Saturday, October 27, 2007

Abortion ruminations

Charles Moore has a thought-provoking column in the Telegraph on how abortion is viewed and defended in this age, which he compares to slavery 200 years ago. He makes some fascinating points, but I am not as sure about the inevitability of abortion being rejected in the future as Moore is.

This is largely because he compares it to what he sees as the inevitability of slavery being rejected. What I think Moore fails to see is how radical the movement to end slavery really was, and how unprecedented its success. Slavery was about as close to a universal institution as you could get--present virtually everywhere, in virtually every time, since the dawn of recorded history.

There's something undeniably naive about believing, in the face of all the history behind it, that civilization's rejection of slavery was inevitable in any sense of the word.

Likewise with abortion. The technology necessary for surgical abortions was not developed until the late 18th century; however, chemical abortions and infanticide by exposure have both been a constant presence since before the time of Christ.

And unlike slavery, where its ban was preceded by restrictions, in the case of abortion the trend has been in the exact opposite direction--the practice has been granted, in increasing measure, the sanction and blessing of governments throughout the world.

Can it be done? Yes, I think it can. Moore has it right in that the pro-life movement's most powerful allies (outside of God, for the religiously inclined) are science and technology, which are not only making it possible for the unborn to survive outside of the womb at an ever earlier age but are also making it ever clearer just how human those "blobs of tissue" really are. These allies will grow still stronger in the future.

But it serves no one to make light of just how massive a challenge this really is. As was the case with slavery, the pro-life movement is squaring off against history itself, seeking a break with the past every bit as radical and unprecedented as abolition was.

The pro-life movement may well succeed, but that success is far from inevitable--and only a fool would wager on a timeframe.


1 comment:

Dad29 said...

Well, in the end, slavery in the USA was solved by war.