The tragedy of abortion absolutism and how the pro-life movement can respond

Demonstrators who support legal abortion gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court during the 46th annual March for Life Jan. 18 in Washington. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz) 

The stark reality of abortion entered public consciousness this week to a degree not seen in years. Americans were just beginning to understand how radical New York’s Reproductive Health Act, passed on Jan. 22, really was. At the same time, a Virginia state delegate acknowledged, during a legislative hearing, that the bill she had proposed to loosen regulation of late-term abortions would in fact allow abortion up until the moment of delivery. The governor of Virginia, himself a pediatric neurosurgeon, addressed the same issue on a radio show. He explained that it was more likely that such a case, involving a baby with severe deformities or who was expected to be nonviable, would result in a delivery but that the child would only be resuscitated if the mother and family desired. His clinical discussion of choosing to allow an infant to die shocked many. And while it did not attract as much attention, the governor of Rhode Island vowed to sign a similar bill in her state.

As we pointed out earlier this month, with Roe v. Wade under potential threat at the Supreme Court, pro-choice activists are pushing to have its effects codified into state law—and sometimes trying to expand access to abortion at the same time. This challenge calls for careful discernment from the pro-life movement. The fact that some consciences are being woken to recognize the tragedy of abortion is an opportunity for pro-lifers to broaden the circle of those who are willing to support pregnant women and be concerned for unborn children.

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Here are three ways to engage this challenge constructively:

First, take great care to be clear, accurate and fair in describing the bad effects of these laws. They are shocking enough without any exaggeration. Also, veterans of pro-life work are not surprised that the controversies over these laws are already being described in terms of “attacks” on the politicians arguing for them. While there is no easy way to achieve fair media coverage of the moral concerns about abortion, it is still important to do what is possible to avoid the most predictable media bias. Some commentators immediately equated the Virginia governor’s remarks to “infanticide,” which the governor described as a bad-faith interpretation—and that allowed the news cycle to turn to parsing the criticism of the governor rather than keeping the focus on the moral question.

Second, be proactive about acknowledging and engaging the best possible motives behind even these very bad laws and resist the temptation to demonize those who support them. Many pro-choice advocates point out—accurately—that the late-term abortions to which these laws expand access are rare and usually connected to tragic diagnoses of fetal abnormality, maternal risk or the expectation that a child will die shortly after birth. Instead of relying solely on blunt, accurate descriptions of the violence of late-term abortions, pro-lifers should give even more emphasis to compassionate care for both mother and child in these terrible circumstances. Options such as perinatal hospice, which provides support and care for the mother, infant and family in situations where a child is expected to die before or shortly after birth, should be much better known. Efforts need to be made to guarantee that they are presented as part of the standard of care and resourced well enough to be available wherever needed. Too often, silence about these possibilities leads to the false choice between late-term abortion and “forcing” a mother to give birth.

Third, legislative efforts to defeat and reverse these laws should be paired with opportunities to reach across the aisle and work for reforms that will help expectant parents and make it easier for them to choose to bring their children into the world. This is not a retreat from the effort to protect unborn children in law—it is a recognition that pro-lifers should be willing to use every practical means to support and defend the dignity of life. If legal limits on abortion are connected to increases in support for parental leave and protections against pregnancy discrimination, they can potentially attract a much wider base of support. Such an approach is not only a chance for real policy improvements, but also a potential opening to win minds and hearts to recognize the value of every human life at all stages of development.

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Nora Bolcon
9 months 2 weeks ago

Again - where are the facts? hmm America where are they?

If You want to help parents choose to abort less, you need to add to your list of mother care and parental leave extensions the more expensive items that matter the most: universal health care for all, funding for free and easily accessed quality birth control, and tax paid public quality daycare for all. I know you have not put these on the list because we all know Republicans and most so called Pro-Lifers would never vote these things in to save a billion unborn children. This is true even though their fiendish opponents on the Pro-choice side of the fence, many would be willing to be taxed for these things and in order to lessen abortions being sought.

Again - the facts about abortion are that the U.S. (only while we have Roe v. Wade protections intact) and Western and Northern Europe, while they continue with their fairly easy access to abortion and free, easily accessed birth control, have the lowest abortion rates in the world. Meanwhile the countries with the strictest laws against abortion have the highest rates of abortion and maternal death rates in the world and this is not a coincidence. The church hierarchy has been well aware of this for over a decade and still refuses to make a different choice on how to fight abortion, proving our hierarchy does not really care about the lives of the unborn or lives of women but merely desires to control women's lives through laws that have been proven to be globally deadly to both the unborn and the born alike.

