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 Inactive
    @HVTs
    Tommy De Seno

    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.

    Yes, it says, “… nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Of course, “due process” as concerns a fetus is (how’s this for understatement?) problematic to implement. So, that’s why I’m content to let Profs Yoo & Epstein sort this out for us, penumbra and all. If the Constitutional answers were straightforward, we wouldn’t be having this tortuous debate.

    • #61
  2. Profile Photo Inactive
    @NoesisNoeseos
    Nobody’s Perfect: …

    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. · 23 minutes ago

    As distasteful as abortion itself?

    I don’t really want to fight with you. I’ll assume that you are raising a tactical issue. I’ll just mention that the battle for public opinion takes time. Pro-abortion advocates used wild rhetoric (plus their advantage in the colleges and on the newspapers) to belittle pro-life folks. But the tide may turn, and it will be the homicides who will have to face the rhetorical heat.

    The campaign to end slavery in America persisted for at least eighty years. Some abolitionists used the more moderate persuasions of Harriet Beecher Stowe, some the more bombastic scoldings of William Lloyd Garrison. Both played parts in ending that evil.

    I’ll also add that if the question were returned to the states’ legislatures, laws and punishments could be designed to address the issues of circumstances you raise.

    • #62
  3. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Astonishing
    Nobody’s Perfect:

    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.

    Such analogies are not excessive.

    Which polite words should one use to describe the practice of chopping to pieces an innocent human being alive inside its mother’s womb?

    One can hardly conceive an act more unnatural, brutal, and inhuman.

    To imagine vividly such a thing done only once chills the soul, and makes one feel ashamed of one’s own humanity.

    Multiply by sixty million individual events . . . and then frail humanity becomes too weak to admit the horror of the brutal acts, but instead complains about the distasteful words.

    Repulsive words fit to describe repulsive acts.

    • #63
  4. Profile Photo Member
    @CBToderakaMamaToad
    Nobody’s Perfect: You do not characterize accurately. You are a provocateur.

    Excuse me, but you put up a post characterizing people who use contraception – and I imagine that would include most of the people on this site – as “immoral”.

    That’s about as provocative as one can imagine. If you don’t want pushback, don’t put up provocative posts. · 6 hours ago

    I never did. This is again a mis-characterization of what I have said.

    I don’t have any problem defending anything I have said or written. Defending myself from what you claim I said is a different story. Keep trying! Like I said, I don’t embarrass easily!

    • #64
  5. Profile Photo Member
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Nobody’s Kenneth, as a sinner who herself is Not Perfect, I don’t speak of immoral people. When I say immoral, I quite clearly refer to acts, not people. This is perhaps too subtle a distinction, since you seem repeatedly unable to grasp it?

    • #65
  6. Profile Photo Inactive
    @NobodysPerfect

    The whole question is whether it is true that in utero babies, by virtue of their being human beings

    It’s your belief that life begins at conception. And that’s fine. Others, who do not share that belief, are hardly going to be brought around to your view by vilification.

    You’ve got a lot of persuading to do. Remember, you are, ultimately, advocating the imprisonment of people’s wives, daughters, sisters and doctors. Shrieking “holocaust” and “murder” isn’t going to help you.

    • #66
  7. Profile Photo Inactive
    @NobodysPerfect

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

    Because you posture as though you have a monopoly upon the one revealed truth, when, in fact, you’re a member of a marginal minority.

    • #67
  8. Profile Photo Member
    @NormD

    Do any of you consider for a millisecond what kind of laws could be passed if there really is a “Constitutional duty to protect innocent life”, especially if a fetus is defined as innocent life?

    Liberals would not need a Commerce Clause to Do-Good they would claim they are using the Constitution’s “protect innocent life” clause.

    Who does the protecting? Federal police? Protect against what? Smoking? Drinking? Driving too fast? Eating Ice Cream? Working too hard? Living near chemical plants? Global Warming?

    BTW, as far as I know, except in special situations, murder is a state crime.

    • #68
  9. Profile Photo Inactive
    @KCMulville
    Nobody’s Perfect: Shrieking “holocaust” and “murder” isn’t going to help you.

    Shrieking?

    Whoa there. You characterize pro-lifers as “shrieking,” while at the same time saying that vilification isn’t going to help. Well, describing us as shrieking isn’t exactly … polite … is it? And it isn’t helping, is it?

