by Patrick Appel

Ta-Nehisi - exhausted by this perennial debate - continues to argue that slavery and abortion are not analogous:

Whereas abortion is necessarily premised on ending the existence of a fetus, slave-holding was directly premised on the continued existence of slaves. The lynching of slaves was virtually unheard of in the Old South, not because slave-masters were beneficent, but because they had enormous sums of money invested in them.

In other words, slaves did not simply have "the right to exist"; it was essential to the society that they exist. In this sense, abortion and American chattel slavery could not be more opposite. According to Klein, Santorum believes that "abortion is murder." Santorum is factually wrong. Murder is a legal term that refers to the unlawful taking of a life. Abortion is very much legal. Even a broad reading of murder takes us nowhere. If abortion is murder, then it follows that the thousands of American women who each year get abortions -- as a class -- are murderers. Slave-holders were investors in a deeply evil scheme. They were not -- as a class -- murderers.

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