Facts about abortion: ( Thank God for Cut and Paste)

From Guttmacher: Abortion and Birth Control Stats.
(Notes from my other research on this topic - bottom)
REGIONAL INCIDENCE AND TRENDS:
• The highest annual rate of abortion in 2010–2014 was in the Caribbean, estimated at 59 per 1,000 women of childbearing age, followed by South America, at 48.
The lowest rates were in Northern America, at 17, and Western and Northern Europe—at 16 and 18, respectively.
• Across regions, Eastern Europe experienced the largest decline in the abortion rate, from 88 in 1990–1994 to 42 in 2010–2014. Despite this decline, there is a persistent gap in rates between Eastern and Western Europe (42 vs. 16) likely reflecting lower use of effective, modern contraceptive methods in Eastern Europe.
• The overall abortion rate in Africa was 34 per 1,000 women in 2010–2014. Subregional rates ranged from 31 in Western Africa to 38 in Northern Africa. There has been little if any change in abortion rates in these subregions since 1990–1994.
• For Latin America, subregional abortion rates range from 33 in Central America to 48 in South America. Rates have increased slightly since 1990–1994, but not by statistically significant amounts.
• Abortion rates in Asia have also fallen since 1990–1994, although not significantly. Asia’s subregions all have rates close to the regional average of 36 per 1,000 women.
• Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. When countries are grouped according to the grounds under which the procedure is legal, the rate is 37 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age where it is prohibited altogether or allowed only to save a woman’s life, compared with 34 per 1,000 where it is available on request, a nonsignificant difference.
• High levels of unmet need for contraception help explain the prevalence of abortion in countries with restrictive abortion laws.

What I have researched from other appropriate sources agrees with Guttmacher but also indicates the below information on this subject:
The World Health Organization Research agrees with the Guttmacher Research. Their results are almost identical.
However, neither the W.H.O. or Guttmacher can give us a solid conclusion, due to lack of evidence, as to what happens when countries offer easy access to quality birth control but make their abortion laws stricter. This is due to the fact that most countries either are lenient on both issues or they are strict on access to both abortion and birth control.
We could make some confident speculation, based on the global evidence that does exist, that in countries, currently, where laws are strict for both abortion and birth control or where both are criminalized, that were these countries to loosen up laws on birth control access alone and not on abortion, the abortion rates would come down more, and likely closer to where the Western and developed nations are at. However, these countries are not necessarily or likely to get quite as low as the western, industrialized, countries since there does exist evidence that the mere difficulty of access to abortion alone lends, especially in certain cases, to higher abortion rates by itself.
Unfortunately, in the countries where the laws for abortion become much stricter than in the past, such as may exist in the U.S. for the future, the amount of abortions could increase quite a bit even if birth control access remains easy and free. One of the reasons this is true is due to the fact that, in these countries, many women who get pregnant in their later years, 40s or older, often now seek to get an amnio to see if their fetus is healthy. They can only get this during the late part of the 3rd month or beginning of the fourth month of their pregnancy. With stricter laws, some of these women may decide they don't want to take the chance the fetus is unhealthy or has downs syndrome, and instead may opt to get an early abortion thru more easily, anonymously obtained, although perhaps illegally obtained, abortion pills. These pills become not an option in later months, and testing would put women in a position to not be able to deny they are pregnant, publicly, if they wait, so this puts the women at risk they could be charged with a crime if abortion becomes illegal. (Please note: I am not suggesting this is right or moral or Christian behavior but only that the reality exist and I personally know quite a few women who would fit this category, today, in the U.S. despite anyone's opinions or beliefs)
A horrible side effect of the above situation is this: 50% of all downs fetuses naturally miscarry in the first trimester, and 40% that make it to the 2nd trimester miscarry then. Fetuses that have other severe health issues often miscarry, naturally, within the first three - four months of pregnancy as well. The amount of downs fetuses that become born infants are very small amounts even for older women. This illness is still quite rare overall. This means many women could end up aborting perfectly healthy fetuses, by the thousands, each year, or more, to avoid the possibility of having an unhealthy baby, and this number increases if women already have other children. One way some western countries avoid this issue is that they keep early abortions legal and allow later abortions into the 4th and 5th month if the fetus has tested unhealthy or the woman's life is in real danger if she remains pregnant. Many married older women think they aren't fertile when they still are and stop taking birth control.
Lastly, there is no existing evidence that easy access to abortions, even throughout pregnancy, equates to more abortions, in any country, that has free and easy access to birth control. In fact, countries with easy access to abortion and also free easy access to birth control have the lowest rates in the world, and these rates lower even more when those countries offer mandated longer paid maternity/paternity leaves, free quality universal health care, and free, quality, public daycare. (The only exception to this seems to be Sweden. Despite Sweden's similarly ease of access to both abortion and birth control and it's offering many of the benefits listed above that other Western European Countries offer, it still has quite a high abortion rate. However, there is no evidence suggesting that tightening Sweden's existing laws would lower its rate for abortion and doing so would likely only raise it even higher.)
The evidence we do have seems to indicate, on a global scale, that despite what seems reasonable in theory, i.e., harsh abortion laws will lower abortion rates, is completely false when put to the test in reality. It just may be that easy access to abortion, and lenient abortion laws, help more to reduce abortion rates than having strict laws against abortion, in any country. Perhaps some morality issues simply cannot be solved by force or threat but must instead be dealt with by respecting the situation of the people involved and helping them out of their place of fear or desperation, with physical and material protections and emotional and spiritual support. We could do much more perhaps by encouraging a choice for good, and for life, without attempting to control women. We could choose to help women in real ways, instead of trying to corner them into doing the Christian thing.

