Magazine article The Human Life Review

Stars, Bars & Choice

Magazine article The Human Life Review

Stars, Bars & Choice

Article excerpt


[The following article was posted on January 24, 2000 on, an on-line publication of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture in Los Angeles, Ca. It is reprinted here with the permission of Mr. Weinkopf,who is the webzine's managing editor.]

If the day's headlines look familiar, it's because we have read these stories before. Two of America's perennial debates-abortion and the Confederate battle flag-have resurfaced to nag at the public conscience once more. The 27th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, which coincides with the recurring feud about flying the Stars and Bars over South Carolina's statehouse, reminds us that the "pro-life" and "pro-choice" arguments have been at war since long before 1973.

The South's secession from the Union was, Confederate President Jefferson Davis said, "actuated solely by the desire to preserve our own rights and promote our own welfare." Those who support honoring the Confederate experience by flying its standard echo the same arguments. They insist that the flag-and, for that matter, the Civil war-were not about slavery but "states' rights." States rights to do what? Not just any federalist grievance could have prompted the South to declare and fight for secession. Specifically, it feared the eventual abolition of slavery, an institution that had become fundamental to its very way of life. It cared less about "states" rights" in general than about the "right" to slavery in particular.

Likewise, legalized abortion has become a fixture in American culture. (One in three women voluntarily aborts a baby in her lifetime.) Its proponents have come to value the "freedom" to have an abortion more than freedom itself. Groups like NOW and NARAL speak loftily about the right of women to "control their own bodies," but gladly jettison that right in favor of government-run health care, taxes on tobacco and other federal intrusions. They insist that abortion is a private matter best left to the individual, but demand that taxpayers subsidize it. "Choice" is not the heart of their agenda, but a veil to conceal it.

In that regard, Jefferson Davis was the great-grandfather of the "pro-choice" position. To protect slavery, the Confederacy made a false god of states' rights-- which are important, but not more so than the right of the individual to his set his own destiny. Pro-choicers similarly deify the notion of "reproductive rights," placing it above even the right to life, which logically must come first. …

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