[Written on Saturday, April 8, 1989] This past weekend, pro-abortionists marched upon our city by the tens of thousands to uphold the status-quo erected by the Roe vs. Wade decision of 1973. As always they have attempted to conveniently side-step the real issues in order to disguise both to themselves and to others the real nature of abortion. What have they argued?
Four Arguments of Deceit
1. "A woman has a right to freely choose." We as Americans might at first be smitten by such a slogan which uses that word which is our birthright as citizens, "freedom". However, what the opposition does not elaborate upon is how this freedom shall be realized. Americans have not enshrined liberty at the cost of justice. We are free only to the extent that it is not infringed or denied to others. Presently, parents have the authority to tell their teenagers to finish their spinach and not to drink or smoke, but not to halt an abortion. A husband who must place his signature next to his wife's in certain joint bank accounts has been castrated of any privileges to his unborn children. Finally, behind the legal fiction of viability and place of residence (the womb) a child is stripped of any and all rights or freedoms even before seeing the light of day.
2. "Without legalized abortion, countless women would die at the hands of butchers." Despite what the pro-abortionists might say, illegal abortions, even in their heyday years, probably did not exceed 200,000. This is bad, but a million-and-an-half is over seven times worse. Deaths constituted an unfortunate but small statistic before legalization. This argument of theirs is utterly and morally bankrupt. If one's sole criteria for legalization is difficulty of enforcement or to gain better control over a problem, however, sordid, then could not the legalization of hard drugs, suicide, prostitution, etc. also be argued?
3. "A woman has a right to determine what to do with her body." This has never been entirely true. Does she have a right to cut off her arms and legs? No. By allowing a married woman to have an abortion in opposition to her husband, the state opts to abrogate the Christian teaching of "the two in one flesh" and becomes a third party involved with the most intimate sphere of their life. As for the woman's body, if it had been inviolate from the beginning, she would not be in this predicament. Of course, it is upon this issue that the Right to Life groups most take issue. It is not simply her body, they would astutely argue. Human life, from the very first moment of conception has a right to preservation. The Christian would add that an immortal soul is present, making that small embryo or fetus a human person with an eternal destiny. For a period of months this person's life is contingent upon another. He must never be regarded as simply an undesirable and cancerous extension of her flesh or as a property which can be bartered or discarded at will. He or she (yes, the unborn woman has rights too) is irreplaceable and precious. He is alive. He is human. He is a person. If the courts define personhood simply in terms of utility, as they did, then this term is evacuated of any true meaning and none of us are safe. If the state and the pro-abortionists were honest, they would hesitate at this point. How can they know for sure that there is no human being present? And, if they cannot be sure, are they not required by decency and logic, to at least offer the unborn the benefit of a doubt, and choose the course which results in the least harm, with life and the most possibilities available, for all? The answer is undeniably, yes!
4. "Abortion is an acceptable means of preventing an unwanted pregnancy, especially if the woman is single, or poor, or involved with a career." It is true that since its legalization, abortion has more than ever become acceptable for many; indeed, many women use it routinely as a form of birth control and as a backup to contraception. The District of Columbia has one of the highest abortion rates in the nation, making it "the murder capitol of the world" long before this title became popular. The average woman in Washington who has one abortion, has two. Many have even more. Candidates for abortion ironically span two worlds, the ambitious or successful and the poor. Critics of pro-life legislation have argued that if abortion is made illegal, the social welfare system would collapse under the weight of unwanted babies. However, the real facts seem to show that the contrary is true. Having taken away the fear of pregnancy, women more frequently engage in illicit sex and married couples surrender self-discipline. The so-called solution, exacerbated the problem. Orphanages have closed. Couples wanting to adopt have had to wait years, and in many cases, may still have not received a child. Abortion has stolen their children both from them and from us. Who knows, maybe already we have killed the child who would have cured the world's most vicious diseases or who would have most advanced the cause of world peace or who would have made it possible for us to touch the stars?
Proponents of abortion have failed to realize that abortion is a poor short-term answer to dilemmas which need long-term solutions. Poverty, promiscuity, and immaturity can not be resolved by pretending that a child is not conceived, and thus taking its life. We must not make the unborn child a scapegoat for the various problems of our civilization as the Nazi's once made the Jews in theirs. In our arguments, legislation, and mutual support, we have to let our fellow citizens know that responsible love and fidelity to the truth are the only ways we can deal appropriately with this most basic life issue. Motherhood and fatherhood are a blessing, not a curse. A child is a gift, not a mistake. Pregnancy is a sharing with another and with God in his great creative power, and is not a disease to be medicated out. For many unborn children, it is already too late; however, if our faith is right, then these children joined with the Holy Innocents killed in Christ's stead, are still alive. In the presence of the Master, they wait and pray for their parents who have neither patience nor blessing for them.
Return to INDEX
Revised on May 2, 1998.
SEE ADDENDUM BELOW:
April 8, 1989
Mr. Thomas Rowan
Dear Mr. Rowan,
I would first like to complement you on your one page spread in The
Standard which in a few words accurately described the real meaning
behind the pro-abortion march this past weekend. It is described as a "death
march" and as a "continued defiance of God's will". I was
taken back last Sunday when a couple of our regular parishoner's casually
announced that they were housing friends coming in for the "women's
Too many Catholics have joined the ranks of other citizens in this land by thinking that they can remain both a Christian and a supporter of legalized murder. It simply does not wash! I prepared a reflection for use with some of the people who might feel compelled to speak to a priest this week about this matter. In hindsight, although I am not entirely certain of its quality and your policy regarding outside articles, I thought you might be interested in it for your paper.
To think that such people would seek to perpetuate death during the season of Easter and new life is a sure sign of how faithless they have become. Maybe in our witness to life we can knock a few back to their senses? God bless you and keep up the good work.
Cordially in Christ,
Rev. Joseph A. Jenkins