Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Woman's "Right to Choose"

This last weekend was the annual pro-life weekend, marked by hundreds of marches and gatherings around the United States (and hopefully some in the rest of the world, too). This particular weekend was selected because January 22 marks the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. In fact, the Catholic Church declared January 22 to be a day of penance and prayer.

"In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life. The Mass "For Peace and Justice" (no. 22 of the "Masses for Various Needs") should be celebrated with violet vestments as an appropriate liturgical observance for this day."

-General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 373

Here in Cody, Wyoming, a group of 80-100 people took part in a pro-life march beginning at the courthouse and ending at the memorial to the unborn in the Cody cemetery, where we prayed for an end to abortion.

The Walk for Life in San Francisco, which I attended during my years at TAC, had over
50,000 attendees according to police estimates, a number far surpassing what they've had in previous years.

The March for Life in Washington, D.C., based on attendance in previous years, probably had 2 or 3 hundred thousand participants.

Abortion advocates often use nice-sounding phrases like "A woman's right to choose". I'm sure everyone thinks having choices is a good thing, and that women should have them no less than anybody else. But we don't have the "right" to choose just anything. I have no right to choose to shoot my neighbor for no reason. I have no right to choose to shoplift from the grocery store. And why is this? Because other people's rights also come into the equation in these situations, and their fundamental rights to life and to their own property are more important than my "right" to choose. If my choices impinge on other people's fundamental rights, then I do not have the right to make them. This is why laws exist which will put me in prison if I do make those choices.

This is the situation with abortion. The choice that abortion advocates speak of is the choice to kill one's own child. If one is willing to grant that the unborn child is, in fact, a human being, then obviously one has no right to choose to kill it, since as a human it has the fundamental right to life. This is why abortionists and organizations like Planned Parenthood refuse to refer to the unborn child as a person. They call it a fetus (extremely depersonalizing), or worse still, "just a bunch of cells." This way they can hide the fact that the choice of abortion is really just a choice to commit murder. (The ironic thing is that the same people who say "fetus" and "bunch of cells" when the woman wants an abortion will turn around and say "baby" or "child" when the woman is excited about the pregnancy. It's all rhetoric.)

Pro-life Democratic presidential candidate Randall Terry (who is planning to run against Obama in the primaries), said at yesterday's March for Life in D.C. that "Until America sees child-killing, we're not going to make child-killing illegal." The abortion advocates mentioned above are currently very successful in their rhetorical war against the personhood of the unborn child. When one can't see the baby, or see what abortion does to the baby, it's easy to forget that it IS a baby. This is why it's important that Americans actually see the reality of abortion. This is the goal of such groups as Show the Truth, who travel around with images of aborted babies. The Priests for Life website has an excellent photo gallery of unborn babies in the womb and of aborted babies at corresponding stages of development.

Of course, even before the baby looks recognizably like a baby, abortion is still murder. The humanity of the child doesn't depend on its looks or its ability to feel pain, or its ability to survive outside the womb. When the child is conceived - that is when it becomes a human. What else could it be? It is alive, and, possessing a genetic blueprint distinct from either of its parents, it is not just a part of the mother's body. To quote an article from the National Catholic Bioethics Center website, "Concerning the empirical facts of the argument, it is an empirical fact that there is no organic life on earth that is 'non-specific,' that is, that does not belong to any particular species. In other words, all organisms living on earth belong to a particular species (even bacteria). We just don't see unspecific, amorphous 'life forms' lying around. Therefore, the individual human embryo...is human."

On this 38th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, let us all join together to pray and fight for an end to the murdering of unborn children.


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