Why Abortion is the Single Most Important Issue
By John Mallon
(The following was first published in The Observer of Boston College in October 1989 under the title "Abortion: The New Civil War." It was reprinted November 6, 1994 in The Sooner Catholic, the archdiocesan newspaper of Oklahoma City. Unfortunately in the year 2000 it is still current. Actually it is still current in the year 2020.)
As a lifelong Democrat I listened and watched the Democratic convention in 1988 in a state of painful frustration. I wanted to root for them. I wanted to be a part of it. But I could not. I wanted to join in the cheering at the rhetoric of Jesse Jackson and Michael Dukakis as they talked about the poor, the marginalized, the downtrodden and the disenfranchised. But I could not because of one glaring omission: the unborn. Who is more poor, marginalized, downtrodden and disenfranchised than an aborted infant? The rhetoric turned to pure hypocrisy when they began to speak about the infant mortality rate, and the right of a baby to be born and grow up to a good life of equality in this country. How could they say those things while advocating abortion in their platform? It was embarrassing to watch. Back then I had not been a big fan of Ronald Reagan but I could not help but identify with him when he said, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me!” The Democratic Party is not Democratic enough. At the 1992 Democratic convention hostility to the pro-life cause was undisguised.
Lamentably, there is not, at present, a morally ideal political party in the United States. I suppose there never was or will be. From left and right a depressing and overwhelming array of moral dilemmas are presented to the weary citizen. Whatever the good we vote for, it seems ten evils will come with it. One issue however, stands out as having the potential to divide this country as no other issue has since the Civil War. I am referring, of course, to abortion.
Of all that is wrong with abortion, one hears very little in the public debate about an extremely important consideration. That is, what the continued legality of abortion is doing and will do to us as a people. The greatest curse an individual or a nation can pull down on its head is to kill its own conscience. The Old Testament is rife with stories about how God’s people sold themselves into bondage and exile by turning their backs on the True God who saved them, and on His protective Law, in an effort to blend in with the pagan societies around them. Not insignificantly, the customs of these societies often required child sacrifice to the pagan gods. It is often said that the United States is no longer a Christian nation but a pagan one.
Our gods include convenience, expediency, wealth, status, how others perceive us, but above all, <the self.> We Americans have been sacrificing our children to the modern day version of these vain idols. The Prophets of old were wracked with agony and frustration because their people would not listen to the warnings that they were courting disaster if they did not turn back from their ways and return to Yahweh.
What befell the unrepentant and hard of heart was called the Wrath of God, or God’s punishment. Of course that language today is almost universally laughed at (as it was then). But let us try to define “the Wrath of God” in terms that can be understood (if not accepted) in a contemporary setting. Above I used an expression about “pulling a curse down upon one’s head”. That is a rewording of a maxim I heard throughout my childhood: “The worst punishment God can give is to take away your conscience.” A spiritually mature Christian often experiences, during periods of suffering and conversion, that most of his or her sufferings are the perfectly natural, obvious, and direct consequences of specific sinful ways accepted in defiance of God. It is not that God is inflicting arbitrary punishment on us, He is merely allowing us to reap the fruit we have sown, and taste its bitterness. What has traditionally been called God’s wrath is actually a grace and a mercy that should lead to a change. But with this insight comes the chilling knowledge that grace and mercy can be shunned. Perhaps a good voting guide for our country would be Ezekiel 22.
We are a nation that is killing its young by sacrificing them to vain idols. If this continues, what can our future hold? If the children are our future, the legacy of the unborn is an un-future. Some will argue that abortion is the law of the land, but so was slavery once the law of the land. It proved to be an illegitimate law. One human being does not have a “right” to “own” another human being. A woman’s “rights” over her own body do not extend over the body of the other human being in her womb. The question over whether it is, or when, it becomes a human being flies in the face of common sense.
Human beings give birth to human beings, not pineapples or giraffes, although it would be interesting to hear the outcry from certain circles if women gave birth to baby seals. While baby seals deserve not to be killed for mercenary reasons, they hold (or ought to hold) a somewhat different place in the scale of values than baby people.
