The fight to end abortions likened to freeing slaves

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R) of Utah compared his efforts to win a constitutional amendment restricting abortion to the 19th-century legal fight to free blacks form slavery. During congressional hearings here Mr. Hatch said, "Where doubts about the 'personhood' of blacks once justified a constitutional resolution, similar doubts about the 'personhood' of the human fetus may appropriately be resolved through the Constitution."

Meanwhile constitutional scholars clashed over his comparison, noting on one hand that 19th-century Americans rationalized their support of slavery and that the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion was a similar curtailment of liberty. On the other hand it was argued that proponents of a woman's right to an abortion are not as "insensitive" as 19th-century Americans were to blacks.

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