The Mirror of Evil – Another Dred Scott Decision

Editorial Note:  This is #7 of 9 posts demonstrating a historical comparison between slavery and abortion.  Even if you have not read the previous posts, this post presents plain evidence of the similar ideology supporting both. 

One of the clearest similarities between the two issues is the Constitutional defense of both by the Supreme Court. Just as the justices of Roger Taney’s court voted seven to two in favor of slavery, the Harry Blackmun court found in favor of abortion by the same margin. Once again the court had tried to find “middle ground between right and wrong.” [1]

The “law of the land” is a common defense for abortion. Yet slavery also had the same support. Some of the comparisons between the two decisions include:

1. The words “citizens” or “persons” used in the Constitution were never intended to include Blacks/unborn children.

In the Dred Scott case of 1857 the Supreme Court said:

“… a negro, whose ancestors were imported into this country, and sold as slaves. . . were not intended to be included under the word ‘citizens’ in the Constitution, and can, therefore, claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States.”

In the Roe v. Wade case of 1973 the Supreme Court said:

“The word ‘person,’ as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn…. [T]he unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in the whole sense.”

2. The right to privacy protects the decision to own slaves/abort unborn children.

In the Dred Scott case of 1857 the Supreme Court said:

A slave is the property of the master and the Constitution has “provided for the protection of private property against the encroachments of the Government.”

In the Roe v. Wade case of 1973 the Supreme Court said:

“This right of privacy… is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”

3. Slavery/abortion is justified because historically the rights of Blacks/ unborn children have been abused.

In the Dred Scott case of 1857 the Supreme Court said:

“…that unfortunate race…had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order [and] they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

In the Roe v. Wade case of 1973 the Supreme Court said:

“…abortion was practiced in Greek times as well as in the Roman Era…. Greek and Roman law afforded little protection to the unborn.”

4. Slavery/abortion is for the victim’s own good.

In the Dred Scott case of 1857 the Supreme Court said:

“…the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.”

In the Roe v. Wade case of 1973 the Supreme Court said:

“There is also the distress for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a family unable, psychologically, and otherwise to care for it.”[2]

Just as Chief Justice Taney hoped Scott v. Sandford would quell the debate over slavery, Justice Blackmun hoped Roe v. Wade would end the controversy over abortion. [3]  Like Scott, the Roe decision failed to satisfy either side of the argument and only intensified the debate. Just as the Dred Scott decision sparked the abolitionist sentiment in the North, Roe v. Wade helped rally the founders of the pro-life movement.

_____________________________________________________________________

[1] Douglas, Mr. Lincoln, 20.

[2] “Court Blunders on Slavery and Abortion” [document – online] available from [http://www.nrlc.org/news/1999/NRL699 /slave.html; Internet; accessed 30 September 2006.

[3] Paul Greenberg, “Harry Blackmun, Our Own Roger Taney,” The Houston Chronicle, April 9, 1994.

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One thought on “The Mirror of Evil – Another Dred Scott Decision

  1. In his 1990 book, The Tempting of America, Robert Bork detailed the corrupting of the judicial branch by activist judges who “read into” the Constitution whatever they wanted. In particular, he showed that the Dred Scott case originated the use of “substantive due process” (to keep a man a slave), a method later used to justify Roe v. Wade. In reality, substance and process are two different things, so “substantive due process” is an oxymoron.

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