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Ryan Bomberger: Why pregnancy is not slavery


WORLD Radio - Ryan Bomberger: Why pregnancy is not slavery

Branding anyone a “non-person” always legitimizes violent inequality


NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, February 15th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Is pregnancy ever a kind of slavery? A recent court opinion seems to make that argument. So WORLD commentator Ryan Bomberger is going to help untangle that faulty logic.

RYAN BOMBERGER, COMMENTATOR: Chattel slavery was an evil institution in America that violently denied an entire group of human beings any humanity. It took a bloody Civil War and an historic 13th Amendment that abolished slavery to break those shackles. But a liberal federal judge wants to use that very Amendment to reapply shackles and justify the commercial violence of abortion. In U.S. vs. Lauren Handy, District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly opined that the 13th Amendment offers the constitutional right to abortion.

The same law passed to free people of my complexion should now be an instrument that casts motherhood as a form of slavery or involuntary servitude? Oh, the foolish cyclical nature of humankind. We ill-treat, retreat but then repeat.

Every judge takes this oath: “I solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons.” Well, every human is a person. Branding anyone a “non-person” always legitimizes violent inequality. At least the enslaved could try to run away, had an Underground Railroad, and had a voice to challenge their oppression. The unborn have zero ability to articulate or escape brutality against them.

Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s ruling invokes pro-abortion professor Andrew Koppelman and his law review article, Forced Labor Revisited: The Thirteenth Amendment and Abortion. The opinion piece desperately tries to frame any abortion restriction as slavery and absurdly compares pro-life advocates to pro-slavery Southerners. Koppelman proclaims that certain human beings have no “moral status.” He declares it doesn’t matter how unborn humans are treated.

Pharaoh didn’t think enslaved Israelites had moral status. Stalin killed tens of millions he denied had moral status. Hitler didn’t think the nearly 250,000 disabled persons or the millions of Jews he slaughtered had moral status. Roe v. Wade erased the moral status of over 60 million humans. And now Judge Kollar-Kotelly has signaled the most marginalized in the womb have no moral status. How many times do we need to circle around this lie of inequality?

“Just as the white landowners tended to think that agricultural labor, whether forced or willing, was a suitable role for blacks, so opponents of abortion tend to think that motherhood, whether forced or willing, is a suitable role for women,” Koppelman falsely writes. Slave labor is not a biological trait of Black people. Conceiving, developing another human being, and giving birth through the natural act of labor, however, are beautiful biological traits of women.

The arguments Koppelman puts forth are ludicrous. If preventing a woman from killing her unborn child is slavery – because it “forces” her to use her body to provide for the child – why not apply that warped take on the 13th Amendment after a child is born? There is obviously a unique relationship between parent and child that demands the former protect the latter, but a rabid pro-abortion worldview always wants to sever that bond, both in and out of the womb.

I’m Ryan Bomberger.

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