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The Reactionary Utopian (classic)
June 16, 2010

Legacy of Lies
by Joseph Sobran
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DUNN LORING, VA —For 30 years now, abortion has been legal — allegedly by constitutional requirement — in the United States. Tens of millions of human lives have been violently destroyed.

Though it has been a huge success, the pro-abortion movement rests on lies. In 1964 Planned Parenthood still insisted that abortion was absolutely different from birth control, which, it pointed out, "doesn't kill a baby." Today it abhors calling abortion "baby-killing" and accuses those who want to ban abortion of wanting to ban contraception too.

Early advocates of legal abortion agreed that abortion was a bad thing, but argued that legalization would make it easier to regulate. Then they adopted the agnostic line: "nobody can say" whether abortion is wrong — it should be a matter of "individual conscience." Finally they switched to the position that abortion is a positive good, "a fundamental human [!] and constitutional right," which taxpayers, no matter what their consciences told them, should be forced to subsidize. The more abortions, the better. From pretending to want to minimize the frequency of abortion — since "it happens anyway" — they quickly moved to maximize it.

And so it goes, lie after lie. Refute one lie, and two others spring up in its place. It's as tiresome as it is futile to debate people who argue in such consistent bad faith.

Some lies, of course, are more outrageous than others. One of the worst is the calumny that pro-lifers want to "impose their views" on others, as if banning a form of murder were a form of narrow sectarian zeal. You might think that killing a child is a pretty decisive way of imposing one's will, if not one's "views," on the victim. Millions of pro-lifers have made unselfish, even heroic, sacrifices to protect the unborn, pleading only that the old laws, struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, be restored. If this is a route to power over others, it has proved a singularly fruitless one. But mindless smears of pro-lifers have become a regular tactic of the pro-abortion movement.

Support for abortion has actually become the central tenet of one of America's two major political parties; while opposition to abortion is weak in the other party. That fact speaks volumes about the level of civilization in America today. Not so long ago, pro-lifers used to joke bitterly about the sort of Catholic politician who would say, "I am personally opposed to abortion, but ... " That feeble disclaimer is no longer necessary; in fact, it's doubtful that any good Democrat would now dare to express even his "personal" opposition. The standard line today is "I support a woman's right to choose." And this usually means her right to choose to have her child horribly dismembered even in the birth canal.

Some of the old lies and hypocrisies may now be obsolete, but even today the abortion advocates must still pretend that they favor only an abstract "choice," without specifying the content of what is chosen — namely, the death of an innocent human being. A case can be made that abortion is none of the state's business, if you hold that the state has no right to exist in the first place; but this position in no way means that the innocent may be rightfully killed at whim. Be that as it may, the abortion advocates are generally great believers in the state, even to the extent of insisting that the state may authoritatively repeal what many of us still believe is divine law. It would remain true even if none of us believed it.

State or no state, THOU SHALT NOT KILL. Immortal souls are at stake. The modern "liberal" state rests on the denial of this fearful truth.

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This article is reprinted from the February 2003 edition of Sobran's: The Real News of the Month.

Copyright © 2010 by Joe Sobran and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. All rights reserved.

Joe Sobran is an author and a syndicated columnist. See complete bio and latest writings.
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