The James Wilson Foundation on Natural Rights and the American Founding

“Abortion as Positive Good: The Democrats’ New Rhetoric Has Vile Precedents” – Josh Craddock in National Review

Writing in a piece for the National Review, Josh Craddock, a 2019 JW Fellow and the latest addition to our Affiliated Scholars, addresses the shift in rhetoric from “Pro-Choice” to “Pro-Abortion.” A new wave of celebrations of abortion from the “Shout Your Abortion” movement to the popularization of “birthday” cakes for abortions evidence that something has changed. We no longer see the presentation of abortion as a necessary evil that must be kept safe and infrequent, instead that rhetoric is beginning to be replaced by an argument for abortion as a positive good. Craddock points out the eerie similarities between this language and that employed by proponents of slavery within the Confederacy. Both arguments undermine the American principles of equality by declaring that a human is not human enough whether it be because of the color of their skin or their size and development.

A few excerpts from the piece:

“Abortion-advocacy groups lambasted Democratic presidential candidate Representative Tulsi Gabbard for her endorsement of the ‘safe, legal, and rare’ position. Other examples abound, from the ‘Shout Your Abortion’ movement to celebrating abortion with ‘birthday’ cakes. Even the former president of Planned Parenthood, Leana Wen, has fallen to activist ire. Wen recently wrote in the New York Times that part of the reason for her ouster from Planned Parenthood leadership was that she ‘did not prioritize abortion enough.’ True to form, Planned Parenthood regularly tweets messages such as ‘Abortion is moral. It is important. It is health care.’”

“That reinvention underlies the recent shift in abortion rhetoric as well. The radical position that abortion is actually a positive good is incompatible with the American creed. American republicanism presupposes the existence of natural and unalienable rights, which human beings possess simply by virtue of being human. Slavery could flourish only so long as blacks were considered outside the moral community of persons.”

“Abortion rejects the natural right to life in the same way. Declaring some members of the human species, by virtue of their age or degree of dependency, unworthy of the equal dignity and rights recognized in the proposition that ‘all men are Created equal’ goes beyond the original sin of the American founding. It goes beyond ‘choice’ and arguments about necessary evils. Instead, it follows a path trodden by southern slaveholders who rejected even the principle of equality and natural rights. Like the Civil War Democrats who sought to become second founders by rejecting the American commitment to natural rights for all persons, today’s Democrats make vice their principle, and demand that all join in the celebration.”

Read the entire piece here.

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Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge.
— James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1790