Cardinal Timothy Dolan has written an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal comparing recent abortion legislation to the ignominious Dred Scott Supreme Court decision that ruled that blacks were not human persons.
According to Cardinal Dolan, the horror of the Dred Scott decision “emboldened abolitionists, re-energizing their decades-old project to defend the human rights of the black slave” and the prelate suggests that something similar may happen to pro-life efforts in the United States today.
“Like slavery did 150 years ago, abortion has deeply divided the U.S. and raised fundamental questions about the nature of our society,” Dolan notes.
Many Americans are “nauseated by abortion-on-demand,” the cardinal states, referencing a recent nationwide survey showing that “75% of Americans—and 61% of those identified as “pro-choice”—want some form of restrictions on abortion.”
“Is the U.S. having a Dred Scott moment on abortion?” he asks.
Last month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Reproductive Health Act, “grisly legislation that permits abortion in many cases up to the moment of birth,” Dolan writes. “It eliminates legal penalties on abortionists who allow an aborted baby, who somehow survives the scalpel, vacuum and dismemberment, to die. It also permits these perilous procedures to take place without a physician present.”
“This was perhaps expected in a state completely dominated by a party that has become increasingly intolerant of pro-life Americans,” he says.
In language reminiscent of Dred Scott, New York’s abortion law redefines person as “a human being who has been born and is alive,” eliminating the possibility of recognizing the personhood of an unborn child. During her presidential campaign in 2016, Hillary Clinton notoriously stated that “the unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.”
The law also declared access to abortion a “fundamental right,” while opening the law to include late-term abortions.
The 1857 ruling similarly declared that Dred Scott and his wife Harriet were not human persons, and thus had no rights, stating that African-Americans were “so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”
Abolitionists were considered radicals, but history has proved them to be prophets. Today’s pro-life activists find themselves in exalted company.
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