Apr 182007

A couple weeks ago in my Rhetoric in Western Thought class, we were engaging the writings of Frederick Douglass – run-away slave turned abolitionist in the 1800s – and discussing the issue of the slavery.

In one of Douglass’ excerpts we read for class, he described how slavery corrupted his master’s wife, who, before marrying Douglass’ master, previously had no contact with slavery. Douglass mourned the “fatal poison of irresponsible power” that “soon commenced its infernal work. That cheerful eye, under the influence of slavery, soon became red with rage; that voice, made all of sweet accord, changed to one of harsh and horrid discord; and that angelic face gave place to that of a demon.”

Our professor, Greg Dickinson, summed up slavery by saying, “When you destroy and harm a human being you destroy and harm yourself; when you treat humans as non-human you become non-human yourself.”

There’s a great deal of truth and wisdom in such a statement. And the chattel slavery that plagued the South has been rid of; now Americans of all colors can truly say, “All men are created equal.”

Or can they? While the slavery of America’s past is looked on with great lamentation and condemnation, the slavery of America’s present is warmly welcomed under the banner of freedom and the “law of the land.”

This present slavery, this new slavery, is abortion. Since 1973, over 43 million American lives have been destroyed, harmed and killed in the name of “choice” and “freedom.”

Science has pronounced that a human life begins at conception. “Human embryos and human fetuses are human beings, each with their own unique genetic DNA,” asserts

Brown University’s Associate Professor of Molecular Pharmacology Ralph P.


Two hundred years ago, blacks were thought of as sub-human; today, the unborn child is deemed unworthy of the guarantee to life, liberty and equality. Some may say that the unborn child is void of “personhood” or moral reasoning. But are the children one day removed from their mothers’ womb any more of a morally discerning “person” than when they were living and breathing inside the womb? How, scientifically, do we go about assigning “personhood”? There is no science behind it; only deception.

Frederick Douglass and his fellow slaves weren’t considered persons. They were considered property, used and abused by the slave-masters however they desired. Today, the unborn child lives in such bondage, allowed to be killed by a mother without second thought.

Maybe mothers considering abortion should give a second thought to the life inside them. Friends of my family had an abortion back when they were in college. They were in a serious dating relationship but thought it best to get rid of this unwanted child. A while later, Kathy was pregnant again, but this time Mike and Kathy decided to keep the child and got married.

When their first child, Jake, was around five years old and his sister Jenny was two, he asked his mother one day, “Mom, where’s my older brother?” The question stunned and horrified Kathy. “What do you mean, Jake? You’re our oldest child,” she lied. Jake wasn’t so sure. “I have an older brother,” he said again. How could he have known?

Several years later, Kathy was diagnosed with breast cancer. She wasn’t even 40 years old. She won the first battle against the disease and was cancer-free for several years before it returned not more than a year ago. Kathy died this last summer, leaving behind her husband Mike and their children, Jake and Jenny.

A high correlation between abortion and breast cancer exists. A study done in 1994 found that an induced abortion raises a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer before age 45 by 50 percent. If done before age 18, it increases 150 percent; if after age 30, it’s up 110 percent. Over the last 20 years, more than 74 different studies have found a link between abortion and breast cancer. Abortion doesn’t just harm the child being aborted.

And then there’s the issue of post-abortion syndrome. In March, Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., introduced HR 1457, the Post-Abortion Depression Research and Care Act of 2007. The bill cites data from a study released in 2006 by David Fergusson (a pro-choice atheist) about “severe and long-term effects” of abortion on women, including depression, suicide attempts, emotional numbness, intense grief and substance abuse.

We’re told by groups such as Planned Parenthood that abortion is relieving, simple and any negative feelings are fleeting. Then why do pro-choice groups like Exhale exist – groups that offer post-abortion sympathy cards? If Exhale believes that abortion is “normal in the reproductive lives of women and girls,” why offer cards that read, “I think you did the right thing,” and, “There are no words to express my sympathy for your loss”?

Caron Strong, who has had four abortions in her lifetime but is now the director of Operation Outcry, finds Exhale’s messages to be deceptively mixed. “It’s just very revealing of duplicity,” she said. “Their argument with us is, ‘You can’t tell us abortion hurts all women because my abortion didn’t hurt me.'” But Strong reasons: “Don’t tell us that abortion never hurts women, or even that it’s rare, because it did hurt us.”

It hurt my friend Kathy; it’s possible that it killed her. “When you destroy and harm a human being you harm and destroy yourself.”

The issue of slavery isn’t one of history; it’s one of today – only in a different form.

Trevor Sides is a senior speech communication major. His column appears every Thursday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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