A respected slave owner who silently appalled the very trade in which he partook in, yet deemed any stance against this tide of the times as futile; a born and raised Northern woman who held strong to her beliefs and her faith, using the later to justify her opinions, proclaimed her hatred for any lithium person who would participate in this work of the devil; and a young heir to his father’s estate who had to choose what would be done with his newly acquired slaves and his own opinions on the matter. Three characters, each from Harriet Stowe’s classic Uncle Tom’s Cabin, still ring aloud truth for the rights of those today.
In the twenty-first century, we are no longer faced with the choice of standing for slavery or freedom, for our forefathers have already won this battle on which many a brave man laid down his life. The horrifying injustice that we face today is not of whether a life deserves to live free but instead whether a life deserves to live at all. According to CDC, over 600,000 abortions were performed in 2014 alone. Before you throw this paper away deeming it as a pro-life or pro-choice hate article, allow me to share my perspective on the matter.
Just as years before, our nation is divided on the differing of options on the right for an individual to choose. In many ways, slavery and abortion are much the same. The case was often presented by slave-owning defenders that slaves were better off as slaves then they would be on their own with freedom. Is this not what we are saying today when we determine that the quality of a child’s life would appear to be less than ideal, due to life circumstances or even physical conditions, and thus justify our actions in taking its life?
There is no question in my mind on whether abortion is justified or not, but that is not what I wish to speak about today. I am not writing in hopes of convincing someone to value the life of an unborn child. I am writing to those who already do but are doing little more than making matters worse. Any individual who would dare to cast judgment on a woman who has undertaken an abortion should have their right to speak on the matter taken away forever. Having an abortion is not a choice that is made lightly and by no means has no repercussions. This procedure is devastating to say the least, for both parties involved. According to studies presented by After Abortion.org, a woman who undergoes an abortion is six times more likely to commit suicide and that suicide is the leading cause of death in woman up to 365 days following their abortion. This tears at my very soul. How can we stand by as these women who feel trapped in a situation that they believe to have only one way out, now are plunged with guilt and rejection to such degree that they would take their own lives?
So what am I suggesting? It may sound as if I myself am taking the position of the silent slave owner, not wanting to stand agest the tide of wrong that sweeps our nation. But this is not at all what I mean. Silents is not the answer, but neither is proclaiming our disapproval through anger.
In the story of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, there were three characters who stood out to me for their stance on slavery. Augustine St. Clare, the silent slave owner; Miss Ophelia, the outraged northern Christian woman; and George Shelby a young man who found himself in possession of a cotton plantation and the soul enslaved thereon.
Augustine St. Clare truly appalled slavery, yet when confronted as to why he did nothing to put a stop to it he replied that there was nothing he could do. In his silence lives were destroyed and souls were lost.
Miss Ophelia’s outrage toward those who worked the devil’s trade, as she saw it, brought absolutely no aid to those bound by slavery. Up upon her soapbox of righteousness, she had not the time nor the desire to actually reach down to help the poor enslaved. Her opinions and constantly outstretched finger of judgment kept her ever to busy to reach out a hand of comfort to any a soul in need.
Yet between these two extremes, a young man who inherited his father’s cotton plantation chose to focus not on slavery but instead the enslaved. By freeing his slaves, George Shelby did indeed put a stop to slavery in his case, but that wasn’t enough. You see, putting a stop to a wrong is useless if we ignore the reason that such corruption came about in the first place. Freeing his slaves didn’t mean that they could then live freely, it just meant that they were no longer slaves. To live free George had to provide the means for these men and women to learn how to live in the white man’s world and to provide for themselves. We must do the same.
Sir George made a difference by providing a way for all men to live free, from both slavery and guilt. Yet he did this completely out of love….. for both slave and slave owner. We must do the same. We must provide ways for these defenseless infants to be protected from a system, not a person, who seeks to take their very right to live. We must create programs to care for these children, from inside the womb to birth and provide for them once brought into this world. Yet at the same time, we must also care for those who see this path as their only way out. Perhaps if the obstacles and judgments that come from having a child were removed, then our society might be able to see the value of life instead of the coast. Putting a stop to abortion by making it illegal will not suddenly make the life of an unborn child valued. But, making an unborn child’s life valuable, by also valuing the life of the mother, will put a stop to abortion.
There is definitely a reason this book is a classic and I encourage you to take the time (with a box of tissues in hand) and read this heartwrenching but moving story of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.