I was thinking the other day about the many adjectives that describe abortion -- about what all of American society will recognize when it comes to see abortion with the moral clarity that too often only history provides.
Abortion is medieval and barbaric. It is the use of surgical and other instruments and/or substances to dismember, disembowel, decapitate, poison and/or burn to death a developing member of the species Homo sapiens. (The medieval period may suffer an unfair reputation, but the connotation is clear, and it clearly applies to abortion.)
Abortion is ignorant and anti-science. It has always been premised on ignorance -- ignorance of the plain scientific facts of human embryology and developmental biology. There are no longer any excuses.
Abortion is childish and morally primitive. It is the use of violence (lethal violence, no less) to get what we want for ourselves.
Abortion is uncivilized. Because decent societies do not solve their problems by eliminating innocent human beings (which doesn't really solve problems anyway). Decent societies solve their problems with an understanding that every human being matters -- that no one may be justly killed or used instrumentally for the convenience or benefit of others. We are all in this together.
Abortion is insulting to the women it tells must kill their offspring in order to succeed and find happiness in their lives and careers. We have come too far for such an attitude.
Abortion is anti-egalitarian. Because it relegates a class of human beings to the status of non-persons who may be killed for any or no reason. Abortion is the exclusion of some from the moral community of those who owe each other respect and protection -- a division of the human family into those who count as bearers of rights and those whose very existence depends on the wants of others.
Abortion is backwards (with due respect to our current president). Because the moral arc of history points toward inclusion and equality. Abortion is perhaps the last acceptable form of discrimination and bigotry.
Abortion is callous to the needs of women. It offers them the quick fix of death -- not support, comfort, resources and hope.
Abortion is the cowardice of men who shirk their responsibilities. They treat their offspring as obstacles to avoid rather than children to protect -- as barriers keeping them from achieving their own ends rather than ends in themselves.
Abortion is a rejection of the basis of human rights, which are held by human beings simply by virtue of being human (hence the term "human rights"), and thus are held equally by all humans. They are not held by only some humans -- and not others -- by virtue of arbitrarily-chosen properties that come in varying degrees and can be gained or lost over time.
Abortion is a shameful disgrace to the medical profession and the very small number of doctors who make money by killing rather than caring.
Abortion is intellectually bankrupt. Its thoughtful and sophisticated defenders have failed to provide a coherent, plausible, sustainable defense of their denial of the equal fundamental dignity and right to life of human beings at all developmental stages. Its primary defenders -- in the media and the public square -- haven't even tried, relying instead on empty and fallacious rhetoric.
I imagine these things will become more and more clear. I do not think that history is a march of inevitable moral progress. I don't think that at all. But we have overcome deeply-entrenched injustices before, and we can do so again.
Perhaps I am wrong about the future. But our obligations in the present are the same regardless.