Jose A
9 months 2 weeks ago

It's not figures that lie, it is liars who figure.

Nora Bolcon
9 months 2 weeks ago

Thanks Jose - for the typical, emotional, nonsensical, irrational response I have come to expect as the normal Pro-Life reaction to reality based evidence on the issue of abortion.

Michael Burke
9 months 2 weeks ago

good God, what is your point?
France has 1/4 our abortions, it requires a tribunal after8 weeks
zero late abortions

second it is most important to save souls, ' corner them' huh?
as lawful abortion can seem acceptable to the young, thus it is
if itself a scandal. it is a law anathema to God, sin is one thing but making sin lawful another.
doing charity is required of course, but correcting the evil is also required
" how can anthing be unlawful, if a mother can kill her child legally" mither teresa
stop aborting , demand help with your pregnancy if u need help
those demands will b answered by a God who loves righteous anger

Jim Lein
9 months 2 weeks ago

Men stopping contributing to unwanted or problem pregnancies is the best way to reduce, or in theory eliminate, abortions. Men are the cause of such pregnancies and some men also pressure the woman to have an abortion. We need to clean up our act before we can push for a law change.

Nora Bolcon
9 months 1 week ago

That is not true. You can have an abortion at almost any time in France if a doctor states it is necessary for the womens health.

J Jones
9 months 2 weeks ago

In 2015 (four years ago), in New York City, the average annual cost of daycare for one child was $16,000. Ask most conservative Republican pro-lifers to vote for universal tax-funded daycare and, once the screaming stops, the response will be "That is socialism. Why should I pay for somebody else's kid? ****I***** didn't have a kid I can't afford. "

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nydailynews.com/new-york/average-cost-daycare-nyc-tops-16k-article-1.2428709%3foutputType=amp

Jose A
9 months 2 weeks ago

Let's just throw more figures at the problem that will remove the crime. I think I have seen this before. it has a liberal ring to it.

J Jones
9 months 2 weeks ago

Jose, you missed the second half.

KATHERIN MARSH
9 months 1 week ago

Nora:
Wanted to read the Research Study backing the data you posted as "cut and paste" from Guttmacher. I cannot find it at Guttmacher. Would you please post the link to the Research behind your data?
I find it compelling for two reasons: You data seems to say that legalized abortion has been successful in reducing abortions. Conversely, the data as you have it here, also seems to say that ProLife has been successful in reducing abortions. It also seems to say that the number of abortions in the US, where abortion is now legal, equals the number os abortions in the US before abortion was legal. I would like more information about the study itself; the facts behind the data.
Thanks

Nora Bolcon
9 months 1 week ago

Hi katherine,

Hopefully I am not too late in responding back to you.
My comment does not state that pro life also helps to reduce abortion numbers any where with its stand on trying to illegalize abortion but only when it teaches and reminds women that pregnancy is about another life when In countries that allow abortion. Currently I am writing thru my phone so looking for links right now is not easy but I will try later. however, you should not have a problem finding this info on Guttmacher site. I merely googled do abortion laws lower abortion rates and the site was offered automatically. Guttmacher site is where I got that info and it is almost identical to the world health orgs site on abortion stats. So you can try that site too

Also you are correct as of last year it is has been written up in several articles that we believe due to the better access to quality birth control in the US due to Obamacare changes in the law we are now down to the abortion rate we believed we were at before abortion was legalized and possibly lower than that since illegal abortions in our history were most likely not always recorded. Unfortunately some states are trying to make access to both free birth control and abortion much harder now and in some of those states we have begun to see an increase in self aborting which could be a pre cursor to those states perhaps seeing arise in abortions in the future.

karen oconnell
9 months 2 weeks ago

movements such as these should not be considered '''pro-life.'' they are NOT pro-life. they are ANTI-abortion.!!!! to be pro-life is to be more integrated into the complexities...and the tragedies of life. it is an 'insult' to those who are really ''pro-life''....

Dr Robert Dyson
9 months 2 weeks ago

Abortion may be legal, but it is not compulsory. It is entirely open to an individual to choose not to have a termination on conscientious grounds; it is NOT open to an individual to prescribe for other individuals what they may and may not choose to do. Pro-lifers should perhaps reflect on this.

karen oconnell
9 months 2 weeks ago

but ..but... we do that all the time!!! our prisons...our laws are filled with citizens who are there because they 'did what we did not want them to do. i do agree with you that abortion is not (yet) compulsory.... no one is (yet) forced to have one due to a collective will.

