Thursday, February 28, 2013

Life, liberty and property

Dr. Jean Staker Garton writes (in Who Broke the Baby?):
At one time in our history Native Americans were not legal persons because we did not grant them the protection of our Constitution. We were thus able to take by force anything that belonged to them. Usually what we wanted was their land, so we denied them the right to property.

Next on our national list of nonpersons were black slaves, declared to be chattel and property of their masters as a result of the Dred Scott decision of 1857. What we wanted from slaves was their labor, and so we denied them the right to liberty. We now rightly view this period of our history with shame, but we must remember that slavery then, as abortion now, was a very profitable practice that was accepted socially, condoned by many churches of the day, and held as legal by the United States Supreme Court.

In 1973 [with the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion on demand] another group of human beings was added to the nonperson list: the unborn. If we want his or her space in this world, portion of food, share of resources, part of the budget—or if we simply do not want him or her—we can deny the right to life.

Unborn human beings denied LIFE.
Black human beings denied LIBERTY.
Native American human beings denied PROPERTY.

Our Constitution declares that "No state shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law." Yet, in fact, we have denied all three for the sake of convenience, economics, and expediency. History has proven us wrong about Native Americans. History has proven us wrong about African Americans. We cannot afford to wait for history to prove us wrong about the unborn.