By Sarah Terzo
Nat Hentoff was a liberal journalist with The Village Voice who surprised many people when he became pro-life. He was a lifelong atheist. Hentoff explains in this passage what prompted him to consider the pro-life cause.
“Baby Jane Doe” was an infant who was born disabled. A simple operation could have saved her life, but her parents did not want a disabled child and chose to let her die instead.
“… I heard the head of the Reproductive Freedom Rights unit of the ACLU saying at a forum (this was at the same time as the Baby Jane Doe story was developing on Long Island), “I don’t know what all this fuss is about. Dealing with these handicapped infants is really an extension of women’s reproductive rights, women’s rights to control their own bodies.”
That stopped me. It seemed to me that we were not talking about Roe V Wade. These infants were born. And having been born, as persons under the Constitution, they were entitled to at least to the same rights as people on death row – due process, equal protection of the law. So for the first time, I began to pay attention to the “slippery slope” warnings of pro-lifers I read about or had seen on television. Because abortion had become legal and easily available, that argument ran – as you well know – infanticide would eventually become openly permissible, to be followed by euthanasia for infirm, expensive senior citizens.”
Rachael McNair and Stephen Zunes, eds. Consistently Opposing Killing (Bloomington, Indiana: Author’s Choice Press, 2008, 2011), p. 26.
Editors note. This appeared at Clinic Quotes and is reposted with permission.