Bev Ceccanti
9 months 1 week ago

Robert Dyson :A Doctor? Really? So how do you leave the other human being out of the equation? So much for the Hippocratic oath I guess. Infanticide ok too? Good for you Doc!

Mike Macrie
9 months 2 weeks ago

The last section of the article in providing real support ( Financial and Law Protections) for Mother and Child will definitely increase public support for Pro Life. But don’t expect Republican support for any increase benefits Including welfare that results in tax increases.

Tim O'Leary
9 months 2 weeks ago

While I agree we should be accurate in the interpretation of the effects of the changes to the law, I cannot see that we will ever be able to change hearts and minds by reacting like this is a debating club and not describing the true horror that is going on and the severe injustice that these legal campaigns are generating. Would the Editors ever take such a stance on immigration, if thousands were being killed on the border every year, and politicians were now proposing stationing machine guns at entry gates and their legal allies were removing them from the definition of personhood? They seem like the Free Soil Party that tried to find a middle ground between the slaverholders and the abolitionists. Their strategy did not work. We needed the strong language of MLK Jr. or Lincoln to move the majority from their usual moral slumber. Wasn't the problem in pre-war Germany that many (including the Church) tried to accommodate and adjust to the increasingly fierce laws being introduced against all but supposed Aryans.

Beyond the sheer moral injustice of it all for the unborn, there are the millions facing a very bad judgment day ("whatever you did for the least.."). I know the Church is well aware of the great evil of abortion. It is in its Catechisms and Canon law and doctrinal statements in severe language. It is spoken out about by Pope and Bishop and priest. But, the Church has grown lax in its implementation of its teaching and by this neglect is putting millions of souls in eternal jeopardy by not excommunicating every politician and practitioner and not teaching forcefully enough. There are millions of Americans going to Judgment Day with an unrepentant murder or two or hundreds in their past. They are facing a terrible eternity.

Colin Jory
9 months 2 weeks ago

You are ever so right, Tim O'Leary, in your comment, "I cannot see that we will ever be able to change hearts and minds by reacting like this is a debating club". Alas, very many pro-life activists, without realising it, make "benignity" an absolute, and effectiveness against abortion relative to that. That is to say, even if it dawns on them that "being benign" means being ignored as innocuous, and thus being totally ineffective, they will not change. They regard any speech or action which makes women who have aborted their unborn; who want to have the option to do so because of their sexual life-styles; or who are active pro-abortionists, feel uncomfortable as unthinkable. Alas, the editors of America in their above three-point counsel against "pro-life absolutism" seem to show this very mind-set. Their three points amount to nothing more than niceness-posturing, and would certainly be endorsed by Planned Parenthood as excellent guidelines for the pro-Life cause as constituting inducements to pro-Lifers to imprison themselves within their own comfort zones where they can be ever-so-nice, harmless, and utterly ineffectual.

KATHERIN MARSH
9 months 1 week ago

Tim:
Teaching our doctrine this way: "there are millions facing a very bad judgment day" is ineffective.
I do, however, believe this Church does effective catechesis when she tells us "practicing" Catholics that we must provide healthcare, food, nurturing, education, clothing, shelter, for the pregnant woman and her baby; perhaps for the whole of their lives. When WE do not do that then we face the consequences of a very bad judgment day.

Tim O'Leary
9 months 1 week ago

Katherin - Jesus said much harsher things regarding injury to the least among us and implied billions and not millions face a bad Judgment Day when He said ""Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." (Mt 7:13). It is He you should listen to. I fully agree we have an obligation to both mother and child, but not killing either is the beginning of all obligations.

Judith Jordan
9 months 1 week ago

What did Jesus specifically say about abortion?

Tim O'Leary
9 months 1 week ago

Judith - In the Gospels, Jesus nowhere specifically condemns killing at any age (he mentioned murder twice: Mt 5:21 & Mt 26:22) but no one uses that to try to argue for the removal of laws against murder. He does teach that crimes against the innocent little ones are some of the worse, and the Church has held from the very beginning that abortion is evil - e.g. the Didache “you shall not abort a child or commit infanticide.” Now, the Democrat governors in NY and Virginia are working on the second prohibition. Do you remember Barbara Boxer's response to Rick Santorum's question in 2010: "“You agree, once a child is born, is separated from the mother, that that child is protected by the Constitution and cannot be killed? Do you agree with that?” Boxer responded: “I think when you bring your baby home, when your baby is born … the baby belongs to your family and has all the rights." (2010 link below)
http://www.ncregister.com/blog/danielle-bean/barbara-boxer-pro-choice-until-you-bring-baby-home

