“The threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family and because of the number of lives destroyed…”
The US Catholic Bishops made the above statement in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. While they acknowledge that there are other very serious issues to deal with like racism and poverty, the evil of abortion should be placed ahead of most other social/political concerns.
Currently we have the second American Catholic as President of the United States. However, this President is very actively and substantially supportive of expanding abortion rights. This could lead to a great deal of confusion in the minds of American Catholics regarding being a faithful son or daughter of the Church and abortion.
Many books and articles have been written to articulate this view. But in these times, especially with many people in political office who are in favor of allowing the unborn to be killed, it is a good idea to reiterate why we stand with the unborn and why we prioritize them.
If there are so many evils in the world, why do we elevate the question of abortion?
Human life begins at conception. Supporters of abortion are quick to say that this is merely a religious belief. That is an attempt to marginalize the Pro-Life position to an idiosyncratic moral stance that is only for those who accept the faith. This relativizes it to something analogous to a Jehovah’s Witness refusing blood transfusions.
However, the question of when human life begins is one that can be answered by observation without religious beliefs. A unique individual comes into being when a person’s unique DNA strand comes into existence and is the active genetic force in its formation and development. This happens at conception.
If you accept the premise that human life begins at conception, then the intentional killing of that unborn life is, by definition, murder.
What makes abortion an absolute priority is that it is legalized murder.
Recognizing this does not diminish other important political issues, such as issues of race, poverty, immigration, taxation, etc. But all rational people should recognize that legalized murder is a much larger issue than any other.
Particularly, the unborn are the most innocent and the most defenseless. They have no one to speak for them if we do not. Others who are subjected to injustice may have opportunities to speak, to protest, to vote, and to influence the public discourse in order to receive their God-given rights. But the unborn need us to be their voice so that they can have their God-given right to live.
No candidate or political party is perfect. Most candidates for office will hold some positions that oppose the Church’s moral teaching. Someone could run for office who is against the death penalty, but could be for euthanasia. Real world politics is not always cut and dried, but is often complicated and messy. But even through all of this political fog, the consideration of where a candidate stands on the unborn should be paramount.
If we accept that some people should be legally murdered, then this devalues all life. To this day, there are strong movements in the Culture of Death (as Pope John Paul II called it) to accept other forms of murder like euthanasia. Stories like that of Charlie Gard remind us that human life, even outside the womb, is vulnerable to the forces that would de-person them.
As a reminder, Charlie Gard was a baby with a rare genetic disorder in a British Hospital. Charlie’s doctors decided that the baby should be taken off of life support and die. Charlie’s parents wanted to take their son to a specialist in another country to give him a chance. The hospital refused. The case was taken to court and the government sided with the doctors over the parents. Charlie was then removed from life support and died.
That case reminds us that we have gone from “my body, my choice,” to “your child must die because we say so.”
Even though this case took place in Britain, you can see the philosophy that led to Charlie’s death at play in this country. We live in a nation where a large portion of the country celebrates the murder of unborn babies. As long as that is the case, all innocent life is subject to this same devaluation.
It is true that overturning Roe v. Wade or outlawing abortion would not completely solve the problem. We have to win the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens to show them the value of unborn life. But this can never happen if we enshrine murder into our laws.
As Catholics, we must stand together against all of the injustices of our world.
But we must prioritize the unborn.
Copyright 2021, WL Grayson