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Betsy DeVos: Lincoln’s Battle Against Slavery Was a Battle Against ‘Pro-Choice Arguments of His Day’


Department of Education (DOE) Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday compared then-President Abraham Lincoln’s battle to end slavery with efforts to restrict–or abolish altogether--women’s access to abortion.

Speaking at Colorado Christian University’s annual president’s dinner hosted at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DeVos compared laws that allow women to have abortions to laws that allowed slavery.

“Lincoln too contended with the pro-choice arguments of his day. They suggested that a state’s choice to be slave or to be free had no moral question in it,” DeVos told the crowd, according to the Colorado Times Recorder“Well, President Lincoln reminded those pro-choicers that a vast portion of the American people that do not look upon that matter as being this very little thing. They look upon it as a vast moral evil.”

On the eve of Thursday’s Supreme Court oral arguments in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue a case centering on whether taxpayer funds can be used to subsidize religious education — DeVos also addressed the “irony” of supporting the right to choose to have an abortion but not the right to choose a religious education.

“We are especially eager for the Supreme Court to put an end to the last acceptable prejudice made manifest in the bigoted Blaine amendments,” DeVos said, referring to the amendment in Montana’s constitution which forbids the state from providing “direct or indirect aid” to any “church, sect, or denomination.” Blaine amendments are currently adopted in the constitutions of 38 states.

“The hope is that enough of the justices will see the argument in this and that it will either strike out the Blaine amendment completely at the state level or will deal a large blow to it that will allow for programs like this to be able to grow up more abundantly in states across the country,” DeVos said, calling Blaine amendments “the last allowable prejudice” in the United States.

[image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.