Thirty-One Years Later — Slippery Slopes Take a New Turn

By Barbara Curtis December 8, 2004

Thirty-One Years Later — Slippery Slopes Take a New Turn
By Barbara Curtis

If liberalism is like a religion—clinging to messianic government just as believers trust in God—then abortion is its holiest sacrament.

Consider the sacred grounds of today’s abortion temples, the elevation of “abortion providers” to noble redeemers—a parallel priesthood of death.

Consider how the left’s devotion to multi-culturalism is trumped by the evangelical fervor with which they invade other countries to spread the “good news” that the natives can achieve salvation by eliminating masses of their children.

And for behind-the-scenes Machiavellianism, no religion can beat the left:

A recently leaked Center for Reproductive Rights internal memo details their strategy to achieve the globalization of abortion on demand—under the euphemistic umbrella of “reproductive freedom.”

Like communion smuggled into hostile territory, the left’s sacrament must also be concealed. CRR notes, “There is a stealth quality to the work: we are achieving incremental recognition of values without a huge amount of scrutiny from the opposition.”

For true believers, sacraments have an inevitable component of mystery. Is anyone beginning to notice that the ideology of abortion now flies in the face of science and reason? Why the suppression of studies linking breast cancer to abortion?

And what of the advances in technology which show more and more poignantly the humanity of the being feminists insist must be called the fetus? Newsweek’s June 9, 2003 cover story asked “Should a Fetus Have Rights? How Science is Changing the Debate.” The courts are in a quandary what with the Peterson case and women surfacing all over the country to press charges against assailants who beat or kicked the life out of their unborn babies.

There’s the reality that the gestational age of surviving preemies is steadily falling. And surgeons opening mothers’ wombs to correct defects like spina bifida. Remember the teeny hand reaching out to grasp his doctor’s finger?

Finally, the newest ultrasound machines, showing the truth about what was always more than the left wanted to anyone to see. Prolife clinics as well as Fetal Fotos franchisees (really!) are snapping up this new technology to change a mind or turn a profit.

Which leads one to wonder nowadays how much denial it must take to believe that what’s inside the mother is not a human life unless the mother says so?

Let’s go back to the day it began—mothers replacing God as the authors of life—January 22, 1973.

When the Supreme Court somehow pulled a “right to privacy” out of its magic hat, I wasn’t looking too closely for flaws in the way it was done. As a highly-enlightened radical feminist, I scoffed at dour warnings of slippery slopes, simply rejoicing with my Second Wave Sisters at our victory.

Five years later, I celebrated the victory and partook of the sacrament myself, with no more inconvenience than a trip to the dentist.

Thirty-one years later I wonder what in the world we were thinking. Surely not one of us imagined that abortions would become more a convenience item than a last resort, that at the rate of 1.5 million a year, they would eradicate a third of all babies conceived. Focusing only on economics, the outcome will come back to haunt us: a third less work force to carry the Social Security burden of the choice-happy Boomers who live on and on.

Why were we so closed-minded to the philosophical arguments against abortion? Those slippery slopes quickly became a freefall, leading to abortions of preborn babies for being the wrong gender or having a cleft palate. And the horror of a presidential candidate endorsing partial-birth abortion. And the conclusion of Princeton professor/bioethicist Peter Singer that parents of disabled infants should be allowed 30 days to decide whether to allow their child to live or die.

By characterizing children as burdens rather than blessings, abortion led to the devaluation of every one of them and—I believe—the murderous mom syndrome, with babies dumped in dumpsters, stuffed in airplane trashcans, toddlers drowned in lakes or bathtubs, kids strangled, smothered, stabbed, shot, beaten, burned to death by their own mothers.

How could it happen that we women, the bearers and nurturers of life, could have even for a moment wanted to appropriate for ourselves the right to kill? First Wave Feminists hated abortion, likening it to slavery in its premise that one human being could be disposed of as the property of another.

And yet abortion has now become the cornerstone, the litmus test, the defining issue of liberalism today—with some dramatic exceptions like Nat Hentoff and a noble few consistent to the liberal tradition of protecting the weak and helpless. (Visit for a fascinating assortment of leftist prolife writing—including the pre-presidential candidate incarnation of Jesse Jackson.)

Before the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said, “Slavery is founded on the selfishness of man’s nature—opposition to it on his love of justice. These principles are in eternal antagonism; and when brought into collision so fiercely as slavery extension brings them, shocks and throes and convulsions must ceaselessly follow.”

The word quagmire comes to mind.

On this anniversary of Roe v. Wade, after thirty-one years of shocks and throes, let’s reflect on how it came to pass that what seemed desirable in 1973 has finally proven indefensible. Roe v. Wade is now the law of the land, but not necessarily forever, as Dred Scott was not forever.

Once again, the times they are a-changin’. A November Gallup poll revealed that 72 percent of American teenagers find abortion morally wrong. Perhaps they’re looking askance at the selfishness that caused one third of their brothers, sisters, and peers to go missing. Perhaps they’re haunted by the knowledge that there but for the grace of God and the whim of their mothers they might have gone as well.

In any case, like the boy who accurately perceived the Emperor had no clothes, post-Boomers bathed in a different cultural and scientific awareness—despite current over-the-top efforts of Planned Parenthood and other denominations to bring them into the fold—appear to be rapidly abandoning the religion of their mothers.

Barbara Curtis is a much-published author and mother of many, including several adopted children with special needs. Visit her at