During a particularly tumultuous and politically polarized time in American history, the Supreme Court of the United States heard a case that would seemingly decide the extent of freedom for American citizens and how much autonomy they had over themselves and what they called their own property. At stake was whether the government could step in and violate an individual’s rights; a panel of old men would decide whether the concept of freedom included choice. On this day, the Supreme Court was ruling on the rights of an individual to be free.
This situation is not tethered to an individual case in a particular point in time. It happened most recently in 1973 in the case of Roe v. Wade, but I am referring to when it also happened in 1857 in the case of Dred Scott v. Sanford. The similarities between the two cases are alarming; as supporters of the Dred Scott decision are judged harshly for their indefensible elation at the cost of the inherent dignity of all human beings, so too will be the supporters of what came in the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision.
“There are two clauses in the Constitution which point directly and specifically to the negro race as a separate class of persons, and show clearly that they were not regarded as a portion of the people or citizens of the government then formed,” the United States Supreme Court wrote in the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sanford decision.
When the United States Supreme Court issued the ruling on the Dred Scott case, they stripped any and all black Americans of their legal status as human beings with civil rights. Can you imagine marches in gimmicky hats to celebrate this abomination? The pro-slavery movement had their KKK hoods; the pro-choice movement has their pink “pussy hats.” Yet, the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade eventually stripped the unborn of their civil rights and their status as human beings in the same manner as the horrific Dred Scott decision.
“Dred Scott…rested upon the concept of ‘substantive due process’ that the Court praised and employs today. Indeed, Dred Scott was very possibly the first application of substantive due process in the Supreme Court, the original precedent for…Roe v. Wade.” wrote the United States Supreme Court in 1992.
At least the racist legal system that allowed abominations like Dred Scott to flourish in America’s first dark age allowed that while slaves were subhuman, they were at least three-fifths of a person. Seriously. According to the Constitution of the United States of America, Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3: “Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons [emphasis added].”
The Constitution was twisted to assign a fraction to exactly how much less of a human being someone was because of the color of their skin. Then you look at Roe v. Wade and realize that the size and development of a human being can be used against them to say that they aren’t even a living being. Abortion rights advocates would say that you can legally kill a human being based on location, age, and state of development. Imagine applying that logic to the mentally handicapped or those who require medication to keep their heart beating.
In 1993, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that Dred Scott and Roe v. Wade were not the same. “In one case, the court was affirming the right of one man to hold another in bondage. In the other line of case, the court is affirming the right of the individual to be free. So I do see that there’s a sharp distinction there.” Justice Ginsburg said this without any sense of irony, totally missing the point that in both cases one individual is judged to be more human than another…and therefore had the right to inflict their will on the less human individual. At least the vile racists behind the three-fifths compromise admitted that slaves were partially human; pro-choice advocates deny this completely.
The unjust and inhumane decision of Dred Scott ruled that black people were not entitled to the most basic constitutional protection of their lives; Roe v. Wade declared that unborn human beings are not entitled to those rights either. Slaveholders complained about the government infringing on their “rights” to treat their property as they saw fit; abortion advocates claim that the government is oppressing them when they decide to treat “lesser” people than themselves as they wish. The pro-choice argument hinges on circular reasoning and a complete disregard for anyone but oneself.
I began working on this piece several days before Justice Anthony Kennedy announced that he would be retiring, which ignited a storm of hysterical social media posts and deranged thought pieces on what this would mean for the so-called “progressive” movement. Hopefully, it means that freedom and equality is coming for all lives in our country.
Once again, America needs to be a beacon to the world. Abortion isn’t healthcare; with abortion at least one of the patients dies, because they are intentionally killed. We cannot claim to be the home of the free when we are committed to allowing our children to be sacrificed on the altar of moral relativism.
If we don’t acknowledge that human beings have an inherent right to life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death, we are just putting on white gloves and doing the same “work” of Hitler’s concentration camps. Against slavery? Don’t own one! Imagine this sign being the legacy you leave behind.