Tag Archive for ‘Abortion’
Sitting in traffic I happened to notice an unfortunate pro-life bumper sticker featuring an unborn child inquiring of the vehicles behind it: “ . . . what about my choice?”
Before applauding this as a poignant question directed at those advocating what’s now called “choice” in our culture, consider that this line of reasoning amounts to an unintended advertisement for euthanasia. Yes, should this hypothetical child grow up and choose to end its life over some malady, physical or otherwise, such a choice would be in keeping with the assumption of the slogan “. . . what about my choice?”
Utilizing this popular conception of choice in discussions of life and death is not a virtue it’s a vice. Life, whether our own or others, is a gift. Period. We are its recipients, not its masters. And in the case of parents, the two become willing, albeit passive, participants in our Creator’s live-giving handiwork.
Death, likewise, is a certainty, providentially governed by the One who gave life. Both beginning and end are fixed firmly in God’s hand. This is why talk of choice in these gravest of matters is arrogant and perverse.
I was reminded of this when reading last week about a letter written by actor Mark Ruffalo in which he celebrates his mother for aborting his older sibling. You may be wondering why the opinion of a man whose fame derives from his role as the Incredible Hulk matters on any moral issue, whatever. In the narrower context of moral philosophy, it most certainly does not; in the larger cultural milieu in which we’re situated, however, it does. It does because what he articulates, however clumsily and predictably in his letter, is what our broader culture has accepted as true: “ . . .what about my choice?”
Ruffalo’s letter is burdened that his mother was “forced” to have an illegal abortion, in “an America that was not free nor equal nor very kind.” He writes, “It cost $600 cash. It was a traumatizing thing for her. It was shameful and sleazy and demeaning. When I heard the story I was aghast by the lowliness of a society that would make a woman do that. I could not understand its lack of humanity; today is no different.”
He continues, “We made abortion and a woman’s ability to be her own master a Right. That Right was codified into law. That law was the law of the land for decades. My own mother fought to make herself more than a possession; she lived her life as a mother who chose when she would have children, and a wife who could earn a living as she chose. I want my daughters to enjoy that same choice.”
Where to begin with Mr. Ruffalo? First, no one forced his mother in this circumstance to have any kind of abortion. She could have kept the child, or found a loving family for him or her, but instead consented to an illegally procured abortion. What she didn’t have in this case was legal or societal approval, which is what Ruffalo is on about in his letter.
Second, somebody needs to tell this man what used to be common knowledge before our contracepting and abortion obsessed society separated the sexual act from having children. When a man and woman have conjugal relations a child is not unexpected. These are the dynamics of the act; its main purpose is to generate offspring. It is precisely here that we may appropriately speak about choice in relation to life—if one does not want children, one should choose not to have sex.
Third, stripping away all the practiced moral indignation, the logical fallacies, the jargon of equality and rights, and the studied euphemisms designed to hide the real horror of abortion, what this Hollywood celebrity is really advocating, what a significant swath of our culture is advocating, is the right of a mother to murder her unborn [...]
The left-wing media painted the legislation restricting abortions in Texas with the broadest brush. ”Sweeping” was the most common adjective. As in “’It is a very happy, celebratory day,’” Perry said before signing the sweeping antiabortion measure” (Salon); “Gov. Rick Perry signs sweeping abortion bill” (ABC News); or “Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed sweeping new abortion restrictions . . . that could shutter most of the state’s clinics that provide the procedure . . . ” (USA Today).
The “sweeping” law, which bans abortions after 20 weeks, preserves 98.5% of current abortions, according to Guttmacher Institute statistics. Of course, fewer abortions is a good thing, even if the reduction is only by 1.5%, and the other provisions of the legislation, which compel abortion mills to rise above the level of a tattoo parlor or a Botox party, may reduce numbers further.
Texas Republicans’ stated rationale for the 20-week limit was that “the state has a compelling state interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that these children are capable of feeling pain” (pdf).
And that’s hogwash, because the legislation makes a barbaric exception when it comes to unborn children with “a severe fetal abnormality.” According to the Health and Safety Code of the State of Texas, “a ‘severe fetal abnormality’ means a life threatening physical condition that, in reasonable medical judgment, regardless of the provision of life saving medical treatment, is incompatible with life outside the womb.”
Never mind the vagueness of “reasonable medical judgment.” What this exception means is that a new standard is created for determining whether a child in utero is “unwanted.” If the disabled child is not expected to live long (however you may define “long”), who cares if “these children are capable of feeling pain”? Why bother to let them live as long as they can, when you can kill them—for all the same reasons the abortion-on-demand Democrats cite for 20 weeks and beyond?
Disabled babies belong in the bio-hazard waste bag, and no amount of pain should stop them from reaching their destination. This is what “conservative” abortions look like.
American college students never cease to unpleasantly surprise us (hat tip to Mark Brennan). Dan Jordan of the Media Research Center circulated a petition on George Washington University’s campus, asking students to sign in support of fourth (yes, you read it right, fourth!) trimester abortions.
Jordan explained to the students that “If you don’t know what fourth trimester is, it’s after the baby is already born,” and that women should have a “right to chose” what to do with their “bodies and babies after their pregnancies”. He managed to get 14 students to sign his petition, a number that would’ve been at least double had it been circulated during the regular academic year.
Now, one is tempted to dismiss the students’ support for fourth trimester abortions as evidence of the imbecility and ignorance of American college kids. But that is missing the point. There’s nothing funny about the anti-life stance of today’s young people. Their support for child-killing shows how entrenched the culture of death is in our society. One could imagine these same kids growing up into adults that leave numerous aborted children in their wake. After all, it’s all about a “woman’s right to choose”, isn’t?