    Your position is that people will be offended if you tell them that their actions cause death to innocent life. That the legalization of this procedure has caused death to tens of millions of innocent lives. Pointing that out, and refusing to resort to euphemisms, isn’t shrieking at people.

    • #69
  10. Profile Photo Contributor
    @TommyDeSeno
    Nobody’s Perfect: .

    for the decided minority to self-righteously hurl comparisons to Nazis and Pol Pot at the majority is a distasteful spectacle. · 2 hours ago

    The only one doing that is you, NP.

    The comparisons I see the rest of us making is to the number of dead, nothing else. I would be no more comparing American mothers who have aborted to Hitler than I would mothers to car accidents if I were to compare the deaths there.

    • #70
  11. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Karen
    Mama Toad

    Karen

    Mama Toad:

    The abortion argument should be about class warfare, not legality or morality. The Right has failed to argue on these terms. You won’t convince women to stop having abortions by claiming the moral high ground. Abortion disproportionately impacts the poor and minorities, yet despite their support of abortion the Left has their vote, all while they promote a culture of dependency and victimhood. The fact that this persists reflects a failure on the part of pro-life conservatives. It doesn’t matter if pro-lifers feel their beliefs are justified, continuing to make the same arguments, the same way (and shooting the messenger) and expecting a different outcome is, well, crazy. Pro-life conservatives must spend more energy proposing and supporting alternatives to abortion, creating opportunities for people to better themselves, instead of spending a great deal of time condemning those who support abortion.

    • #71
  12. Profile Photo Contributor
    @TommyDeSeno
    Nobody’s Perfect:

    It’s your belief that life begins at conception.

    Are you denying science? Not one scientist in the world will say the zygote is not “alive.” You are confusing “alive” which is a scientific term with “personhood” which is a purely legal term defined by legislators (and Judges) which has no scientific meaning.

    • #72
  13. Profile Photo Member
    @
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Trace Urdan: …is to assume that you know when life begins.

    … But we all know when life begins, even if we pretend otherwise. It’s not a matter of feeling or assumption. · 17 hours ago

    The living gametes form the zygote during the process of conception – and conception is a process. A strong argument can be made that the gametes are the initial instance of a unique individual, and the uniqueness of their combination has always put me in mind of the different levels of infinities.

    Tommy De Seno

    Nobody’s Perfect:

    It’s your belief that life begins at conception.

    Are you denying science? Not one scientist in the world will say the zygote is not “alive.” …· 13 hours ago

    I’d be surprised if any scientist would say the gametes (sperm and egg) are not alive.

    Instead of the morning-after pill (prevents implantation, not ovulation) consider a contraceptive that stopped conception after sperm entry but before nuclear fusion. Is it birth control or abortion? This is not a science question!

    As parents we choose to create another person. Deliberately childless people choose not to do so. (At my word limit).

    • #73
  14. Profile Photo Inactive
    @FeliciaB
    Karen

    Mama Toad

    Karen

    Mama Toad:

    The abortion argument should be about class warfare, not legality or morality. The Right has failed to argue on these terms. You won’t convince women to stop having abortions by claiming the moral high ground. Abortion disproportionately impacts the poor and minorities, yet despite their support of abortion the Left has their vote, all while they promote a culture of dependency and victimhood. The fact that this persists reflects a failure on the part of pro-life conservatives. It doesn’t matter if pro-lifers feel their beliefs are justified, continuing to make the same arguments, the same way (and shooting the messenger) and expecting a different outcome is, well, crazy. Pro-life conservatives must spend more energy proposing and supporting alternatives to abortion, creating opportunities for people to better themselves, instead of spending a great deal of time condemning those who support abortion. · 1 hour ago

    Edited 50 minutes ago

    Oh, but conservative have, Karen, through private adoption agencies, teen pregnancy crisis centers which advocate adoption. The gov’t under the Bush W. admin. even made a wrong-headed decision to subsidize adoption – $10,000 worth per kid.

    • #74
  15. Profile Photo Inactive
    @FeliciaB
    Tommy De Seno

    Nobody’s Perfect:

    It’s your belief that life begins at conception.

    Are you denying science? Not one scientist in the world will say the zygote is not “alive.” You are confusing “alive” which is a scientific term with “personhood” which is a purely legal term defined by legislators (and Judges) which has no scientific meaning. · 1 hour ago

    One of the first thing we learn in biological sciences is that a cell is a smallest living oraganism.

