Letter to the Editor, Times-Dispatch:
On March1 Katharine Waddell wrote an op ed entitled: Virginia women, wake up–Your rights are being violated. Jump into your time machine and race back in history150 years and imagine a similar article which could have been entitled: Virginia Plantation Owners, wake up–Your rights are being violated.
The similarities between the slavery issue and the abortion issue are striking. In 1857, the Supreme Court declared in The Dread Scott decision (the vote was a 7-2 decision) that Blacks were non-persons, therefore having no rights. They were the property of the owner who could legally decide the fate of his property. That fate could be to work him, to sell him, or to kill him.
In 1973 the Supreme Court decided in the infamous Roe v. Wade decision (also a 7-2 vote) that babies in the womb were also non-persons. They were the property of their owner, the mother. It was her body and she could choose to keep the baby, to put her up for adoption, or to end her life through abortion. Never mind that the baby’s heart had been beating at 21 days after conception, that brain waves were present six weeks after conception, and that every organ was present and functioning at 11 weeks after conception.
All these developments happen during the first trimester. Despite all these evidences of personhood, Ms. Waddell compares a first trimester abortion to cosmetic surgery, oral surgery, and corrective eye surgery. Does boiling that frog in the slowly heating water that she refers to also confer to the searing of our consciences?
Just as the southern plantation owners had legitimate reasons necessitating lots of field hands, many women have legitimate reasons why a baby does not fit into their life at a given time. But a civilized people must demand of ourselves that our values are not defined by what works best for us at a particular point. Just as our 19th century brothers and sisters needed to see beyond the pigment of their brother and sister’s skin, so now we must look into the womb and see the faces and beating hearts of those that we would destroy through abortion.
Thankfully, the abolitionists pleaded, wrote, and rescued. I’m sure there were some plantation owners who thought their rights were being violated as does Mrs. Waddell who states eleven times in her article that women’s rights are being violated. Just as it took decades to change the thinking of that era, it is taking decades to enlighten the hearts of good Americans today, but the tide is turning.
Ms. Waddell correctly states that Virginia women need to wake up. Wake up from the nightmare that we must own, from the lie that we have believed, acknowledging that it’s not my body, it is the body of my child. We’ve not been terminating one in four pregnancies; we’ve been terminating our sons and daughters..