Abortion is NOT the Holocaust (and I’m Pro-Life)
This election—and any election year—always carries a heavy, tense question among pro-lifers. The question is, can you ethically vote for a candidate you otherwise like if they are pro-choice? To those who are already pro-choice, such a question sounds narrow minded, but if you actually believe that a fetus has life and “is a person, no matter how small”, then it’s a valid question. After all, hopefully none of us, conservatives or liberals, would vote for any candidate who promoted killing the elderly, disabled, or a minority race. But when people compare abortions to the holocaust, they are warping the actual situation, and even hurting the pro-life movement.
And I am pro-life: I believe most (but not all) abortions approximate murder.
For now, let’s tackle the easiest argument. Post-viability, two babies could be the exact same gestational age, with the exact same development, but the healthier baby that has never seen the light of day or filled her lungs with oxygen is somehow not alive, while the less healthy baby hooked up to an NG tube, under weight, prone to mental and physical disorders, and with an underdeveloped respiratory system is alive. To suggest that babies the same age who are still in the womb are less fully human then babies outside of the womb is purely sentimental. It is only acceptable because we can see the born babies eyes flutter and his hands close around the fold of his blanket or our finger. We are touched by born babies, not unborn babies, so we project a difference in worth, even though the babies of the same.
Of course, there is one big difference between born and unborn babies of the same gestational age: one remains inside the mother’s body, while the other does not. That’s kind of the definition of being born. But of course, this means that a mother’s body is being held hostage, so to speak, as long as the baby is held inside of her.
To this point, first, as important as a woman’s freedom over her body is, is it really more important than another living beings (which a fetus post viability is indisputably so)? Second, and more conclusively, a post viability abortion is NEVER NECESSARY. Even a mother who aborts her baby still delivers. She still has to go into labor. Wouldn’t an induction, even pre-term, be better than an abortion? These babies need not be homeless. There are not only many couples hoping to adopt, but many adults paying surrogate mothers to gestate and deliver them a baby, even through risky procedures that often result in pre-term infants.
So yes, I wish we all agreed that post-viability abortions are unambiguously killing life.
Perhaps another time I will address pre-viability abortions, but most current politicians, in particular the current presidential nominees (with the exception of Gary Johnson, who differentiates between pre- and post-viability abortions) are either completely in favor of legalized abortion (Hillary Clinton and Jill Stein), completely against abortion (Evan McMullin), or completely inconsistent about their positions (Trump). So, for sake of time, I’m going to move on.
Occasionally, it is appropriate to compare something to the holocaust—when it really is like the holocaust, such as ISIS. Not abortion, though.
This is why abortion is NOT the holocaust.
The holocaust was far more than a high occurrence of government permitted murder. It was the systematic eradication by a government of a race, a theology, and any who opposed the government. The holocaust involved not only the extinguished potential for an individual’s future life but dehumanization, familial disruption, torture, and more. (All of this matches up with ISIS. Not abortion).
On a political level, the only mass atrocity even closely resembling abortion was the U.S. government’s allowance of slavery, and that was much worse than abortion.
Slavery, in contrast to the holocaust, was not the government killing people but the government allowing individuals to be killed. Specifically, slavery involved the government:
1) Describing certain people as less human than others
2) Allowing the “more human” class to own the “less human” class
3) Giving permission for the “owners” to treat their “property” however they liked, even if it involved harming or killing.
The government has done the same thing with abortions. Fetuses are less human than babies (despite that we would never consider babies less human than adults, and a fetus is just, for lack of a better phrase, a baby on steroids). Adults (specifically mothers) then “own” their fetuses. The fetus is the mother’s property because the fetus is part of her body, and therefore the mother may do anything she likes to her fetus with impunity.
Only with slavery, people remained in the sub-human class their entire lives, whereas the subhuman class of being a fetus is inherently grown out of if survived. And with slavery, not only were entire lifespans blighted and unprotected, but every imaginable torture and violation was repeatedly showered on slaves. Traders tore apart families, owners repeatedly raped women, and society ensured that even the slaves of more humane households never received a comprehensive (or basic) education. The net amount of suffering for abortions is, in fact, fairly small despite being immoral. The net amount of suffering for slavery was (and remains where it exists) beyond comprehension.
But even if abortion was as bad as slavery, that is still a very different political issue than the holocaust. Slavery has rightly been called a holocaust, and I do not mean to say that it was less evil—rather, I’m saying that as a politically distinct atrocity, it must be combatted in politically distinct ways.
First, while the holocaust and ISIS were and are sustained by a minority of radicals in power, slavery and abortion were and are sustained by the masses. Even after slavery, indentured servitude, Jim Crow laws, and white terrorism perpetuated much of the evil of slavery. Likewise, abortion is accepted by a large mass of U.S. citizens if not a majority. Abortions, being illegal, would be even easier to perpetuate than slavery, as it is a hidden procedure that (by it’s ultimate design) leave no traces—leaves, quite literally, no footprints in its wake.
Of course, I’m not saying the slavery shouldn’t have been fought by government. I am saying, however, that slavery was most fundamentally fought by the humanities (and then by government): for instance, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Uncle Tom’s Cabin were vital to a national awareness and sympathy towards slaves.
I’m also saying that, especially on this issue, a candidate’s ability to alchemize the nation is far more important than their check-list positions. The reason why Abraham Lincoln was instrumental in abolishing slavery was not because he ran that platform as a presidential candidate. In fact, he was more concerned about preserving the union than eradicating slavery—he wasn’t even going to outlaw it as president. Rather, in the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates on slavery, he alchemized the nation. The slavery states feared this persuasive, magnetic power even despite his willingness to allow slavery in the Southern states.
And I think this absolutely weighs in on the upcoming election.
So many of my conservative friends feel absolutely betrayed by the nominee of Donald Trump. I would count myself in that group, even though I am more liberal on many issues.
Yet, they feel that they must vote for him as the only pro-life candidate that has a shot at winning the election. They have said to me, “how can I vote for genocide? Yes, he is terrible, but how can I vote for genocide?”
But voting for Trump is in no way voting against genocide, to the extent abortion is that. Forget that far more conservative presidents have failed to overturn Roe v. Wade. Forget that Trump flip flops on every issue he has given a stance on. Forget that Trump lies indiscriminately and doesn’t keep his promises.
Putting all that aside, Trump’s culture of disrespect to women, children, people with disabilities and all other vulnerable groups makes him part of the abortion problem. His bullying and biting make him part of the abortion problem, more so than Hillary.
So, let’s be clear. Trump isn’t anti-abortion and voting for him isn’t a vote against abortion. Personally, I think that any other candidate would be better for abortion than Donald Trump. It is far more likely that Evan McMullin (who is genuinely pro-life and anti-genocide) will become president than that Donald Trump’s presidency will even legally limit abortion—and that’s generous, because in this crazy election, McMullin might actually stand a chance.
And, there is a holocaust happening, a real one, with ISIS: a genocide which Donald Trump is aggravating and ensuring we will lose against. In fact, he is contributing to the terrorism. So please, don’t let anyone tell you that voting against Trump is a vote for the holocaust. Nothing could be further than the truth.
Image from freeimages.com by Simon McEldowney