Catalyst June Issue 2002
It is okay to kill a baby who is 80 percent born (it’s called partial-birth abortion). But what if the baby is a chimp? For some savants, that’s a heart-wrenching question.
Steven Wise wrote a book two years ago, Rattling the Cage, that argued the merits of treating chimpanzees as humans. His book went over so big that Jane Goodall, the famous gorilla expert, dubbed it “the animal rights’ Magna Carta.” He thinks the courts should award chimps the status of legal personhood. Wise also brands the use of animals in medical research as “genocide.”
The father of animal rights is Peter Singer. Singer is pro-abortion. He also thinks it’s okay for parents to kill their infants in certain cases. More recently, he wrote a piece asking us to rethink our objections to men having sex with animals. But he maintains it is immoral to eat a steak.
Wise teaches a course in animal rights at Harvard Law School and is founder and president of Harvard’s Center for the Expansion of Fundamental Rights. Singer teaches at Princeton University’s Center for the Study of Human Values. They have now won the support of another leading scholar, Laurence Tribe, the famous Harvard lawyer.
Tribe recently discovered the merits of animal rights. It was his fondness for chimps that pushed him over the edge. Indeed, he is now committed to the proposition that chimpanzees deserve legal standing. However, he remains pro-choice on the subject of human abortion.
So the moral of the story is: if we can get our Ivy League wonderbrains to think of kids in the womb as if they were chimps, we’d be home free. Call it Chimp Envy.
Look for an anti-exterminator movement to begin before the decade is.