The January 22, 1973, Supreme Court Roe v Wade decision is important for two negative reasons: its flawed reasoning and its destructive effect. In practice, Roe legalized abortion on demand. It has poisoned our public life for 45 years. It has enabled the killing of tens of millions of unborn children, an entire American generation. Abortion “procedures” (a sanitized understatement worthy of George Orwell) have emotionally scarred millions of adult women – and men.
Abortion supporters may talk a good line about “reproductive health care,” but there’s very little ‘health care’ in homicide. There’s simply no way around the living, developing unborn daughter or son – visible on any ultrasound machine – who ends up dead at the end of the abortion industry’s doublespeak.
The reality of abortion is the callous and ruthless profiteering that was captured by anti-Planned Parenthood videos – not the fabric softener alibis of pro-choice public PR memos and news media cheerleaders. Abortion supporters press the importance of reproductive rights; but they systematically violate the most basic right of all: the right to life.
“Right to choose” advocates often claim that most Americans support abortion rights. But polling data are easily misused or misunderstood. Key information is often overlooked or omitted because it doesn’t fit the preferred storyline. A rather recent Marist Poll, commissioned by the Knights of Columbus, found that 44% of surveyed Americans describe themselves as prolife, while 51% describe themselves as pro-choice. But the really telling data emerge from beneath those broad labels.
More than 80% of Americans, including two-thirds of pro-choice supporters, would restrict abortion to – at most – the first trimester of pregnancy. By a 25-point margin, Americans believe abortion does women more harm than good. 60% believe abortion is morally wrong, and 77% believe that our laws can protect both a mother and her unborn child. Nearly 70% oppose public funding for abortion. More than 60% support laws that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy – except to save the life of the mother.
In an immediate sense, these facts change nothing. Forty-five years after Roe v. Wade, the abortion industry has grown fat on public money and falsely pious in its own deceits. Its leaders really don’t care what Americans think because they’ve been “culture warriors” from the start, playing the long game of changing people’s attitudes through aggressive court action and sympathetic media. It’s an intelligent strategy that should have worked. So it’s understandable that industry leaders are annoyed and baffled – and increasingly paranoid that pro-lifers have not gone away. They haven’t!! Quite the opposite is occurring. We see the proof every January. Impending snow and transportation woes may impact the turnout for the annual March for Life in Washington D.C., but that’s not a worry. It’s happened many times before; and yet, year after year, despite disapproving media and uncertain weather, the March for Life’s pro-life numbers keep coming and keep growing. They also keep getting younger.
Here’s why. Abortion is not like other social issues. It instinctively repugnant – an obscenity in the present, and a refusal of the future. It can’t be reduced to a theoretical dispute or a smokescreen of laundered language about “reproductive health” that only means homicide. No matter how good the verbal gymnastics, no “pro-choice” PR firm can escape the flesh and blood violence to mother and child, and the lying to women that occur in every abortion. The unborn child is alive, innocent and now observable, thanks to the same medical technology that the abortion industry perverts in every killing. Today’s young people may differ from previous generations in many ways, but killing innocent life isn’t one of them. That simple fact on this upcoming 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, with a lot of hard work, can be the beginning of a new and better culture that will respect the sanctity of human life at every stage. With God’s help, we can make it so!
If you can’t go to Washington to partake of the East Coast observance (there is a parallel one for the West Coast in San Francisco), consider joining Bishop Barbarito next week in a very prayerful and faith-filled Rally for Life on Monday, January 22nd, from 11:00 a.m. ‘til Noon, across the street from the main Court House in West Palm Beach. I’ll be there.