It’s very easy to picture these same college kids wheeling out their frail grandparents and parents to a Dr. Kevorkian, so they could get their paws on their inheritance sooner and don’t have to visit Grandpa in the nursing home.
The NYT recently published a brief op-ed piece by one Judy Nicastro – a self-described “non-religious”, “old school liberal” from Seattle. In fashionably maudlin prose, Nicastro writes about aborting her son at 23 weeks. That repulsive little article is a good example of the worldview of abortion proponents.
Now, what was the reason for Nicastro’s decision to kill her unborn child? Perhaps her life, or even health was in danger? Or did she become pregnant as a result of rape or incest? Nope, none of the above. You see, her son had a hole in his diaphragm and only one formed lung chamber and she did not want to deal with the inconvenience of her son being hospitalized and on life support for a long time.
But what if a perfectly healthy baby grows up into a perfectly healthy teenager who is then grievously injured as a result of an auto accident and is placed on life support? Would Nicastro euthanize him to spare herself and her husband the inconvenience of visiting him in the hospital and seeing him all intubated and covered with bandages? I suspect that she would, if it were sanctioned by some judge or legislator. Such is the dreary, selfish, soulless world of child killers who hide behind the slogans of “women’s rights”, “reproductive freedom”, and “the right to privacy”.
And in some ways, Judy Nicastro’s husband is an even more despicable character. After all, he’s described as being “Catholic”. What kind of Catholic would acquiesce in his wife’s abortion? Whatever happened to Ephesians 5:22? I suspect that Nicastro’s husband either hasn’t set his foot in a church since his confirmation, or attends one of those “churches” where the sermon is about “social justice” and the “mass” is accompanied by guitar playing.
President Obama has made it clear that babies get in the way of big dreams.
Lucy just pulled the football away from Charlie Brown again. In the budget compromise that averted a government shutdown, it was the Republicans not the Democrats who blinked on the funding of Planned Parenthood, and it was the pro-lifers who look to the GOP and not the abortion supporters who look to the Democrats who were disappointned. After the compromise, as before, hundreds of millions of tax dollars will continue to flow into the coffers of an organization that kills hundreds of thousands of unborn children each year and whose founder famously said, “The most merciful thing a family does for one of its infant members is to kill it.”
The debate leading up to the compromise provided another reminder of why Roe v. Wade has not been overturned. Richard Scaife, a long-time donor to the GOP and conservative causes, took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal to gush about how his grandmother knew Margaret Sanger and how wonderful Planned Parenthood is. In Scaife’s world, government spending is okay when the money is spent on Planned Parenthood. There are lots of old money families with histories similar to Scaife’s, as Republican leaders well know, since many of those families are their own. The Bushes, like the Scaifes, were early supporters of Planned Parenthood, and Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, and Laura Bush all remain supporters of abortion.
Republicans such as Scaife and Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, and Laura Bush can tolerate pro-life rhetoric and the occasional law dealing with the margins of the abortion issue, but the overturning of Roe v. Wade would provoke a civil war in the upper reaches of the GOP, which is one reason why that infamous decision has not been overturned, even though Republican presidents have appointed a majority of all Supreme Court justices since it was handed down in 1973. Indeed, thanks to Warren Rudman’s memoirs, we now know that George H.W. Bush appointed David Souter to the Supreme Court knowing full well that Souter was a supporter of Roe v. Wade.
Politically, Roe v. Wade has been a tremendous boon to the national GOP. For decades, millions of pro-lifers have reliably voted for Republican presidential candidates on the basis of the pro-life issue, even though many of those voters might favor the Democrats on economic issues. If Roe v. Wade were overturned, the abortion issue would become a state issue, and many pro-life voters would again feel free to consider Democratic candidates for national office. Until Charlie Brown realizes the game Lucy is playing, there is no reason to expect that Roe v. Wade will be overturned or that the GOP as a whole (with many obvious and honorable exceptions) will stand by its stated pro-life beliefs when it matters.
In late February, in the midst of the uproar over Live Action’s exposé of Planned Parenthood, I wrote a piece about the controversy for the About.com Catholicism GuideSite. The piece argued that, whatever good intentions Lila Rose and her comrades at Live Action may have had, they stepped over the line, and their tactics could not be justified under Catholic moral theology. But now, five or six weeks later, I’m beginning to have second thoughts.
If the state is to protect life at any cost, doesn’t this imply a financial obligation to preserve the life of any child, no matter how deformed or hopeless, no matter what it takes? That means a considerable outlay of tax money, and in parallel cases, when the state assumes the burden, it also lays down the law. The routine justification for anti-smoking laws and seatbelt regulations is the cost imposed on the public. It does not take too much imagination to foresee the time when couples will have to submit to genetic screening if they wish to receive a permit to conceive. Couples who defied the law would be compelled to abort the illegal (and therefore rightless) child.
It is hard to see that much good has ever come from any of the various declarations of the rights of man. Such a declaration did not save the French from either Robespierre or Napoleon, and the constitution of the defunct USSR practically glows with liberal enthusiasm for human rights.
Abortion As Self-Denial: In a rationalist system of ethics, every basic principle must be stated in universal terms in which “I” am denied a privileged perspective. I may not, for example, make rules that apply to everyone but me–only the Congress of the United States is free to do that. If I advocate an unrestricted right to abortion, then, it must include my mother’s right to have aborted me for whatever reason she chose.