Cross-posted from TheLeadingEdge Blog
I recently had the chance to see the movie 12 Years a Slave, which is based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free African American who was kidnapped from New York and sold into slavery in the South in 1841.
It is a powerful film that presents an unflinching look at the gravely unethical and horrific practice of slavery prior to its abolition in the United States.
There are a lot of fundamental parallels between slavery and abortion, and because of this 12 Years a Slave provides an important insight into why people like me choose to be pro-life and express strong opposition to the act of abortion in the modern era.
Just like the current practice of abortion, slavery was once a culturally accepted norm that most people either supported or were unwilling to publicly express their opposition to.
Just like the current practice of abortion, slavery supporters claimed that the nation would fall into chaos and ruin if slavery was ever abolished. Like today’s abortion supporters, people who were pro-choice about slavery also claimed that slavery was necessary to save people from economic hardship, etc.
Just like the current practice of abortion, slave owners used arguments almost identical to those used by modern abortion supporters in an attempt to justify their violation of human rights, or to try and divert attention away from the serious ethical questions about the legitimacy of the practice of slavery.
And just like the current practice of abortion, it was once claimed that African persons were not fully persons, and therefore they were not entitled to the same human rights that the rest of us are afforded.
Slavery was an act which saw an entire class of human beings subjected to all sorts of brutal atrocities in the name of freedom and rights, and ultimately, for the economic gain of others.
It seems that despite the years that have passed we are still making the exact same grave mistakes, it’s just that we’ve now found an entire new class of human beings to mistreat as a society.
There is one very powerful scene in 12 Years a Slave which succinctly sums up the position of the pro-life movement and our core opposition to abortion.
It takes place between Samuel Bass (a Canadian carpenter played by Brad Pitt) and Edwin Epps (a brutal Southern slave owner played by Michael Fassbender).
Bass: ‘The law says you have the right to hold a nigger, but begging the law’s pardon… it lies. Is everything right because the law allows it? Suppose they’d pass a law taking away your liberty and making you a slave?’
Edwin Epps: ’Ha!’
Edwin Epps: ’That ain’t a supposable case.’
Bass: ’Because the law states that your liberties are undeniable? Because society deems it so? Laws change. Social systems crumble. Universal truths are constant. It is a fact, it is a plain fact that what is true and right is true and right for all. White and black alike.’
Imagine this was a conversation about abortion, and the treatment of unborn human beings, and you might start to get a handle on why the modern pro-life movement is so very necessary.