Huckabee compares abortion to slavery

In a speech to an anti-abortion group, the former Arkansas governor says the moral reasoning behind abolishing slavery applies today.

Published March 24, 2009 5:50PM (EDT)

Mike Huckabee certainly has a way with words. The former Arkansas governor, who has raised eyebrows for suggesting that, since it's easier to change the Constitution than the Bible, we should "amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards," and for his famous discussion of his talent at frying squirrels in popcorn poppers, added another quote to his greatest hits list Monday. Speaking at a fundraiser for an anti-abortion group in Missouri, Huckabee likened abortion to slavery.

Huckabee's reasoning? He asserted that the U.S. abolished slavery because the nation decided it was immoral for one person to have life-or-death power over another person. In his speech, Huckabee said,

"What are we saying to the generation coming after us when we tell them that it is perfectly OK for one person to own another human being? I thought we dealt with that 150 years ago when the issue of slavery was finally settled in this country, and we decided that it no longer was a political issue, it wasn't an issue of geography, it was an issue of morality. That it was either right or it was immoral that one person could own another human being and have full control even to the point of life and death over that other human being."

He added that civilization will not survive if "one group of people have life and death control over another for no particular reason other than their own conveniences and, in that case, prejudices."

Huckabee, who supports a constitutional ban on abortion and is a favorite of social conservatives, is hardly the first person to make the comparison. But Huckabee's equation of abortion to slavery doesn't make a great deal of sense. Regardless of when one thinks life begins, slavery involved a nation sanctioning the buying and selling of human beings. How is that like abortion?

The president of Missouri's NAACP, Mary Ratliff, said the comparison was "apples to oranges" and denounced the former governor's comments. "It seems to me now that when folks want to object to some kind of morality type of issue, they want to attach it to slavery," Ratliff said.

By Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

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