Dolores Pap
9 months 2 weeks ago

Roe vs Wade has been part of our culture for almost 50 years, and therefore ALL women of childbearing age know that the law allows them to avail themselves of this right IF they so choose. If anyone thinks that women will just watch and silently aquiesce to having those rights reversed, I have news for you.It won't happen. We will not stand by and have our sisters be delivered into the hands of back alley abortionists as was the norm 50 years ago. Are you o.k. with women dying?
Not everyone has a religious belief system, and not everyone believes that abortions are 'evil, or sinful, and must be done away with.
We all have a right to our opinions, and we all have a right to bodily autonomy, and that includes abortion rights. There is nobody out there that would force a woman to undergo an abortion, so best to leave it up to a woman to make the decision that is best for her.
Re NY's new Reproductive Rights Law.Did you know, that the state of New York requires that every hospital have an ethics board - and that EVERY single late term abortion has to be approved by a committee to make sure that the abortion IS medically necessary to save the life of the mother or that the fetus' medical diagnosis is incompatible with life ?

Brien Doyle
9 months 2 weeks ago

Your body = your choice!
Not your body? NOT your choice!!

[don't dictate to others about that which is none of your business....]

Patrick Murtha
9 months 2 weeks ago

Slogans are lies colds, catching. Let us follow, however, your slogan and test the logic of it.

If it is "your body, your choice," why is suicide, by common consensus, considered tragic? Why should we weep or mourn for a choice a person made? Why do we set up hot-lines to prevent a person from making that choice? (Should we not close down the hotlines as they are intruding in another person's business?

In the matter of pregnancy, let us look at this matter of "your body, your choice," is the embryo or the fetus or the infant really part of the woman's body? Though the embryo or the fetus or the infant is connected to the woman and reliant upon her for life, is it not, however, a separate and distinct body with a separate and distinct life? It would seem so since the personages are different. If they are one and the same, then a woman with a female in her womb would be considered a double woman for there are two beings with two distinct sexes and two distinct body parts, two heads, two hearts. Or if she were to be carrying a male, what does she become then? Both nature and the law understands the two as distinct though connected for a period of time as the fetus or embryo or infant develops. If the two are distinct, then the woman has no right to choose to kill what is not herself.

Furthermore, this silly slogan is individualistic in its approach. It assumes that the actions of an individual do not have an impact on the society. Yet, this individualism is rejected in taxation, in speeding, in stopping at stop-signs, in prostitution, in education, and many other goods and ills that beset mankind. A man or woman who choose to kill an infant in the womb prevents the larger growth of society and impacts the development of society. We say that the state has a right to make sure people are educated or follow traffic laws, etc., for the good of order in society, so also would the state have a right--and does have the right and responsibility--to protect the life of its future, which is its children.

All of this is merely on the natural level, it says nothing of the more important point, that God alone has the right over life and death. He grants authority to the state to execute those who are fatally detrimental to society. An infant in the womb has done no evil, and therefore, cannot be executed by lethal injection or any other form. His life rests in the hands of God, and man must do whatever he can to protect that life.

Andrew Strada
9 months 2 weeks ago

Would you support the right of a woman to sell one of her kidneys to the highest bidder, since she could likely survive quite well with one kidney? Or to offer to spend the night with a total stranger for $500?

Crystal Watson
9 months 2 weeks ago

What's wrong with selling a kidney?

Andrew Strada
9 months 2 weeks ago

Under the federal National Organ Transplant Act of 1984 (NOTA) -- found in Title 42, section 274e of the U.S. Code -- anyone convicted of buying or selling human organs in the United States faces a five-year prison sentence and/or a fine of up to $50,000.

Crystal Watson
9 months 2 weeks ago

I had no idea.

Nora Bolcon
9 months 2 weeks ago

I am not sure who you are asking this of but I would support the right for a woman or a man to prostitute themselves if they wanted to and allow people to sell their kidneys to the highest bidder if real evidence didnt show that allowing these crimes increases the amount of abuse towards those who make these choices.

In the case of abortion, the opposite is true. In every country of the world where abortion is legal less women get them, they are done safely, and less women die and also less unborn lives are ended.

This is why this issue should be a no-brainer. Why support laws you know will only increase what you claim you want ended unless revenge or the control of a certain group is the real reason for supporting the law?

