Abortion in America Will End Badly, as Slavery Did
Words are slippery, wondrously versatile things. By saying that something will “end badly,” you could mean any of the following:
a) The wicked will prevail, and future generations will be saddled with this evil, more deeply entrenched. See the Muslim or Mongol conquests of helpless Christian countries.
b) The better cause will triumph, but only barely, and at a hideous, tragic cost. See the Second World War. It claimed some 80 million lives, and left half of Europe enslaved by totalitarianism. (Including Poland, the land which the Allies entered the war allegedly to defend.)
c) Its ending will be tedious, anti-climactic, and deeply unsatisfying. See Martin Scorcese’s movies. Also, the First World War.
Watching pro-choicers gallop with glee like the Gadarene swine over the cliff into infanticide, I’m led to wonder how things will end for America. If we keep our borders open to a million low-skill workers in a welfare state for very much longer? Then we’ll surely end up with a). Those nice, hard-working, pro-family Latinos will vote their pocketbooks (as most poor people do), electing nasty, entitled, pro-abortion and anti-Christian socialists. We’ll move from “protecting women’s autonomy” by killing their newborn babies to “ensuring seniors’ dignity” by pressing them to comply with assisted suicide. That’s already happening widely in what President Obama cited as “normal countries,” like The Netherlands.
The Happy, Unlikely Ending
But what are the other outcomes? I know which one I’m praying for:
d) We recognize that life begins at conception. So we outlaw all abortions, and any form of “contraception” that routinely causes fertilized eggs to die. We will outlaw fertility clinics that make “surplus” embryos. And we’ll figure out what to do with the hundreds of thousands of tiny souls frozen in those clinics’ technological Limbo. (Opinions differ, even among pro-lifers — but that’s another article.)
Had slavery ended that well, Southern states would have granted full civil rights to African Americans. No government policy or agency would have encouraged segregation, and ex-slaves would have been granted sufficient land or capital to establish their autonomy. Blacks would have had full rights de facto as well as de jure, up to and including the Second Amendment right to carry firearms.
How Slavery Actually Ended
But slavery didn’t end that way. After a few years of unpopular, politically unsustainable “military Reconstruction,” the Feds pulled out their troops. And the Klan helped whites grab back much of the power they’d wielded before the War. They enacted segregation into law. And suppressed blacks’ voting rights. They took away their guns. (That was the first gun control legislation in America, by the way. It’s what you do when you want to render citizens helpless.) And millions of blacks fell into share-cropping arrangements and long-term debt that were … better than slavery. Nobody got flogged to death or sold away from his family. But those who “stepped out of line” often died at the hands of a lynch mob.
And I don’t think abortion will end much better. I favor full legal protection for children from the moment of conception. Just as consistent abolitionists favored full civil rights for blacks. So like them, I expect to be disappointed. Prepare to be disappointed, too.
Laws Can’t Reweave Culture, Though They Can Help
Coerced or very cheap labor was central to the plantation economy. Whites had internalized a profound racism, and refused to view blacks as equal citizens. Barring massive outside intervention, both of those factors were going to reassert themselves. And so they did. It took 100 years from the end of the Civil War for things to change very much.
And so it will prove with abortion, I fear. Cheap sex stands as central to us as cheap labor did to cotton customers. And our disconnect of sex from reproduction has sunk roots at least as deep as Antebellum racism. Neither one will vanish overnight. Neither one is challenged by our revulsion at infanticide.
So if the conflict of forces on abortion plays out as the struggle over slavery did, we’ll end with some sort of compromise. It will make no one terribly happy, but it will be politically sustainable. We’ll need to fix it down the line, as we had to repeal Jim Crow, because it will also be immoral.
If we can secure our borders and stop the appalling option a), we’ll end up with c). Here’s what will happen.
Our Next Jim Crow Compromise
We will outlaw abortion after the first fetal brainwaves, which usually occur around the 40th day (or fifth week) of pregnancy. In other words, virtually all the surgical abortions that now take place would be illegal. Since our culture accepts “brain death” (which some Christians reject) as the marker of life’s end, brain waves will serve as its beginning. This is the only logically coherent alternative to either conception or birth as the legal beginning for personhood. Since we’ve seen that waiting till birth is monstrous, we’ll move away from that. I fear that legally placing personhood at conception will prove politically impossible — for the reasons already stated. People won’t change their sexual mores to protect what the culture will dismiss as “a fertilized egg, like a chicken’s.”
Like the end of literal slavery, this would be no trivial “win.” Most women don’t even know that they’re pregnant by week 5. Countless babies will be born who otherwise wouldn’t. Adoption will lose its stigma, and millions of couples will finally find a baby they can welcome.
Like the Jim Crow South, it will also prove no great victory. Abortifacients will stay on the market, and likely be used more widely. The market for instant, highly accurate pregnancy tests will be huge, and drive innovation. Some evil scientist will likely invent a surgical device like an embryonic bug-zapper, which will nuke any nascent life long weeks before its brain can flicker. We’ll stay sunk in sexual sin as America remained mired in legal and de facto racism, long after the Civil War.
What I’ve laid out is all that I can see is humanly feasible, with the culture and country we have. If immigration continues to fatten and strengthen our Gadarenes, of course, we’ll end up much worse.
Of course, a Great Awakening and movement of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds could rouse us to do much better. To embrace life from its beginning, and abandon the sexual ethics of Margaret Sanger and the Marquis de Sade. But at this point, that’s what it would take — something akin to and on the scale of the conversion of pagan Europe.
With God, all things are possible.