By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only

Coming to Terms with Abortion and Animal Rights

It has become quite the dilemma for us all,
hasn't it?

The majority of anti-abortion advocates
support the killing of animals by eating
meat, chicken, and fish.

The majority of animal rights activists
promote the killing of unborn humans by
supporting a woman's right to an abortion.

Neither side respects the other's doctrine.
Neither side respects the other's principles.
Neither side recognizes the perplexity of the
spiritual contradiction presented in this impasse.

The so-called "silent majority" of god-fearing
middle America eats baby cows and pigs and
lambs. Yet, they passionately allow themselves
to voice outrage at a woman's choice to end the
life of that human child growing within her own body.

The beautiful children of the animal rights
movement are vociferous in their disgust of those
who experiment upon, and then kill a laboratory
rat, yet, they delude themselves in rationalizing
the pain and death that is delivered to a living,
growing, sentient human being within the woman's
body by embracing her right to put an end to that
which lives.

To abuse any living creature is to express a
belief that the animal has no rights, has no soul.

To practice harmlessness is to respect the right
of all creatures; those able, and those unable to
defend themselves against higher and more intelligent
life forms.

Who, then, is closer to possessing that abstraction of
universal wisdom? Who practices consistency? Is it the
man or woman who eats arms and legs from once-living
animals, who also supports abortion rights? Or, is it
the anti-abortionist who cries when any creature feels
pain and experiences death at the hands of a human?

Do all living creatures reside in a Darwinian world in
which only the strong survive, and humankind's dominance
over all other animals morally allows man and woman to kill
in the name of pleasure, science, sport, or sustenance?


Has humankind reached that point in its physical and
spiritual evolution in which no living creature
deserves to die at the hand of a woman or man? Hasn't
the time come in which 21st century alternatives allow
for more compassionate choices?

Do I swat a moth? Do I support an individual's right to
end the life of a farm, circus, or lab animal, or future

I once participated in all of the above. I hunted.
I experimented upon animals in a lab. I laughed and
cheered at the rodeo and circus. I also escorted a
college friend to an Englewood, NJ clinic to have
her 1973 abortion. For the past 30 years of my adult
life, ever since Norma McCorvey (also known as Jane
Roe, as in Roe vs. Wade) successfully petitioned the
Supreme Court to uphold her right to an abortion, I
too supported a woman's right to make that life or
death decision regarding her unborn child.

In order to be true to myself, I can no longer endorse
the killing of any living creature. That also applies
to creatures of the human kind. Even little ones whose
tiny hearts beat, whose thumbs find their way to
fetal mouths, whose brains respond to interior and
exterior stimuli.

I ask all passionate anti-abortionists to extend their
sensibilities to animals who feel the sting of a knife,
and whose painful lives exist and terminate only to put
a smile upon human faces. Their self-actualization will
occur when they adopt a vegan lifestyle. They are halfway

I also ask all passionate animal rights advocates to
extend their compassion to the human creature who is
also an animal, and who also must have rights. In
non-human form, the animal rights activist would demand
justice for that creature. True fulfillment comes with
understanding that all creatures are one. Every atom of
every cell in every living creature had its origin in a
star. Once the miracle of life occurs, once the heart takes
its first beat, directed by the most intricate of devices,
a brain, that creature has earned a right to live.

There is only one tiny island, called middle ground,
inhabited by a small minority of people who savor each
of life's experiences by understanding the beauty of
practicing harmlessness to all creatures. There is a
mountain upon that island, called Olympus, where gods
sit amused, entertained by the inconsistencies of human

Let us extend a bridge from that island to the mainland,
and nurture the wisdom of that special place to all humankind.

Robert Cohen, author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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