    • #75
  16. Profile Photo Member
    @
    Tommy De Seno

    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. · 4 hours ago

    The Constitution stipulates that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, etc without due process. Presumably, you go on to infer that the Constitution prohibits abortion, since abortion is the deprivation of life without due process. The implicit premise however is that a fetus is a person.

    -A person is something which may not be deprived of its life without due process

    -A fetus is a person

    -A fetus is something which may not be deprived of its life without due process, i.e., abortion is unconstitutional.

    In this case, one can quite easily concede that a fetus is living; this is uncontroversial. But what’s a person and how does a fetus qualify?

    • #76
  17. Profile Photo Inactive
    @KCMulville
    Michael Labeit But what’s a person and how does a fetus qualify?

    How about this question first: why make a distinction between a living human being … and a person?

    Is it that we have a definition of personhood and we’re trying to fit the fetus into that defintion … or … is it that the legal idea of personhood is a fiction in the first place?

    One note to consider: no “person” is anything other than a single human being, or a group of living human beings acting in concert. Whether single or a group .. they’re all composed of living human beings. You cannot have a legal person without at least one human living being.

    If you’re a living human being … you’re a person. Persons may be more than one living human being, but they can’t be anything less.

    • #77
  18. Profile Photo Member
    @
    KC Mulville

    Michael Labeit But what’s a person and how does a fetus qualify?

    How about this question first: why make a distinction between a living human being … and a person?

    My response to Tommy concerns the Constitution; the Constitution refers to “persons” not “living human beings”. He makes a constitutional argument in which the middle term that permits him to state that a fetus is worthy of legal protection is “person”. I merely ask how a fetus qualifies as that middle term, and moreover, for a description of that middle term.

    • #78
  19. Profile Photo Member
    @
    KC Mulville

    Michael Labeit But what’s a person and how does a fetus qualify?

    Is it that we have a definition of personhood and we’re trying to fit the fetus into that defintion … or … is it that the legal idea of personhood is a fiction in the first place?

    Presumably, for those who argue against abortion or, if you prefer, in favor of pre-natal rights, there is a definition of personhood; “person” is a class of things of which “fetus” is a member.

    • #79
  20. Profile Photo Inactive
    @NoesisNoeseos
    KC Mulville

    Michael Labeit But what’s a person and how does a fetus qualify?

    How about this question first: why make a distinction between a living human being … and a person?

    Is it that we have a definition of personhood and we’re trying to fit the fetus into that defintion … or … is it that the legal idea of personhood is a fiction in the first place?

    One note to consider: no “person” is anything other than a single human being, or a group of living human beings acting in concert. Whether single or a group .. they’re all composed of living human beings. You cannot have a legal person without at least one human living being.

    If you’re a living human being … you’re a person. Persons may be more than one living human being, but they can’t be anything less. · 10 minutes ago

    You have accurately described the concept of the human person. All individuals of a species, at whatever stage of development, participate in the form of that species.

    But I wonder, is there a different legal meaning of personhood? Can any of our lawyers help us here?

    • #80
  21. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @JosephStanko
    Karen: And how can people wish to deny abortions to women, but also wish to deny them access to contraception to prevent pregnancies in the first place? · 8 hours ago

    Who precisely wants to “deny them access to contraception?” Please name names and cite sources.

    I oppose the government spending my tax dollars to give anyone free contraception, if that’s what you mean. I find it very hard to believe that in this country where so many “poor” Americans own TVs, cars, and air conditioning and where condoms are sold in every grocery, drug, and convenience store that poor Americans are getting pregnant because they can’t buy condoms.

    • #81
  22. Profile Photo Inactive
    @NobodysPerfect

    Who precisely wants to “deny them access to contraception?” Please name names and cite sources.

    Mama Toad, on the Member Feed, yesterday, for one.

    • #82
  23. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @JosephStanko
    Noesis Noeseos

    KC Mulville

    Michael Labeit But what’s a person and how does a fetus qualify?

    If you’re a living human being … you’re a person. Persons may be more than one living human being, but they can’t be anything less. · 10 minutes ago
    You have accurately described the concept of the human person. All individuals of a species, at whatever stage of development, participate in the form of that species.

    But I wonder, is there a different legal meaning of personhood? Can any of our lawyers help us here? · 2 minutes ago

    According to Merriam-Webster:

    1: human, individual

    6: one (as a human being, a partnership, or a corporation) that is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties

    So yes, there is a different legal definition of person, in that it can include corporations and partnerships as well. Person is a superset of human being. All human beings are persons, but not all persons are human beings.

