The modern Democratic Party’s stance on abortion rights is almost indistinguishable from its antebellum stance on the constitutionality of slaveowner rights.
Prior to the Civil War amendments, Democrats asserted that the inherent rights of white men, not just property rights but all of them, required the complete denial of the rights of black Americans. Today, Democrats assert that the inherent rights of women require the complete denial of the rights of the unborn.
Chief Justice Roger Taney in his infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision perhaps captured this view best when he argued that when the Founding Fathers wrote “all men are created equal,” they did not really mean it. They only meant white men are created equal. If they had really meant that all men are created equal, including black men, wrote Taney, the Founders “would have been utterly and flagrantly inconsistent with the principles they asserted; and instead of the sympathy of mankind, to which they so confidently appealed, they would have deserved and received universal rebuke and reprobation.”
Taney’s view, and the view of all pro-slavery Americans at the time, was that the Constitution held no protections whatsoever for black people. They had zero rights, and indeed only the formal recognition of this could fully vindicate the constitutionally protected rights of southern slaveowners. After all, if a white man could be equal to a black man, then a white man was nothing: he could be enslaved, segregated, subjected to all the deprivations the black man was subjected to. The inherent rights of the white man depended on the denial of all rights to the black man.
That’s why, three years after the Dred Scott decision, the southern slave states seceded from the Union following the election of Abraham Lincoln. If slavery were to be curtailed or prohibited, even in the territories, southern slaveowners believed their entire way of life would be destroyed, and with it their constitutional rights. Given the stakes, and the principles in question, they felt they had no choice but to secede. …
The exact same thing can be said of today’s pro-abortion Democrats. They believe that the denial of all rights to the unborn is integral to what they understand to be women’s constitutionally protected rights, without which they will cease to be citizens with equal rights as their male counterparts. If women are not allowed to kill their unborn babies, they will be stripped of their full humanity, just as stripping slavery from southern whites meant, to them, stripping full humanity from white people….
It took a civil war and three constitutional amendments to correct the Supreme Court’s error in Dred Scott. This time it took 60 million unborn dead before the Supreme Court corrected the error of Roe.
In the coming days and weeks, expect Democrats to sound the same notes of secession their forebears sounded. A constitutional order that vindicates the rights of the unborn is not a constitutional order they want to be a part of. We will hear the same arguments we heard in the 1850s and 60s, but instead of objecting to the emancipation of black Americans they will object to the emancipation of the unborn. Understand what this means. The last time Democrats openly made these kind of arguments, war soon followed.
War over abortion? I doubt it’s going to come to that.
Now that the US has properly returned the matter over to politicians and the democratic process, the outcome will be like in the rest of the West — varying laws, with varying limits, according to the wishes of the locals. And abortion in the rest of the west is not an election-time issue (except in Ireland).
hat-tip Stephen Harper