What is at stake: Abortion, slavery and a foundational principle

Editor’s  note. The following quote from “Patrick Lee’s “Abortion & Unborn Human Life,” appeared on the blog of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.

“What is at stake in this debate about how to treat unborn human beings is whether we will or will not recognize the fundamental equal dignity possessed by every human being, simply in virtue of being a human being, a person. The pro-abortion position is a denial of one of the most basic principles central to our civilization, namely, that all human beings, irrespective of their inessential differences, possess an equal fundamental dignity, and no class of human beings can with justice enslave, use, experiment on, or deliberately kill other innocent human beings for their own purposes. This principle was at stake in the nineteenth century in the United States with the issue of slavery. This is the principle that is at stake in the central debate of our times, which is about unborn human beings. Slavery is profoundly wrong because it is intrinsically unjust to relegate a whole class of human beings to the status of mere things for use; it was inherently unjust to deny the personhood, the equal fundamental dignity of African-American human beings, for the benefit of another class of human beings. By the same token, it is inherently and intrinsically unjust to relegate the whole class of unborn human beings to the status of non-persons, to the status of mere inconvenient burdens that can be directly killed or discarded for the benefit of others. Just as all human beings, of every skin color, deserve equal and fundamental moral respect, in the same way, all human beings, born and unborn, deserve equal moral respect.”

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