for pro-lifers to address why they have such high regard for the unborn, when those unborn, if born, would likely be part of dependent class that conservatives see as a “problem?” · 21 minutes ago

    It’s incredible the way you start the story in the middle as if there’s a predestined amount of poverty, a predestined amount of unemployment and that the welfare system is not itself in any way responsible for that … There’s not a predestined amount of teenaged pregnancies. I grew up in an era when people, and particularly blacks, were a lot poorer than today, faced a lot more discrimination than today, and in which teenage pregnancy rate was a lot lower than today. I don’t believe there is a predestined amount of teenage pregnancy.–Thomas Sowell (circa 1980)
    • #34
  5. Profile Photo Inactive
    @katievs
    NormD: There is no “Constitutional duty to protect innocent life”

    If you guys are so opposed to abortion, then convince your fellow citizens to outlaw it. Abortion was legal in California, where I live, before Roe and it would remain legal even if Roe were repealed.

    Don’t get me wrong, Roe is bad law, but it is not responsible for abortion.

    The reason abortion exists is because most citizens think it should exist and the pro-life movement has utterly failed to convince them otherwise.

    Blaming Roe is just scapegoating and excusing failure. · 0 minutes ago

    It’s not responsible for all abortion, but it is responsible for the explosive growth of abortion, as well as a grotesque perversion of law.

    • #35
  6. Profile Photo Member
    @BrianClendinen

    Actually this is worse than any genocide/holocaust. This makes Hitler/SS look like boy scouts compared to mothers willingly killing their children.

    Genocide was not preformed by mothers and fathers on the children or grandmothers convincing their daughters to kill their grandkids. One of the most powerful and incredible relationships there are in life is that of the mother child. Abortion is a viloation of this very human nature God put in us.

    Remember the Texas woman who drowned here 5 kids a few years back. This is what millions of woman have dones over the pass 39 nine years.

    Another parallel is in pagan religions such a Baal were there mother would put her child on an alter and and let the preist (aka Doctors) would burn her child alive to the Gods. Mother are no diffrent now other than the fact they don’t see the evidence of a living child. This is a prime example how we are really are primitive and barbaric people and progressives is constantly trying to bring us back to these ancient ways.

    • #36
  7. Profile Photo Inactive
    @katievs
    Trace Urdan

    But you dodged the question Mollie. Do you then think that consuming the morning after pill is the same thing as a late-term abortion? I don’t think that most people do believe that. Even if they might concede that is when life begins. This is the decision that the court struggled with in Rowe and what most people (voters) agree makes sense. · 2 minutes ago

    Trace, I’m guessing you didn’t read the article Troy linked.

    • #37
  8. Profile Photo Contributor
    @MollieHemingway
    Trace Urdan

    But you dodged the question Mollie. Do you then think that consuming the morning after pill is the same thing as a late-term abortion? I don’t think that most people do believe that. Even if they might concede that is when life begins. This is the decision that the court struggled with in Rowe and what most people (voters) agree makes sense. · 3 minutes ago

    Well, I didn’t “dodge” so much as focus on something else. But I’m not sure, exactly, what you’re asking. Do I believe that ending the life of a person of one age is “the same thing” as ending the life of a person of another age? Well, the “ending the life” part is certainly the same. The ages are different. It’s probably easier to pretend you’re not taking a life with the younger-aged victim.

    As for voters and courts and all that, I’m infinitely more concerned with my soul and working to ensure we embrace life across the board (as my pastor — and Ricochet member — preached earlier today). From before day one.

    • #38
  9. Profile Photo Member
    @
    katievs: I mean, do you consider yourself morally superior to people who are more pro-abortion than you are? · 1 minute ago

    Beg pardon Katie, but accusing abortion proponents of engaging in Holocaust is the very definition of moral superiority.

    • #39
  10. Profile Photo Member
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Trace Urdan said:

    But you dodged the question Mollie. Do you then think that consuming the morning after pill is the same thing as a late-term abortion? I don’t think that most people do believe that. Even if they might concede that is when life begins. This is the decision that the court struggled with in Rowe and what most people (voters) agree makes sense.

    I don’t speak for Mollie, obviously, just myself. The morning after pill might prevent pregnancy, by preventing ovulation. So I could not say that the morning after pill is necessarily equivalent to a late-term abortion. If the morning-after pill cause a human being to die, however, then in terms of ending a human life, they are the same. Many people do not agree, I accept that.

