They are directly analogous, declaring an entire class of human beings as unworthy of rights and ‘personhood’.
To the surprise of seemingly everyone, Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid actually brought up slavery and the fight for human rights on the
Senate floor, in connection to the health care reform legislation that
currently mandates abortion coverage. It was a jaw-dropper.
Yes, Republicans were shocked and offended by the jarring speech. Sen. Reid is sounding desperate.
But he reached for the analogy the pro-life world has used for years. Go back to when Sen. Barack Obama would not vote to pass the Born Alive Infants Protection Act to provide care even for babies who survived abortion attempts. His reasons:
“Number one,” said Obama, explaining his reluctance to
protect born infants, “whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a
person that is protected by the Equal Protection Clause or the other
elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact,
that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections
that would be provided to a — a child, a 9-month old — child that was
delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was
accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it —
it would essentially bar abortions, because the Equal Protection Clause
does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then
this would be an anti-abortion statute.”
This is the same argument that was used by proponents of
slavery. If slaves were to be accepted and regarded as persons, then
they would be entitled to the same protections that were provided to
whites. And then legislation would have to forbid slavery, because the
Constitution protects the life and liberty of all persons, since we are
all created equal.
So Sen. Reid’s analogy is fitting in a way that is beyond him.