no violence period: New Perspectives on Abortion


A Consistent Life Ethic

· Nat Hentoff on Abortion
· Abortion and the American Left

Abortion and the Media

Roe v. Wade

Full list of articles

A Consistent Life Ethic (Seamless Garment)

A Consistent Life Ethic

A consistent life ethic means being pro-life across the board: opposing abortion, capital punishment, assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Fundamentally each and every human being is unique and important. No person is defined by someone else's choices. No one exists as a means to someone else's happiness, therefore all choices we make, as individuals and as a society, must be weighed in light of their impact on human life and dignity.

The right to life is an inalienable one, as life is sacred. If human life is sacred, then it must be protected. Human life is not more sacred at one point than another. People of one race or nation are not more sacred than others. The lives of the rich are not more sacred than those of the poor. All people have an equal right to life.

This must be reflected in our constitution, our attitudes, and our practices in every field. It translates into a coherent social policy which seeks to protect the rights of the weakest and most vulnerable in our society, the unborn, the infirm, the refugee, the homeless, and the poor.

- from the mission statement of Consistent Life

The consequences of treating a fetus as a human being
Kevin Kelly's article in the Whole Earth Review. Kelly is Executive Editor of Wired. Also includes a reader survey on abortion.

If we want peace we must imagine a world without killing in all its particulars as a first step.
I would like us to imagine a world without killing the unborn, where the fetus was treated as a human being. What would the consequences be? I'd like the zealous pro-lifers to imagine that, the consequences of no abortions; and all the women and men in the many details of their lives, what not killing the unborn would mean to them, how it would hurt, the trouble and pain it would cause. I would like the pro-abortion choosers to imagine a world where the fetus was treated as a human being, where the misery of an unwanted child was not dealt with by killing the child.

The Indivisible Fight for Life

Civil libertarian Nat Hentoff describes how the right to life is inseperable from other issues such as poverty and the death penalty.

Antiwar, Pro-Life: The March Goes On
Mary Meehan, The Washington Post, February 8, 1979

It seems to me that the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups are right in viewing abortion as a civilliberties issue -- but wrong in the side they come down on. As the ACLU says in other contexts, "What can be done to one can be done to all."

Marchers For Death
Colman McCarthy, The Washington Post, April 11, 1992

Both the military ethic and the abortion ethic are grounded in the same belief: Life is cheap. The language of the war lobby and the abortion lobby is from the same glossary of evasions. No one likes war, say the generals. No one likes abortions, says NOW. But let's keep the killing option, just in case.

Abortion and War: Euphemism Kills

Barbara Newman, The American Feminist, Summer 1994

The analogy between abortion and war is all too real. In each case, the violent society takes refuge in euphemism to legitimize its evil, to pretend that either the killing isn't killing or the people aren't people.

How we respect life is the over-riding moral issue: Jesse Jackson on Abortion

1977 article for National Right to Life News.

There are those who argue that the right to privacy is of higher order than the right to life. I do not share that view. That was the premise of slavery. You could not protest the existence or treatment of slaves on the plantation because that was private and therefore outside of your right to concerned.
What happens to the mind of a person, and the moral fabric of a nation, that accepts the aborting of the life of a baby without a pang of conscience?

Jackson's Reversal On Abortion
Colman McCarthy, The Washington Post, May 21, 1988

If Jesse Jackson of the 1970s were to debate the Jesse Jackson of 1988 on abortion, the old would flatten the new and leave him mumbling pro-choice slogans. Jackson of 1988 says abortion is acceptable because ''it is not right to impose private, religious and moral positions on public policy.'' The 1977 Jackson handily dismissed the privacy argument: ''If one accepts the position that life is private, and therefore you have the right to do with it as you please, one must also accept the conclusion of that logic. That was the premise of slavery. You could not protest the existence or treatment of slaves on the plantation because that was private and therefore outside your right to be concerned."

The Nordic Countries: Time for Consistency on the Unborn
by Erik Rauch, Harmony: Voices for a Just Future, November 2004
Eight years ago, something little noticed but possibly profound happened. The Finnish Medical Association proclaimed in 1996 a Declaration of the Rights of the Unborn. The Declaration is unequivocal: "The life of an individual human being begins with conception... The right to life is the most basic of all rights, and belongs also to the embryo in a mothers womb. Societies have to provide legislation concerning events that invade this right." It concludes that "the physician shall in all possible ways try to promote the rights of the unborn."

Abortion Issue Divides Advocates for Disabled
By STEVEN A. HOLMES, Special to The New York Times, The New York Times, July 4, 1991

Barbara Faye Waxman would cringe when she heard her co-workers at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Los Angeles discuss prenatal screening and the need to abort a disabled fetus. For Ms. Waxman, who must use a wheelchair and needs a respirator to breathe because of a neuromuscular impairment, such conversations were painful.

"There was a feeling that there were bad babies," said Ms. Waxman, who is editing an anthology on the sexual and reproductive rights of women with disabilities. "There was a strong eugenics mentality that exhibited disdain, discomfort and ignorance toward disabled babies."

Feminist pioneers valued rights of unborn children
MARILYN DICKSTEIN KOPP, The Tampa Tribune, August 26, 1997

Why would such progressive champions of women's equality as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton unanimously oppose abortion? For the same reason that many of the suffragists were also abolitionists: They believed that every individual, regardless of race or gender, was entitled to basic human rights and dignity and that those rights could not be given or taken away by others. Stanton wrote in 1873, "When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading for women to treat their children as property, to be disposed of as they see fit."

Ending Roe v. Wade Wouldn't End Abortion
by Mark Hatfield [Republican Senator], The Washington Post, July 2, 1989

To believe that a reversal of Roe v. Wade will end abortion is to ignore what drives the abortion decision: materialism. When things are more important than people, you end up with a society that will do little to help the mother or welcome the baby. This same society turns its back on the homeless and the drug-addicted and the mentally disturbed and the poor foreigner... Those of us dedicated to the prolife cause should endeavor to give pregnant mothers a choice that is not one among evils but rather one among goods.

Strange New Respect
Tom Bethell, The American Spectator, September, 1992

An increasing percentage of women seeking abortions are black; black women are more than twice as likely to get abortions as white women. 70 percent of Planned Parenthood clinics are in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. There is, no doubt, considerable right-wing support for abortion today, but its basis is carefully left unstated--at least in print. A right-winger I know is particularly in favor of subsidized abortions. Here's an angle on racism that journalists don't want to dig into. It might be a little uncomfortable for their choice-promoting feminist friends to see who their real bedfellows are.

Pastor's crusade aims to halt wave of black abortions
'It's killed more than Ku Klux Klan'

Julia Duin, The Washington Times, January 10, 1997

Black women are three times as likely to abort as white women and twice as likely to have abortions as Hispanic women, according to data from the Alan Guttmacher Institute. Although blacks make up 12 percent of the nation's population, they account for 31 percent of its abortions, the Guttmacher Institute says.

Too conservative? Too liberal? No, it's JustLife
by TERRY MATTINGLY ( Scripps Howard News Service), October 31, 1992

It's hard to label JustLife director Dave Medema and others in this pro-justice, anti-abortion and pro-peace group. "We are pro-life, yet we struggle with groups that only seem to be interested in pro-life issues. . . . On peace and justice, we take many of the same positions as so-called liberal groups. But they reject our pro-life stand," said Medema.


Special Sections

Nat Hentoff on Abortion

Abortion and the American Left

Abortion and Eugenics