    The decision in Roe v. Wade has nothing to do with what most voters agree makes sense. In fact, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that it does not matter what the voters think, almost no law can be made to limit the absolute right to an abortion, no matter when human life might begin.

    • #40
  11. Profile Photo Inactive
    @katievs
    Trace Urdan

    katievs: I mean, do you consider yourself morally superior to people who are more pro-abortion than you are? · 1 minute ago

    Beg pardon Katie, but accusing abortion proponents of engaging in Holocaust is the very definition of moral superiority. · 1 minute ago

    How do you figure? Were the abolitions who claimed slavery was fundamentally and gravely immoral somehow also asserting their own superiority?

    • #41
  12. Profile Photo Member
    @
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    As for voters and courts and all that, I’m infinitely more concerned with my soul and working to ensure we embrace life across the board (as my pastor — and Ricochet member — preached earlier today). From before day one. · 0 minutes ago

    Again beg pardon, but this is disingenuous or why are we having this conversation to begin with?

    Abortion opponents intuitively understand that this is the essential issue or why do they create buildboard images of fetuses fully formed in the womb? To describe the flushing of a two-celled organism as genocide is to be tone deaf to what it will really take to reach consensus in this country.

    • #42
  13. Profile Photo Inactive
    @katievs

    The claim that the slaughter of tens of millions of innocents is a holocaust is a claim about objective reality.

    It says nothing whatsoever about the moral condition of the one making the claim.

    • #43
  14. Profile Photo Inactive
    @katievs
    Trace Urdan

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    As for voters and courts and all that, I’m infinitely more concerned with my soul and working to ensure we embrace life across the board (as my pastor — and Ricochet member — preached earlier today). From before day one. · 0 minutes ago
    Again beg pardon, but this is disingenuous or why are we having this conversation to begin with?

    Abortion opponents intuitively understand that this is the essential issue or why do they create buildboard images of fetuses fully formed in the womb? To describe the flushing of a two-celled organism as genocide is to be tone deaf to what it will really take to reach consensus in this country. · 1 minute ago

    Whose being disingenuous? No one is comparing a single case of abortion to a genocide. We are comparing the killing of tens of millions of innocent babies to genocide.

    • #44
  15. Profile Photo Member
    @CBToderakaMamaToad
    Trace Urdan

    katievs: I mean, do you consider yourself morally superior to people who are more pro-abortion than you are? · 1 minute ago

    Beg pardon Katie, but accusing abortion proponents of engaging in Holocaust is the very definition of moral superiority. · 2 minutes ago

    I will point out that the original use of the word holocaust was with a small “h.” The term “Holocaust” or sometimes “Shoah” is used to denote the systematic murder of millions, especially the 6 million Jews, in World War II, but “holocaust” is a biblical term meaning sacrifice or burnt offering. In its more generic use, it is an appropriate metaphor, since abortion is the sacrifice of the lives of the unborn so that people can live as they wish without responsibility for those children.

    I think it is wrong, as Troy Senik pointed out in post #5, to assume that Godwin’s Law can be invoked here.

    • #45
  16. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DutchTex

    Karen argues that we need to think about the 60 million that would have presumptively been born into poverty.

    1. As Arthur Brooks has so ably demonstrated, conservatives do more than liberals to help the poor in giving and doing.

    2. I would argue that there would have been significantly fewer than 60 million conceptions had abortion not been so readily available. Apparently, 46% of women who have abortions did not use birth control the month they got pregnant, and 47% have had abortions before.

    If abortion were not so readily available, is it not possible to imagine that women would be more careful with their bodies and their sexual relationships?

    • #46
  17. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Karen
    Mama Toad: Karen said: How do people reconcile a simultaneous contempt for those who chose to bring children into a cycle of dependency and for those who choose not to?

    Where is the contempt? You seem to be setting up a dichotomy that doesn’t exist. Not all the pro-life people I know are perfect, but I can’t recall ever having experienced contempt for those who are poor and have children.

    All too often, pro-abortion advocates sneer that pro-lifers only care about women and babies before the baby is born. This is a slander. There is no contempt, except towards prolife. · 10 minutes ago

    But don’t you see that “conservatives have contempt for the poor and minorities” is the very message that the left is successfully peddling? Perception is reality in this case. And they’ll continue to successfully market it as such until prolifers address it. The “it’s not a choice, it’s a child” bumper stickers only preach to the converted. The pro-life movement needs to address the broader ramifications of abortion on demand if they wish to gain traction.

