Debate over slavery, abortion has parallels, author says
Author William Federer has one foot in the field of U.S. history and another in the current abortion debate in the United States.
He finds many comparisons between the issues of slavery and abortion and the U.S. Supreme Court decisions that allowed them.
A Mary Mother of the Church parishioner, Federer has written several books on history, including one on George Washington Carver, who was born into slavery in Diamond, Mo., around 1864 and became one of the most prominent scientists and inventors of his time. Federer is a member of the board of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation. Scott, a slave who sued for his freedom, "stood for the greatness of America -- that all men are created equal. It is a Judeo-Christian ideal, going back to Genesis, that other belief systems do not have," Federer said. "America is based on the idea that everyone is equal no matter whether they are Muslim, Hindu .... we're all made in the image of God."
Dred Scott and his wife, Harriet, stood for that ideal, Federer said, made in the image of their creator.
The tie-in with the abortion issue is eerie, he noted. "They're both a matter of geography. With the slavery issue, in Missouri you were a slave but if you were two inches over the border in Illinois, you were free. With abortion, if you're two inches outside the womb, you're free, but if you're inside you're property."
The Dred Scott case, in its final ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, stated that a human being is property, Federer said, and the Roe vs. Wade case says the same.
Prior to the Civil War the country was divided, with some exceptions, into five general categories of views, he said.
â€¢ The extreme radical Republican North, wanting slavery to end immediately.
â€¢ The moderate Republican North, saying slavery is wrong but the country has to transition out of it over time.
â€¢ The practical neutral view, believing that what is important is money, jobs, tariffs and taxes.
â€¢ The moderate Democrat South, saying slavery is wrong but the country must allow it while ensuring it is rare and fair with slaves treated humanely.
â€¢ The extreme Democrat South, viewing slavery as a good thing for the country that needs to be expanded into new territories, with people in the North who are against slavery forced to participate in it through the fugitive slave law, a federal mandate that forced those in the North to help capture fugitive slaves.
Today, Federer said, "we have our country divided in the same categories." With some exceptions, they are:
â€¢ The right-wing Republicans, saying abortion must end immediately.
â€¢ The moderate Republicans , wanting to transition away from abortion over time.
â€¢ The practical neutral view, believing what is important is money, jobs, taxes, the economy.
â€¢ The moderate Democrats, saying abortion is wrong but the country must allow it while ensuring it is rare and safe.
â€¢ The extreme Democrats, saying abortion is a good thing that must be expanded through U.N. policies and a U.S. Health and Human Services mandate, which "like the fugitive slave law is forcing people who are against abortion to participate in paying for it."
The late president Ronald Reagan once said that President Abraham Lincoln "recognized we could not survive as a free land when some are seen as not fit to be free. Likewise, we cannot survive when some can decide that others are not fit to live and should be allowed to be aborted," Federer quoted.
Lynne Jackson, great-great granddaughter of Dred and Harriet Scott, said she too is against abortion, noting that Scriptures show that there's a life in the womb. "And I don't believe we have a right to end it," she said.
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