By: Steve Macias, Students for Life of America
Many of the college students I meet on Californian campuses are eager to remind me that the issue of abortion is their decision, that our work toward making abortion unthinkable is an encroachment on their individual freedoms and personal liberty. The rhetoric of the pro-abortion advocates has largely been based around the concept of personal choice, hence their chosen title of “pro-choice”. People calling themselves “liberals”, “libertarians”, and even “conservatives” have been convinced that supporting abortion is supporting the higher good of personal liberty.
Those who defend liberty remarkably well in other areas frequently fail miserably on the abortion issue by saying that even though they recognize the fetus to be human and alive, it’s nevertheless an “intruder,” an “aggressor,” and the mother— because of her rights—can throw this intruder and aggressor out of her uterus. This argument must accept throwing out and killing an “intruder” whether he be one ounce, or seven pounds and one ounce, hardly a consistent position for those who say every individual by his very nature has a natural right to life and liberty. The fetus, of course, neither aggressed nor intruded. The mother and father placed him there.
Even the United Nations, hardly an example of Protestant fundamentalism, classical Catholicism, or individual liberty and the free market, stated in its 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child that “the child, by reason of its physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection before as well as after birth.”
In reality, the legality of abortion in America strikes at the center of what personal liberty is. Roe v. Wade did not expand personal liberty but instead stole the constitutional protection of the American citizenry from a potentially despotic government. Remember that Roe V. Wade was not established by the consensus of our Republic, but rather by the Government courts and legislators. Abortion stands today while the majority of Americans do not agree with it’s legality. As Rushdoony noticed, “The state, by granting to individuals the ‘right’ of abortion, and the ‘right’ to euthanasia or ‘mercy killings’ is thereby asserting the prior ‘rights’ of state over both God and Man to take human life.”1
While those fighting to protect abortion believe they are protecting the individual, they have actually conferred their rights and freedoms to the subjection of their government without regard to the needs, wants, or morals of the individual. This gives the government total jurisdiction in all matters, making our various rights as grants from the state instead of inalienable truths. This restricts personal choice by establishing the authority of the state to permit or deny the right to life on a whim. The individual rights we all cherish are rooted in the value we assign to human life, especially innocent human life. To quote Rushdoony again, “Such a step, the legalization of abortion, is the beginning of the death of freedom…” 2
1. Rousas John Rushdoony, Chalcedon Report No. 228