    • #47
  18. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Astonishing

    Unless we repair our sexual mores, we will not be able to limit abortion in any substantial way.

    As long as we maintain the social acceptability of having sexual relations without benefit of marriage, we will maintain abortion.

    Because we love sexual promiscuity more than we hate abortion, we’ll find whatever rationale is useful to maintain the “quick fix” that seems to avoid the consequences.

    To say such things is to reveal oneself as ridiculously prudish and old-fashioned.

    • #48
  19. Profile Photo Inactive
    @HVTs
    NormD: There is no “Constitutional duty to protect innocent life”

    So the “unalienable Rights” to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” in the Declaration—rights for which Govt’s are expressly created in order that they may be “secured”—are nowhere to be found in the Constitution? But the unmentioned (anywhere) right to privacy is? That’s interesting.

    I’m not a Con Law expert . . . I propose we beseech Troy to get Ricochet editors Yoo & Epstein to address this in Law Talk (or here on the blog). I’ll humbly accept their judgment, but would ask that they also explain what the Founders understood to be the Constitution’s “penumbra” while they are at it.

    • #49
  20. Profile Photo Member
    @CBToderakaMamaToad
    Karen

    Mama Toad:

    But don’t you see that “conservatives have contempt for the poor and minorities” is the very message that the left is successfully peddling? Perception is reality in this case. … The pro-life movement needs to address the broader ramifications of abortion on demand if they wish to gain traction. · 1 minute ago

    I see quite well. I am not sure why you peddle the line, then, if you don’t buy it? Repeating the slander as truth, with no questioning on your part, makes it sound as if it is your belief as well.

    The idea that Margaret Sanger was a racist eugenicist should get traction, but it doesn’t. Ruth Bader Ginsburg admitted that abortion advocacy was driven by eugenics: “Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” — but you won’t hear about that except from whackos like myself.

    And frankly, prolifers have been addressing the care of poor and minorities since long before 1973. Are you really surprised that you won’t read about their work in the NYTimes?

    • #50
  21. Profile Photo Member
    @CBToderakaMamaToad
    Astonishing: Unless we repair our sexual mores, we will not be able to limit abortion in any substantial way.

    As long as we maintain the social acceptability of having sexual relations without benefit of marriage, we will maintain abortion.

    Because we love sexual promiscuity more than we hate abortion, we’ll find whatever rationale is useful to maintain the “quick fix” that seems to avoid the consequences.

    To say such things is to reveal oneself as ridiculously prudish and old-fashioned. · 11 minutes ago

    I’m a prude too!!!

    • #51
  22. Profile Photo Contributor
    @MollieHemingway
    Trace Urdan

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    As for voters and courts and all that, I’m infinitely more concerned with my soul and working to ensure we embrace life across the board (as my pastor — and Ricochet member — preached earlier today). From before day one. · 0 minutes ago
    Again beg pardon, but this is disingenuous or why are we having this conversation to begin with?

    In all honesty, I’m not entirely sure what we’re disagreeing about.

    • #52
  23. Profile Photo Member
    @NathanielWright

    “I think there are lots of people who have been woken up to the essential evil of abortion by the moral passion of those who “cry aloud and spare not”.”

    I don’t know how many people have been awoken by the moral passion of those who “cry aloud and spare not.” I imagine it is more than one and less than everyone. I don’t denounce those who use holocaust imagery as using it inappropriately in the sense of inaccuracy of scale. Certainly that is true.

    Where I think it fails is that it is an argument that cannot overcome the very problem in our culture, the nihilism of those who don’t value life. The cult of amoral non-empathy cannot be persuaded by a righteous indignation for something they don’t recognize.

    They don’t see the unborn as living. They aren’t thinking in a teleological manner. There is no-thing there at all. How can you convince someone that the killing of a non-thing is the same as systematic murder of sentient beings? You cannot.

    The key is to overcome the apathy and non-empathy. To create a culture of Life!

    • #53
  24. Profile Photo Inactive
    @KCMulville
    NormD:

    If you guys are so opposed to abortion, then convince your fellow citizens to outlaw it. Abortion was legal in California, where I live, before Roe and it would remain legal even if Roe were repealed.

