Larry Elder: Pro-life: The political disadvantage

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

Polls suggest Republicans fared poorly during the 2022 midterms over the issue of abortion. The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, putting the matter back to the states where it belongs, and where it was through all of America’s history until 1973.

This infuriates many female and young voters who consider “access to abortion a right.” Republicans have not figured out a way of dealing with this political disadvantage. If the minds of pro-abortion believers cannot be changed, they can perhaps be convinced that those who disagree come to this debate in good faith, and not as “anti-women.”

Dr. Martin Luther King’s view of abortion is hotly debated. His niece, Rev. Alveda King, says: “You know, my uncle said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…’ So that led me to say, a woman has a right to choose what she does with her body. It’s always dicey to conclude how someone dead would think or feel today.”

But about King’s successor as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Dr. Ralph Abernathy, there is no doubt. Abernathy co-founded and became vice president of the American Freedom Coalition. About abortion, the AFC wrote in its 1987 pamphlet: “Among the values promoted by AFC are a strong national defense, opposition to abortion and pornography…”

In 1966, King received the Margaret Sanger Award from Planned Parenthood. His wife, Coretta Scott King, accepted the award and read a speech written by her husband: “Like all poor, Negro and white, they have many unwanted children… There is scarcely anything more tragic in human life than a child who is not wanted. That which should be a blessing becomes a curse for parent and child.”

Two things about this. First, it is unlikely that the Kings knew that Sanger was a eugenicist who spoke at a women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan at Silver Lake, New Jersey. Sanger thought certain people unfit to live: “The mass of Negroes, particularly in the South, still breed carelessly and disastrously, with the result that the increase among Negroes, even more than among Whites, is from that portion of the population least intelligent and fit.”

Second, Planned Parenthood at this time was publicly opposed to abortion, given that states considered it a crime.

An article on the website of the Organization of American Historians writes: “By 1900 every state had a law forbidding abortion at any stage, whether through the use of drugs or procedures. Almost all the laws passed during this time included a therapeutic exception, where licensed physicians could provide abortions at their own discretion as long as the abortion preserved the life of the mother. While this loophole allowed many women to obtain abortions, it also made doctors the ultimate arbiters of the morality and legality of abortions.”

Civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, arrested in Mississippi for attempting to register blacks to vote, was pro-life: “I believe that legal abortion is legal murder.”

In 1977, Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke at the Pro-Life in Washington D.C, where he said: “There are those who argue that the right to privacy is of (a) higher order than the right to life…You could not protest the existence or treatment of slaves on the plantation because that was private and therefore outside your right to be concerned. What happens to the mind of a person, and the moral fabric of a nation, that accepts the aborting of the life of a baby without a pang of conscience?”

If while taking a walk, you heard your neighbor brutally whipping his pet dog, would you call 911? Most people would. And, if one considers abortion deeply wrong, why expect him or her to stay out of the argument?

Ask a “pro-choice” advocate, at what point has a pregnancy gone so far that to terminate constitutes murder? A minute before birth? Five minutes? Dr. Kermit Gosnell a is the Philadelphia abortion doctor in prison for performing late-term abortions. Is Gosnell a victim of an unfair prosecution, if not persecution, and should he be released from jail?

Mahatma Gandhi, whom MLK called “a guiding light” wrote: “It is a sin to bring forth unwanted children, but I think it is a greater sin to avoid the consequences of one’s own action. It simply unmans man.”

Larry Elder is a bestselling author and nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder.


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