It Took 224 Years to Abolish Slavery, Never Give Up on Fighting Abortion

Opinion   |   Christina Vazquez   |   Jan 17, 2019   |   12:40PM   |   Washington, DC

An op-ed from The Federalist reminds us that advocating for what’s right is never easy but is always worthwhile.

Author Breanna Lewis exhorts the pro-life movement in its quest to protect life at all stages. She begins her essay with an unsettling statistic: According to the National Right to Life Committee, abortion has eliminated the equivalent of 18 percent of the U.S. population.

One part of her essay is particularly poignant. She dismantles the rhetoric that Supreme Court decisions should be seen as the law of the land, writing: “It’s convenient, hollow rhetoric that only shows its ugly face when the legislation in question is something the rhetoric-pusher supports. If the social justice and civil rights advocates of decades (and centuries) past subscribed to that mentality, our world would be a frightening place.” With this line of reasoning, slavery would still be legal.

Lewis continues, outlining the history of slavery and commending those who advocated to restore the human rights of those in bondage:

Both abortion and slavery rely on the ability of someone with power deciding that someone weaker should be at his mercy. William Wilberforce is one of the most prominent figures of the anti-slavery movement. His wisdom on the subject of slavery translates perfectly to reflect the struggles facing the pro-life movement.

“A trade [slavery] founded in iniquity, and carried on as this was, must be abolished, let the policy be what it might,” notes Wilberforce. “Let the consequences be what they would, I […] determined that I would never rest till I had effected its abolition.” When there’s a grave injustice going on, especially when it is enshrined in public policy, the stakes are that much higher.

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Slavery was abolished 224 years after being legalized in the United States. Jim Crow laws were in place for 77 years. It took 72 years for suffragettes to have women’s voting rights ratified. Looking back, it can be difficult to fathom how we let these injustices last for so long. If it weren’t for the bravery and resilience of those who continually fought for these rights and freedoms, our America could look very different today. It may have taken dozens of years, but they never let up. They persisted, and accomplished incredible things.

Lewis acknowledges that the pro-life movement has made tremendous steps in restoring the fundamental right to life at the state level. Despite persecution and even violence, the pro-life movement has continually made progress. While that is something worth commending, we should not celebrate just yet.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” On this 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must not become complacent. We must not give up, or think that the battle has been lost and “get over it,” as some pro-abortion advocates insist. The moment we choose to become silent is when we find ourselves complicit in letting one of the most atrocious genocides of our time occur. The pro-life movement must continue to fight, using truth and love, for if the most vulnerable of us is at risk, we must stop at nothing to bring justice to light.