Scott Cooper
9 months 2 weeks ago

Because, Ms. Bolcon, it is the right thing to do. The figures and facts that you and others who support legal abortion have presented here are not arguments for abortion—they are rationalizations and justifications for it, for the good that can come of it and the suffering that will surely come if we do not, as a society, maintain the status quo. Slavery is the perfect example of this type of justification for a practice that any just, and that does not mean theocratic or religious, society finds abhorrently unjust. But slavery supporters at all times, not just in our recent past here in the US, have also used justification and rationalization like you and some others have done here. And, true, there are benefits to be derived from keeping abortion legal and easily accessible—less unwanted pregnancies, less future criminals on the streets, less deadly back alley abortions, less poor children for society to support, more freedom for women to live their lives on an equal level with men once unburdened from an unwanted pregnancy and child rearing, less disabled and defective humans for families and societies to support (and less threat that they will reproduce and spread their defective genes), and even more I’m sure when one looks to the evidence presented by the Guttmacher Institute, the WHO, and the United Nations. The same can be said for legal slavery, whether in the past or present, whether for labor or for sexual purposes—the creation of wealth for those engaged in the slave trade that in turn can be taxed by the state for the benefit of society, a greater quality of life for slaveholders and their families, essentially free unskilled labor that allows non-slaves access to skilled and higher paying jobs, freedom from the insatiable lust and constant demands for sex from male partners for non-slave women since sex slaves are easily had for those purposes, freedom from having to raise and care for your children since slaves can be used for that, better scientific and medical research since mice can be replaced with human salves for experiments, and, best of all, control of the birthrates of your slave population through forced, but legal, sterilization and abortion procedures, along with selective breeding techniques for good measure.
But much like just and moral (not necessarily Christian or even religious) people once condemned, and continue to condemn, and outlawed slavery, so too should a just and moral people and nation, especially one that has brought freedom and liberty to its highest point in the history of mankind, condemn and outlaw abortion because, like slavery, it is unequivocally a horrific injustice for those separate and individual human beings who find themselves subjugated by others to its evils. Slavery and abortion are twin anathemas to our American ideals and deny our basic human and inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And just as legal slavery did, legal abortion, despite the numerous benefits that might be derived from it by certain people and even our society as a whole, cheapens those ideals and they become only that—ideals, they are not rights if they are not shared equally by all human beings in the society, whether they be black or white, female or male, born or unborn.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I was the product of an extramarital affair and was given up for adoption through the Catholic Church in 1963, ten years before the “right” granted under the Roe v Wade decision, so I was fortunate that I benefited from those inalienable rights, unlike the millions of my human brothers and sisters (many of whom were bastards just like me I’m sure) who were not so lucky and whose rights were stripped from them along with their lives and limbs.
A law to protect that from continuing to happen is just the right thing to do.
Just as we learned, through much blood and suffering that still continues in some ways to this day, that slavery must be abolished once and for all, so too do we need to learn and we need to wake up and abolish our society’s support for abortion.
The reason is pure and simple—it is the right thing to do.

Crystal Watson
9 months 2 weeks ago

You don't seem to understand that we are not making arguments for abortion. We are making arguments for women's bodily autonomy and their right to decide what to do about their own pregnancy, a right decided by the Supreme Court. Arguing for that freedom to make your own health care decisions *is* the right thing to do.

Scott Cooper
9 months 1 week ago

Ms. Watson, with all due respect, it’s not a right; the decision was based on the very vague concept of a “right to privacy” and didn’t legalize abortion (therefore, overturning Roe v Wade, which could only happen after a legal challenge to it that the SCOTUS agrees to hear, does not make it automatically illegal across the land), but instead took away the rights of citizens through their elected representatives to determine the laws around abortion for their particular state.
It is a federal power grab never intended in the US Constitution.
Look at the charter of the UN and you will find language that guarantees the right to life for all human beings regardless of race, sex, nationality, religion, etc.
A fetus, child, baby, zygote, clump of cells (whatever you choose to call it) is a distinct human being—not an appendage, organ, tumor, parasite, or other entity that falls under another human beings bodily autonomy, no matter how expedient that would make things for those who favor legal abortion.
So, please be honest; it is an argument for abortion.

Judith Jordan
9 months 1 week ago

Scott Cooper...
The U N does not deny access to legal, safe abortions. Below is a link to the U. N. In the last few months, the General Assembly of the U N voted overwhelmingly…again… for health care for women including reproductive health care. The Trump administration opposed this as it feels it supports abortion. The U. S. is also rolling back protection of women from sexual harassment.

International health experts said not supporting these resolutions causes the following: “It is a real harm to the health and rights of individuals, families, and communities and undermines the prevention and treatment of HIV as well as the avoidance of maternal deaths and unwanted pregnancies.”

The U. S. also frequently opposes birth control calling it abortion, even when science disagrees with this. The Trump administration’s positions have “…driven a wedge between the United States and its Western partners from Europe to Latin America, drawing it closer to more socially conservative countries, including Russia and Saudi Arabia.”

How many people on this page would be willing to place their daughters’ health care in the hands of Saudi Arabia?

The pro-birth people’s positions have caused enormous numbers of women throughout the world to live in very poor health or to die, particularly in poor countries. Many of these dead women leave children without a mother.

