Op-Ed: There's a Dark Irony When Pro-Abortion Activists Dress Up as 'Handmaid's Tale' Characters


In Margaret Atwood’s novel “The Handmaid’s Tale,” set in a future dystopia, women are subjugated and mistreated as the “property” of men. Popularized by a television series, the tale has generated such comical confusion that “pro-choice” demonstrators now don the costumes and victimhood of those imaginary women.

The irony lies in the fact that we are living in a real-life dystopia where we women are the despots.

It is we ourselves who are right now exercising tyranny over the lives of those in our power. It is children in their mothers’ wombs who are being mistreated as the “property” of women. The real victims are being aborted at the will of their “owners.”

This is not to say that women who have abortions are always consciously or freely choosing or understanding this reality. The real blame lies with those radical activists who have distorted the truth about unborn children.

Authorized by the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, over 63 million unborn have been destroyed as private property in a purely “private” decision, a “personal choice.”

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How can any reasonable person go on defending the absurd construct that unborn children are private property and may be obliterated at their mothers’ behest?

Abortion “rights” rely on selfish individualism.

Abortion “rights” are not to be found in the Constitution precisely because they are contrary to the stated purposes of the Constitution, which was agreed upon and adopted as a commitment to securing the blessings of liberty, not just to ourselves but also to our posterity.

Any right to abort our posterity can be contrived to appear in the Constitution only through deceit. The universal natural law principles of the founding instruments of the republic have been subjected to willful contamination by the ideological dogmas of modern atomistic individualism. These dogmas, embellished by radical feminism, distort the truth about our duties to those in our care.

Are unborn children their mothers' property?

Yet surely the authority of reason and virtue in the Constitution guards against, inter alia, succumbing indefinitely to an extremely selfish individualism? Surely it is the antithesis of reason and virtue that insists our own rights take precedence over the rights of other, more vulnerable human beings who through no fault of their own depend on us temporarily for care and protection?

As Elizabeth Cady Stanton, women’s suffrage movement leader, asserted in an 1873 letter to Julia Ward Howe, “When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.”

Providentially, we women, no less than men, are gifted with intellect and free will. We have the same obligation as men to protect vulnerable human beings from abuse.

Feminists were right to focus on the terrible injustice of laws and practices that permitted the mistreatment of many children and women as the property of fathers and husbands. But, ironically and tragically, with our own “liberation” we have taken up our own form of oppression, treating our unborn children as our private property to be kept or destroyed at will.

Today’s pro-abortion “trust women” slogan has the same arrogance that used to accompany the extremes of the old “men always know best” exclusivity.

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Authentic legal protection for children in their mothers’ wombs continues to be stubbornly mischaracterized as “paternalism” — as “legislative intrusion into the womb” — the ideologically correct language employed by such august bodies as The New York Times editorial board. The board is wrong about this and many other pro-abortion doctrines it has adopted and continues mulishly to maintain without a long-overdue critical reassessment.

Among the progressives’ canon of dogmas is the non-personhood of a daughter or son in her or his mother’s womb. This reduction of children chosen to be aborted to the status of non-persons represents a sharp break from the great legal traditions of Western civilization.

These noble traditions, at their philosophical core, sought to preserve space for the individual to live freely in her or his mother’s womb, free from the purely arbitrary power accorded wrongfully to the child’s mother to have an abortionist exterminate her child’s life.

The “right” to abortion stands in direct contradiction to the long, hard-won tradition of human rights and freedoms, a tradition denying that any human being should have absolute ownership and killing rights over any other human being, no matter how small or dependent or troublesome or unwanted.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was right to warn of the degrading effects of treating our children as disposable property. As mothers, we must never be persuaded — not even by the highest court in the land — that the selfish abandonment of any child in our power and under our care is our “right.”

Roe violated the legal distinction between persons and property.

At the core of Roe v. Wade is a violation of the Constitution’s legal distinction between persons and property.

Roe introduced the contradictory concept that a small new human being thriving in her or his mother’s womb is not “a person in the whole sense” but rather is disposable property. Each little one may be arbitrarily aborted right up to “viability” by the pregnant mother in the exercise of her supposed ownership and privacy rights.

But a mother does not own the child in her womb — her tiny daughter belongs to her and she belongs to her daughter. It is the natural intimacy of two human beings, not of owner and object, nor of master and slave.

There is no ownership, only human solidarity — an honorable solidarity with what Abraham Lincoln called “the whole great family of man.” One of the purposes of the Constitution is to secure this solidarity with our posterity.

It is imperative that Roe v. Wade be consigned to the same garbage bin where such terrible mistakes rot as Dred Scott v. Sandford.

Good riddance!

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