Alan Keyes
Regarding abortion: what both Obama and Romney want us to forget
By Alan Keyes
October 22, 2012

A story reports that "Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has released a new television advertisement underscoring his support for abortion and contraception." According to the report, "the thirty second advertisement, geared toward women voters, features Sarah Minto, who outlines that she had concerns about Romney's 'extreme' abortion views until she realized that he wasn't completely opposed to abortion after all."

When I read reports about a candidate's stand on abortion, I do a little mental exercise that serves as a preliminary test of my judgment about its moral validity. I review the description of their stand, substituting the word "slavery" for the word "abortion." In this case, the result is a television advertisement that has Romney underscoring "his support for slavery..." and a voter relieved because "she had concerns about Romney's abolitionist views until she realized that he wasn't completely opposed to slavery after all."

To anyone who has bothered to review the consistent pattern of Romney's stance on abortion, this report should come as no surprise. But such a Romney campaign advertisement ought to be a wake-up call for all the supposedly pro-life "leaders" and voters comforting themselves with the false pretense that he's "pro-life."

Romney's stand on abortion is very like the stand on slavery taken by Abraham Lincoln's nemesis, Stephen Douglas. Throughout his career, Douglas took care to reassure the proponents of slavery that he was no abolitionist. He supported the rights of slave owners, and the prerogatives of the slave states. Douglas worshiped at the altar of "popular sovereignty." So he held to the view that justice is whatever the will of the majority says it is, even when the majority's will contradicts the premise of God-endowed right that is the basis for the majority's right to make such decisions (i.e., its right to government based upon consent).

It's ironic these days that the very people who clamor for "minority rights" when race or money are the rubric suddenly adopt the Douglas "majority rule" position on an issue like abortion. They are ready to decry the notion that might makes right when the rich and powerful abuse the poor and relatively powerless. But nascent children, bereft of every form of wealth or power but their simple humanity, may be murdered at the whim of individuals who happen to be stronger than they are, so long as a majority can be found willing to support or tolerate such murders.

Because Stephen Douglas was willing to tolerate restrictions on slavery established by majority whim, we could argue that he was not pro-slavery. The problem is, of course, that if one community makes slaves, and another community annuls what they have made, whose view determines when and whether a slave must be treated as such? Or, in the case of abortion, if one community makes human beings, and another denies their humanity, whose will determines when and whether their humanity must be respected? (As we will see, America's answer is that neither community gets to decide, for the Creator has already determined what both must respect.)

People like Mitt Romney assert that in this case or that the will of the majority of the people; or the majority of the judges and justices; or even the majority of one mother and one doctor ready to accept her rule, can strip away every human offspring's title of humanity. Yet the original claim to the title of humanity has the same basis for their offspring as it does for those who claim the right to murder them. If, on this basis, Romney and others hold that people may be treated as non-human for purposes of coldblooded murder, why do they pretend to deny that, on the same "majority rule" basis, people may be treated as non-human for the purposes of slavery, racial perfection, or religious purity? Of course they will indignantly exclaim that "Racism and religious fanaticism are unacceptable grounds for inhumanity." But it's patently absurd to suggest that lust, ambition, and personal convenience are acceptable motives for inhumanity, but not the desire to perfect the species or assure its path to eternal salvation. It's plainly irrational to pretend that humanity may be abused so that perishable individuals can feel free, by all means, to make money and fornicate, but not so that the species as a whole can perfect itself for all eternity.

Eventually, of course, the illogic of this irrational absurdity will give way to the more consistent and plainly evil logic hidden within it. Today, people like Barack Obama and Mitt Romney pretend they are just offering some individuals the right to sweep aside the constraints implied by our respect for common humanity. But we live still in the shadow of fanatical political, social, and religious ideologies who claim that right on behalf of the progress or salvation of humanity itself. When asserted on the strength of these more comprehensive motives, all the imperious reasons for totalitarian inhumanity are again unleashed ( as they were in the 20th century), motives such as: perfecting the evolution of the race; fulfilling the project of History; or converting all people to a path that leads humanity to godhood.

I cringe when I hear the rhetoric (either malicious or simply stupid) that characterizes opposition to all dehumanizing murder as an "extremist" view. So now the people who believe that dehumanizing murder "should be an option," in this case or that, are the "moderates"? With the massive atrocities of the 20th century still fresh in human experience; with the spirit of terrorist atrocity every day overshadowing our lives, what madness possesses those who think that the license thus given to individuals to murder millions of human offspring will not soon again extend itself to renew the open, systematic slaughter aimed generally at all rest of the children of men who refuse some goal of the collective will?

I stand by the principles of America's founding largely because they articulate an understanding of justice that precludes the sick delusion that it can ever be right or optimal to read some people out of the human race so that others may have license to abuse and murder them. Whether they are many or few, whether they are powerful or weak, whether they are spurred by overweening pride and ambition, or by justifiable resentment against the abuses such pride and ambition can cause, people have no authority to take away what it is never in their power to alter or abolish. That authority belongs to the Creator God, and God alone.

It's telling that these days, the loudest complaints against those who invoke God's authority in the way America's founders did, come from people who are, even as they speak, asserting the right to act like God when it comes to authorizing dehumanizing murders. Perhaps the most salutary effect of the founders' acknowledgement of God's authority is that it reveals the lie at the heart of any human claim to wield such authority. To anyone who wishes to usurp the Creator's throne, whether it be a tyrant dictator or a tyrant people; or a tyrant dictator claiming to act for the people, there is one right the American people may always claim with certainty, and with certainty never surrender, and that is the right to tell them, by word and deed, that they are wrong. But what Obama, Romney and all the proponents of dehumanizing murder, in any case, really want us to forget is this: We cannot claim the right, from God, to limit abuses of right by others unless, for God's sake, we first exercise the right by limiting our own abuses.
To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at and his commentary at and

© Alan Keyes


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Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election – featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism – when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)


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