The morality of Trump's positions are not self-evident.

https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/09/1021332

Lisa M
9 months 2 weeks ago

Scott-so well said!!! There is no getting around it, if we don't respect life at it's core, we are no different than the slave traders, no different at all. Your personal story reminds us all of the importance of life, and the tragedy of today's so called solution to imperfect circumstances.

Scott Cooper
9 months 1 week ago

Thank you Lisa for the support, it is greatly appreciated. All dehumanizing acts are to be fought against by we followers of the Way. How can we perfect ourselves by truly loving one another as God intended and for which Christ gave up his very human life? The only consolation we can take from this drive to death by our fellow citizens (and look how it is accelerating in VA, RI, and more states to follow) is that those souls and young lives snuffed out by abortion truly rest in the Peace of Jesus Christ. I often feel sorry for our fellow pro-lifers who are atheists who have no hope like this as we do. For them, it is a tragedy that has no end and a continually unjust nightmare of human suffering. God bless you and your loved ones and keep fighting the good fight.

Nora Bolcon
9 months 1 week ago

Well by that irrational argument we should jail all adulterers because their betrayal can lead to desperate abortions by women later on. Just because it is the right thing to do. We should also jail any person who is not willing to donate one of their organs to save another person's life because it is the right thing to do. Or jail anyone who does not donate their blood a certain amount of times each year because a person's life may depend on that blood because it is the right thing to do. Funny thing is we don't support these laws. For the record God nor Jesus ever led anyone to believe that the unborn have more value than the born or that they should be given rights to control the bodies of others for any reason. God put the tree of knowledge in the garden of Eden to secure Adam and Eve's right to choose what they will do with their bodies.

Making laws that knowingly will increase abortion and maternal death rates is idiotic as much as it is immoral. That is not just reason based statement, it is an ethical and moral based statement.

Dominic Deus
9 months 2 weeks ago

Dominic Deus here--

From "the editors?" Yes, it reads like a document written by a committee. I should probably stop right there since that is sufficient insult for a Jesuit magazine but that's not the point--just as nothing in the editorial is the point. Pablum is pointless and for good reason when we spoon feed it to infants.

This subject matter is different entirely. It is tough meat that requires chewing, patience and discernment on when to swallow. The Church has avoided even the suggestion that the faithful can handle more than baby food and now America agrees! What a victory for editorial journalism.

The fact is that these state laws are the natural evolution of no quarter politics by Republicans who make it politically and religiously clear there is no possible compromise and the issue is not even abortion but, rather, a "stand your ground" self-righteousness that values neither life, nor choice, nor accommodation nor moderation. Seeing and saying the Solomonic decision in Roe v. Wade was and is Satanic, the right has set the stage for confrontation and the natural response of the left is to legislate with the same ferocity as its natural enemies: states righters, misogynists, castle defenders, racists and xenophobes.

It didn't have to be this way. There is, or at least was, plenty of middle ground between late third trimester abortion and early first trimester incompatible-with-life defects. There is plenty to agree upon regarding responsible sexual behavior and reliable contraception. There are many good reasons why men should consider listening to women rather than talking at them regarding reproductive health. There may yet be time for the Church to abandon paternal attitudes toward women and endorse their empowerment, including the control of their own fertility and sexuality.

Frankly, this has become an instance where direct democracy, crude and intemperate though it can be (e.g. the election of Donald Trump) needs rule for a while. Let people to do what they will and see how women do with that. I predict, better than their legislators and better than the Church.

Dominic

Rhett Segall
9 months 2 weeks ago

America's three point program in fighting for the unborn is persuasive. Yet for me the elephant in the room is the fact that Catholics and other Christians are as likely as non-Christians to have abortions and to back its legalization, or at least not work against its legalization. My question is: Why has Christian leadership and those Christians who recognize abortions wrongness, been ineffective in persuading the Christian community to both stop aborting and to work against its institutionalization? How can we expect to awaken the broader community if we can't persuade our own?

mark scibilia-carver
9 months 2 weeks ago

One reason is that our bishops are really only "pro-life" regarding unborn babies in the US. The fact that mass abortions and extreme forms of child abuse are an inevitable consequence of modern war means many Catholics and bishops are implicated in supporting abortion, as well as Gov. Cuomo. In war, mothers don’t choose abortion, they are killed with their unborn babies. Hard to imagine a greater scandal to the Gospel of Life! Catholics plan and order killing in war, make and profit from weapons of war and do the killing. Bishops have supported our wars and praised soldiers for their war making at their military funerals. They have even likened a soldier’s sacrifice to that of Jesus as documented at www.thecatholiccostofwar.org. It would be hard to know where to stop excommunicating all the Catholics who deserve it as much as Gov. Cuomo.