As to when the child becomes a human being, any expectant couple in love can tell you how and when that life began and would have it no other way. They don’t affectionately pat Mom’s tummy and refer to a fetus. It’s their baby. The loving heart knows. It is the abortion mentality that must live in denial or risk going mad, but living in denial also does untold psychological damage. The only safe option is the acknowledgement of truth and the repentance which leads to healing.
So why is this the issue above all the other legitimate pro-life concerns? Even Cardinal Bernardin has been quoted as saying that his “seamless garment” teaching should not be used to downplay the importance of abortion. The threat of nuclear war is a very legitimate concern—less so now thank God than just a few years ago—but the concern for all the millions who might be killed in a nuclear war cannot match the urgency of concern for the millions of people who are being killed, and <have already> been killed by abortion. Besides, to an unborn child what is the difference between a nuclear war and abortion? It is serial holocaust, but not the work of one madman pushing a button, but of thousands of cool, calm professionals who drink their morning coffee and go to work and destroy children all day, every day, across the nation in violation of the Hippocratic oath. Which makes it all the more chilling in its very routiness. What must this do to the national psyche?
It is argued that homeless people are dying on our streets because money that could be spent helping them has gone for defense. But then, homeless people <can> be helped in the private sector, if we have love enough to try -- even if we have to take someone into our own home to keep them from freezing. As bad as the situation is, it is still not the direct, deliberate, and premeditated killing of someone as abortion is. But private citizens can get thrown in jail for trying to rescue those little ones.
It is astonishing that feminists are not at the forefront of the anti-abortion movement. The abortion mentality has opened women up to evil male exploitation in untold ways, not to mention the psycho-spiritual, physical, and emotional consequences that abortion brings on a woman. Psychiatrists have mentioned something called “Post-Abortion Syndrome” consisting of severe depression reaching suicidal proportions in women who have had abortions. It is said that the symptoms often don’t even begin to appear until about fifteen years after the abortion. We can begin to expect an onslaught of extremely troubled women any time now.
Our Constitution is supposed to guarantee certain <inalienable> rights with which we were endowed by our Creator, the first of which is the right to life. The right to choose another’s death for the sake of one’s own convenience, career, reputation, or what have you, is not a legitimate right. It is not a right at all, and the state does not have the authority to grant it. Slavery, mentioned above, is another example of an illegitimate right.
One may counter, “But I don’t subscribe to your religion, and we have separation of Church and state!” That may be, but abortion is not simply a religious issue, or just a women’s issue, any more than slavery was simply a Black issue, or the Nazi Holocaust was simply a Jewish issue. It is a humanitarian issue. It is a crime against humanity, and a crime against nature. It involves me. It involves everyone.
Some complain of being sick of others “imposing their morality on them." Is it not just as legitimate a complaint to be sick of others <imposing their immorality> on the nation?
Some will say it is a private matter, but it is not just between a woman and her doctor because It affects the very fabric of society. It affects how we value human dignity. It is the first step towards infanticide, (actually, it is infanticide) and euthanasia (already taking place) human experimentation (explored by Hitler, and now taking place on aborted infants, whose bodies are also being utilized in France, to make, of all things, perfume), eugenic engineering, selective breeding, and a thousand other Orwellian nightmares. Abortion, bad enough in itself, desensitizes us to these horrors and after a while they don’t seem so bad. In fact, we have already beat Hitler’s stats for numbers of innocents killed—and that’s genocide. Can we say, like the German people after the war, “But we didn’t know!”? The German people were horrified when the allied soldiers forced them to look at the piles of bodies in the extermination camps. Today pro-abortion forces treat photograhic proof of the mangled bodies of aborted babies found in dumpsters as if it were cheap propaganda. God help us. We are being dehumanized.
Abortion is sometimes defended in the name of compassion. This goes against the etymology of the very word: “to suffer with”. To suffer with someone means to enter into her difficulties with her, not throw her a quick fix so we don’t have to be bothered. Compassion loves at the expense of self. Compassion takes the troubled young woman into our homes if necessary, pays her bills if necessary, (as our Archdiocese has pledged to do) and welcomes the new child into the world as if it were one of our own—because it is. Compassion is what the Good Samaritan did, and it costs.
Christians know that “our bodies are not our own, we have been bought with a price” (See 1 Cor. 6: 19-20), and that our neighbors are part of us in the Body of Christ. Abortion is suicide. What else can be the future of a people which kills its young?