    Of course, abortion was outlawed in the vast majority of the country, and had been outlawed in California until relatively recently before Roe.

    The fact is, the country was persuaded that abortion was wrong.

    What changed is that the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, which almost everyone agrees was a shoddy piece of reasoning, established a moral standard (privacy) that prevented argument. You can’t argue that abortion opponents have failed to persuade anyone, because legally, abortion opponents have never been given a chance to argue the law. The principle of privacy has simply been asserted to cover abortion, and there has yet to be a coherent argument that establishes why.

    Indeed, the Court now doesn’t even bother arguing for Roe’s logic. In Casey, the Court simply declared Roe moot but that abortion is now too ingrained to get rid of it.

    The fact is, we’ve won the argument.

    • #54
  25. Profile Photo Contributor
    @TommyDeSeno
    NormD: There is no “Constitutional duty to protect innocent life”

    I respectfully refer you to the 5th Amendment, which says explicitly (not in a penumbra) that we must portect life.

    • #55
  26. Profile Photo Contributor
    @TommyDeSeno
    NormD:

    Abortion was legal in California, where I live, before Roe and it would remain legal even if Roe were repealed.

    And before that it was illegal in California. Governor Reagan signed a law legalizing it.

    I’m imagining there would be efforts to repeal it, but contrary to your “let the people” decide” argument, thanks to Roe we aren’t allowed to let the people decide.

    Roe, it appears, is responsible for tens of millions of deaths.

    • #56
  27. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Astonishing
    Mama Toad

    Astonishing: Unless we repair our sexual mores, we will not be able to limit abortion in any substantial way.

    As long as we maintain the social acceptability of having sexual relations without benefit of marriage, we will maintain abortion.

    Because we love sexual promiscuity more than we hate abortion, we’ll find whatever rationale is useful to maintain the “quick fix” that seems to avoid the consequences.

    To say such things is to reveal oneself as ridiculously prudish and old-fashioned. · 11 minutes ago

    I’m a prude too!!! · 39 minutes ago

    Well, that makes two . . . which is, I suppose, a start.

    • #57
  28. Profile Photo Inactive
    @NobodysPerfect

    Well, the thread has been lively, I see.

    My original point was that invoking terms like holocaust, murder or mass slaughter when discussing abortion is repulsive. Oh, it plays well to the choir, but then, hysterical rhetoric often does.

    The fact is, though, that in a nation where only 20 percent of the people believe abortion should be illegal under all circumstances, for the decided minority to self-righteously hurl comparisons to Nazis and Pol Pot at the majority is a distasteful spectacle.

    • #58
  29. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @Percival
    HVTs

    Percival: That last came off a little rough, and I apollogize, but it was roughly the same argument that was used to justify getting rid of the “useless eaters” in Germany. All very reasonable sounding at the start, but ultimately it led to something fiendish.

    Since you’ve nothing for which to apologize, your apology is not accepted. Well there is one thing . . . murdering “useless eaters” was never “reasonable sounding.” It was always fiendish to even have that verbal construct.

    Good point, HVTs. I was trying to finish it fast because I was late for something. They tried to make it sound merciful at the beginning, but a large number of people weren’t having any. It was this, coupled with the treatment of the Jews, that set off Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

    (I just finished Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy this weekend. All you’ll ever need to slap down anyone running that “Hitler was a Christian” garbage past you.)

    I also misspelled “apologized.”

    • #59
  30. Profile Photo Inactive
    @katievs
    Nobody’s Perfect:

    My original point was that invoking terms like holocaust, murder or mass slaughter when discussing abortion is repulsive…

    The fact is, though, that in a nation where only 20 percent of the people believe abortion should be illegal under all circumstances, for the decided minority to self-righteously hurl comparisons to Nazis and Pol Pot at the majority is a distasteful spectacle.

    The whole question is whether it is true that in utero babies, by virtue of their being human beings, have an unalienable right to life, or whether they may be killed at will by their mothers.

    If the former is true, as we claim and argue, then comparisons to the Holocaust or to the slaughter of innocents—considering the tens of millions of tiny lives involved—however repulsive to those who don’t want to hear it, are entirely justified.

    The fact that this or that percentage of people don’t see the truth for what it is utterly beside the point.

    How is it to the point that only 20 percent of people believe that it should be illegal under all circumstances?

    • #60
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