Better to begin a new evangelization with the understanding of Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa OFM Cap, Preacher to the Papal Household since 1980. He said, “The Eucharist is the sacrament of nonviolence!...God’s absolute “no” to violence..” If Andrew Cuomo had been raised in a Church that consistently emphasized the truth of Jesus’ nonviolence, perhaps he would not have sided with those who deny or favor the violence of abortion. When our bishops teach against abortion and war with consistency, it will be much less confusing and easier to accept their authority, though none be excommunicated.

Bonnie Weissman
9 months 2 weeks ago

I am Pro Life and not just Pro Birth. Better policies on maternity leave and family planning would go a long way to lowering the numbers of abortions dramatically. My older girl, a mom of three boys, is a partner in a law firm in our city and a happy mom of three little boys. She lobbied the other partners in her firm to raise the paid maternity leave from two to three months, and promoted the idea as a way of competing for more of the better female talent coming out of law schools. She was successful in her efforts. Her boss however, sent her a scathing email about rewarding those who sit on their posteriors for three months over "a lifestyle decision" (AKA an infant). Until we reform these attitudes and policies in our society, many women will still see abortion as a way out of being starving and jobless.

Andrew Strada
9 months 2 weeks ago

As Robert Frost once said, "A liberal is a man too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel”.

The sophisticated and nuanced approach of your editors should finish off whatever remained of the antiabortion movement. Well, that and the demonization of the Covington Catholic high school students by the Kentucky bishops.

Paul Hierholzer
9 months 2 weeks ago

Then likewise, a conservative is too closed-minded to consider the other side.

J Jones
9 months 2 weeks ago

Here is their point, Andrew: daycare for a single child in NYC in 2015 cost, on average, $16,000 a year. Ask most conservative/Republican pro-lifers to support universal tax-funded daycare and, after the screaming stops, you will hear thus: "I didn't have any kids I couldn't support. Why is this MY problem? People shouldn't have kids they can't afford and then expect everyone else to shell out THEIR hard earned money."

THAT is their point.

Tim O'Leary
9 months 1 week ago

Brookbank - these economic arguments are crass and beneath you. Imagine making an argument for maintaining slavery because of the economic benefits to the society or the slaveholder? How can you say a child is better off dead or shouldn't be legally protected if a government can't or won't pay for daycare? What woman who is not a beast makes a decision to kill her child for money? It is only abortionists like PP who do that.

J Jones
9 months 1 week ago

Your response is exactly what the editors discouraged. Effective problem-solving begins with acknowledging and then eliminating reality-based contributing factors. It is not reality that only "beasts" choose abortion rather poverty with all of its lifetime and detrimental impacts on infant mortality and children's physical health, mental health, housing, education, on and on and on. Ask any priest or Catholic sister. Money on it that most know faithful Catholic families and individuals who have chosen to abort a pregnancy because they could not support a(nother) child.

Tim O'Leary
9 months 1 week ago

Brookbank - The problem with the Jesuit editors and many Catholics today is they have become complacent about the killing, even though they know it is horrible and evil. This is part of human nature, just as many clergy accommodated themselves to slavery in the South and are judged more harshly today. Killing for financial gain is always monstrous, even if the mother involved doesn't see it that way. When I went to Auschwitz, I saw rooms full of hair and bags and shoes, gathered to make money on the mass killings. Some Planned Parenthood employees sought to sell fetal parts for "medical research." So, I know there can be an even more evil financial motives. The new laws in NY and Virginia remove even a legal obligation to give medical attention to a breathing child inadvertently born by a late-term abortion procedure. This is fully supported by PP and NARAL. It shows the motive is not only to end a pregnancy but to have the power of life and death over another human being.

J Jones
9 months 1 week ago

Tim, my goodness. Do you remember the response you routinely received to your false equivalencies, willful misreads, manipulations of statistics, your most hyperbolic and compassionless statements about the gay community? You were met with deaf ears over and over again. You seemed to have learned nothing from that.

It is juvenile nonsense to claim -----whenever you hear that family economics are part of the discussion about a new pregnancy IN MOST HOUSEHOLDS and most particularly in households already living in or near statistical poverty ------- that women abort pregnancies "for money".

Tim O'Leary
9 months 1 week ago

Brookbank - it is ridiculous and futile to bring back your own previous mischaracterizations and false claims as substantiating evidence for your same position now - like patting your own back for the excellence of your past comments. Has this ever worked for you before? Furthermore, I see nothing juvenile about examining the money motive behind crimes, even when it is unseemly. By the way, In 2017, Planned Parenthood aborted 321,384 babies and got $543 million from taxpayers. Link below. Pope Francis denounced abortion as the “white glove” equivalent of the Nazi-era eugenics program and urged families to accept the children that God gives them. Link below. I suppose you want him to shut up about the Nazi comparison too.

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/planned-parenthood-aborted-321384-babies-last-year-got-543.7-million-from-t
https://www.apnews.com/e1f918b93bda4210b49c551d19c2415f

J Jones
9 months 1 week ago

Tim, my goodness. You do run amock.

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