24 January 2011

Abortion ≠ slavery

Ta-Nehisi Coates explains why equating the ongoing campaign against legal abortion with the abolition movement—a favorite analogy of anti-abortion folks—is not just historically silly, but actually rather racist:
The analogy necessarily holds that the enslaved were the equivalent of embryos--helpless, voiceless beings in need of saviors. In this view of American history, the saviors, much like the pro-life movement, are white. In fact, African-Americans, unlike, say, zygotes, were always quite outspoken on their fitness for self-determination. Indeed, from the Cimaroons to Equiano to Nat Turner to Harriet Tubman to the 54th regiment, slaves were quite vociferous on the matter of their enslavement. It is simply impossible to imagine the end of slavery without the action of slaves themselves.
Coates is eye-opening as always: equating abortion with slavery turns out to be another facet of U.S. conservatives' bizarre notion that civil rights are bestowed by majority vote, not (in the words of certain historical documents they may have forgotten to read) inalienable. I recommend reading the whole thing.

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