The famous and massive March for Life 100,000 strong marched in Washington, DC, on Friday. I attended the much smaller (about 1,200) March for Life in Tucson, Arizona, on Saturday. Attending the March made me think about the pro-life issue in general, particularly since I recently covered a poll revealing that about 70% of Americans, including over 70% of women and about half of Democrats, support at least some restrictions on abortion, but less than 10% support a complete ban on abortion. All of this made me reflect on the fact that many pro-lifers seem to act as if the overturning of Roe v. Wade was a victory that almost ended the fight. They might not say that, or formulate the thought, but there is a sort of finality about the way some people discuss the overturning of Roe. Certainly that was an incredible victory, long in the making, for the more than 63 million babies murdered in abortion under Roe. But we still have far to go.
It is sad to me that the overwhelming majority of Americans have bought the lie that exceptions for abortion must exist to save the life of the mother. Even the Catholic Church acknowledges that there are situations where a certain life-saving operation or treatment may be necessary for a woman that will inadvertently result in the death of her baby. This is a morally acceptable option, to save the life of the mother, but the end cannot be to end the life of baby. Killing a baby outright never saves a woman’s life. Abortion is never necessary to save a mother’s life, according to over a thousand medical experts.
Those who believe in exceptions for rape and incest puzzle me even more. The argument is that the woman should not have to carry the burden, and that is true to the extent that it was unjust for her to be impregnated against her will. I do not want to judge or critique any woman in that situation, because I can only imagine how horrible it is (the worst experience a woman can suffer, they say), but murder is murder. A baby does not cease to be a baby because his biological father was a rapist. Either abortion ends an innocent human live, or it does not, and the circumstances of the conception do not change the humanity of the baby. Furthermore, there is evidence that raped women who get an abortion suffer moretrauma, because adding one type of violence on top of another type of violence is hardly likely to heal a terrible wound of that sort. Finally, the baby is completely innocent, just as his mother is innocent. How can we morally and logically justify inflicting the death penalty on the wholly innocent baby because his father is a criminal? And yet most Americans have not, apparently, thought through their own opinions on this topic.
But there are larger problems. As a Catholic, of course, I believe that contraception is morally reprehensible, because it is wrong to interfere with the God-given end of sexual relations (not to mention the fact that absolving a man of all responsibilities with sex has simply objectified women more). But as it happens, the reality we now live in completely justifies the wisdom of that teaching. Almost the entire world except Africa is headed for a massive population collapse.
The Founding Fathers understood that the right to life was one of the few rights directly from God and the most vital right to a republic. In the Declaration of Independence, only three rights directly from God are listed: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Governments exist to protect these rights, and, if they do not, tyranny looms large, the Declaration indicated.
At the March I attended in Arizona, one of the speakers mentioned the importance of having a culture of life. We do not live in a culture of life. Even people who want restrictions on abortion by and large do not believe in a culture of life. In modernity, particularly in America, the overwhelming majority of people believe that they, not God, should have absolute say over life. They want to control when it starts, exactly what will happen during it, and they want to do so without any major sacrifices or loss of convenience to themselves.
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