    • #83
  24. Profile Photo Member
    @CBToderakaMamaToad
    Nobody’s Perfect: Who precisely wants to “deny them access to contraception?” Please name names and cite sources.

    Mama Toad, on the Member Feed, yesterday, for one. · 0 minutes ago

    Nobody’s Kenneth, you do not quote fairly. You do not characterize accurately. You are a provocateur.

    You are talking about this thread, in which I argued against contraception on the grounds that it damages the relations between the sexes. You might note that I said:

    I don’t think it is possible to outlaw contraception, but I pray that people will consider its effect in their own lives. Men and women are meant to be helpmeets to each other. Contraception makes that increasingly unlikely and more difficult.

    But if you noted that, you would be fair and accurate. Instead you think it is more fun to accuse me of tyrannically imposing the Spanish Inquisition.

    I challenge anyone to read what I have written and find evidence to support your ridiculous claims. It is a mystery why Ricochet keeps putting up with you.

    • #84
  25. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @JosephStanko
    Nobody’s Perfect: Who precisely wants to “deny them access to contraception?” Please name names and cite sources.

    Mama Toad, on the Member Feed, yesterday, for one. · 9 minutes ago

    Mama Toad argued that contraception is immoral and “has no business being mandated by the government.” I agree on both counts.

    Are you suggesting that if I oppose the provisions of Obamacare through which the federal government claims the power to mandate that all health care plans nationwide must cover contraception under penalty of federal law, that means I want to deny someone access to contraception? Have we really reached the point where there’s no conceivable middle ground between mandated and prohibited?

    • #85
  26. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MikeLaRoche
    Mama Toad

    Nobody’s Perfect: Who precisely wants to “deny them access to contraception?” Please name names and cite sources.

    Mama Toad, on the Member Feed, yesterday, for one. · 0 minutes ago

    Nobody’s Kenneth, you do not quote fairly. You do not characterize accurately. You are a provocateur.

    You are talking about this thread, in which I argued against contraception on the grounds that it damages the relations between the sexes. You might note that I said:

    I don’t think it is possible to outlaw contraception, but I pray that people will consider its effect in their own lives. Men and women are meant to be helpmeets to each other. Contraception makes that increasingly unlikely and more difficult.

    But if you noted that, you would be fair and accurate. Instead you think it is more fun to accuse me of tyrannically imposing the Spanish Inquisition.

    I challenge anyone to read what I have written and find evidence to support your ridiculous claims. It is a mystery why Ricochet keeps putting up with you. · 2 hours ago

    Indeed, you’d think after three previous bans he’d learn his lesson.

    • #86
  27. Profile Photo Inactive
    @HVTs
    Joseph Stanko

    Have we really reached the point where there’s no conceivable middle ground between mandated and prohibited?

    I think we arrived at this sad location when not increasing federal expenditures for (insert good cause here) became near universally (meaning inside the closed loop of the DC beltway) referred to as a budget cut.

    • #87
  28. Profile Photo Member
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Thanks for posting this, Troy. I posted a link to the live feed of the March for Life at the members page, and will also post it here.

    The hundreds of thousands there in Washington today are the exact opposite of holocaust deniers.

    • #88
  29. Profile Photo Inactive
    @NobodysPerfect

    This may be the first example of Godwin’s Law I’ve seen on Ricochet.

    • #89
  30. Profile Photo Member
    @NathanielWright

    I have always felt that comparisons of the horrible consequences of abortion to the holocaust fall flat rhetorically. Those who perform abortions and those who defend the “right” to kill the unborn don’t do so out of some affirmative hatred of the unborn. There is little rhetoric (outside of the Zero Population Growth movement) asserting that the unborn are a virus, a cancer, or are vermin.

    No, the greatest tragedy is that the killing of the unborn is done with a nihilistic absence of malice. There is a genuine amoral and apathetic lack of empathy for the unborn. When I found out that my wife was pregnant, I knew I was a father and I loved that child instantly. I imagined his/her future immediately. I empathized with something that had just begun to live. This isn’t true of those who advocate abortion or perform it.

    They are not holocaust deniers, they are the Last Man.

    “Lo! I show you the Last Man. “What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?” — so asks the Last Man, and blinks.”
    • #90
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