“Even though the arc of the moral universe is long, it bends toward justice”
Those words were spoken by abolitionist Theodore Parker, used by Lincoln and King, and alluded to yesterday by our president. If true, they allow me to daydream about the end of legal abortion in the United States. They cause me to imagine a time when killing children is no longer morally acceptable. That time has to come soon.
Today is the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade, which not only made abortion legal, it solidified abortion on demand as a federal right. That essentially is the start of the arc, which cannot last forever. This makes me wonder how the United States will recognize this era of our history when abortion on demand is a federal right. Slavery was a dark time, and when it ended, the atrocities were brushed away—now they are remembered in text books and museums. “George Washington was a man of his time,” we are told, “so he owned slaves. But don’t worry, he treated them well and freed them at his death.”
The era of segregation is similarly immortalized in our museums. I went to the American History museum this week and saw replicas of the segregated train cars used in the South, along with the audio of a woman describing how she was forced to sit in a certain section because of her race.
But I imagine the Abortion Memorial will be closer in appearance to the Holocaust Memorial. I picture walking into the hallway and being hit with statistics. “Seventy million people vacuumed legally—one every 30 seconds. Forty percent of pregnancies in New York City ended in abortion…back then.”
You would round the corner. Maybe they would have a clinical room set up, to show the visitor what it would have looked like back when this was a federal right. The docent might say: “Here are the kinds of bags the remains were put in. They had special trash collection back then. Now, statistics are unreliable, but some estimate that 30% of American woman would have been in a room like this.”
There will probably be a room dedicated to the genocidal nature of this era. It might have this quote hanging from the wall:
“Several years ago, when 17,000 aborted babies were found in a dumpster outside a pathology laboratory in Los, Angeles, California, some 12-15,000 were observed to be black.”
- Erma Clardy Craven
Social Worker and Civil Rights Leader
There would definitely be a display titled 3801 Lancaster. In that room you could walk by a recreation of the blood stained floors of Dr. Gosnell’s office. “He didn’t do abortions like most other doctors. He would induce labor, deliver the baby, then cut the spine with a pair of scissors. He then kept the bodies in jars and bags stuffed on shelves in every nook and cranny of his office. If the baby survived delivery (which happened at least 7 times), the nurses would play with the child before they murdered him. Dr. Gosnell became a millionaire as the State of Pennsylvania looked the other way–not wanting to infringe on people’s federal right to abortion.”
“Of course,” the next room will tell you, “the moral guilt was spread throughout the country. Unlike segregation and slavery, you can’t pin abortion on a particular corner of the US. The largest killer was Planned Parenthood, and it was funded by every single American tax payer. So there is certainly enough blame to go around.”
You might even walk down a hall and come across this quote:
“They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.”
“This is our first task — caring for our children. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.” – President Obama
The whole place would serve as a testimony to a time when even the US Supreme Court said they didn’t know if a child in the womb was alive. Do you remember those days?
I think this day has to come soon. So much has changed since January 22, 1973. Ultrasound machines are ubiquitous, adoption is both common and regulated, and the horrors of our culture of death are being exposed.
The opinion of Roe v. Wade reads like the flat-earth society. The justices say that there is simply not “meaningful consensus” about when life begins, as there is no real way to know what is going on in the womb at the early stages of pregnancy. That produces a dividing line as comical as it is artificial; a legal ruling that says whatever is happening in the first trimester, it certainly can’t be considered life.
People don’t believe that anymore. The legal reasoning of the decision is flawed and widely mocked by people on both sides of the aisle. The medical reasoning given is so outdated it almost seems quaint. Today’s world has ultrasounds, in utero surgery, NICUs for premature babies, and YouTube videos of babies’ hands reaching from the womb. There remains no plausible defense of abortion on demand, other than simply that the children and/or pregnancy would be inconvenient, and thus the murder of the child is permissible.
But the arc of the moral universe is long, and that kind of reasoning cannot possibly hold up forever.