Tag Archive for ‘choice’
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 [...]