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Dignity of Human Life Transcends Politics

As the elections approach, abortion debates will once again heat up. And, near an election, all debates tend to be reduced to whom you should vote for.

While many commentators and political activists are just interested in getting your vote, it is beyond doubt that voting entails a moral responsibility for any citizen and certainly for any Catholic.

There is a political aspect to the abortion debate that can’t be minimized. One of the main goals of the pro-life movement for 40 years has been supporting pro-life presidential candidates that would, theoretically, name pro-life judges to the Supreme Court. The hope behind this is to revert the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that ruled abortion falls under the right to privacy and is protected by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

We should remember that Roe vs. Wade didn’t “legalize abortion,” as some people erroneously say. Abortion was legal in 20 states before the Supreme Court decision. This doesn’t change the importance of the fight against Roe vs. Wade for the pro-life movement — by recognizing a constitutional right to abortion, the Supreme Court changed centuries of traditional morals and the very nature of the debate. But the pro-life movement is much more than that.

Many pro-life activists have said, from the beginning, what anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson explained last year:

“Our end goal cannot be to simply make abortion illegal; our end goal must be to make abortion unthinkable.” Reversing Roe vs. Wade would change cultural perceptions and allow limiting abortion in states with a pro-life majority, but it won’t end abortion by any means. It would probably create a nation divided into states that allow abortion and those that forbid it. It would be another extension of the already-stark differences between red and blue states, coastal and heartland states.

Reversing Roe vs. Wade won’t make “abortion unthinkable,” and pro-lifers know it. The battle against abortion is fought in the heart of each person. Reducing the movement to a decision made by the Supreme Court is a dangerous mischaracterization. It is used by adversaries to present the movement as a group of religious extremists that want to impose their beliefs on the whole country.

You make abortion unthinkable by changing the heart of the people and the morals of a society. That’s where the real battle is won or lost. While it is fair for the pro-life movement to continue its political and legal efforts of the past decades, it can’t afford to be perceived or characterized as a mere political action committee.

The battle of the heart is won by initiatives like The Bridge to Life, a program dedicated to help and support pregnant women; or Rachel’s Helpers, a healing ministry for women who have had an abortion. The battle of the heart is won by showing people that being pro-life is not reduced to opposing abortion but defending the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.

The battle is won with genuine charity and a coherent defense of human dignity, by showing compassion for the downtrodden and excluded, and by opposing the abundant manifestations of the culture of death we confront every day.

The long-term goal of the pro-life movement is “to make abortion unthinkable.” Reducing the movement to specific or short-term goals could be detrimental to the achievement of the final, definite goal of building a culture of life where every baby is received into the world with joy and love.

The culture of life and the construction of the kingdom of God transcend political parties and agendas, nationalities, race, or cultural background.

In order to change the hearts of Americans and the paradigms of the culture of death, the pro-life movement always needs to show that its goals can sometimes be expressed in the polling booth, but that the defense of the dignity of a human life transcends politics.

One thought on “Dignity of Human Life Transcends Politics

  1. Blessings! Thank you for mentioning Rachel’s Helpers and Bridge to Life , two organizations that I am very personally active in along with my dear “sisters” in Christ.
    Although I agree that we will never eradicate abortion through laws alone, I recognize the tremendous cultural effect, establishing Personhood for the unborn would have on our culture. I am not in favor of incremental legislature, which in many instances, undercuts our position of life beginning at the moment of fertilization. Either we believe it or we do not. Once we accept the truth, backed by science, we must strive to do all we can to achieve the protection of the unborn under the 14th amendment, by recognizing that the unborn are “persons”.
    In my personal view, changing hearts and minds, to make abortion unthinkable, will only come about through the loving education of women with respect to their true “feminine genius”. The feminist movement of the 60’s completely hijacked and distorted this truth. Somehow they succeeded in convincing women that the most organic function of their femininity was an encumbrance to their freedom, a disease that needed treatment, whether surgically or medically. We were blinded to the truth that what we were becoming were virtual predators against ourselves, our bodies, our families, and our children. The wounds of abortion are much like our Lady of Czestochowa’s , which never disappear . To quote St Edith Stein ( Theresa Benedicta of the Cross)”Woman naturally seeks to embrace that which is living, personal, and whole. To cherish, guard, protect, nourish and advance growth, is her natural, maternal yearning( the Ethos of Women’s Professions) ” Women comprehend not only with the intellect, but also with the heart” ( Principles of Women’s Education.)
    This unique ability to nurture and protect can be utilized in any way a woman chooses. Whether her vocation is as a physical mother, or a spiritual mother, that very truth of the beauty of who she really is as a woman , will ultimately give her the gift of true “freedom”, living and embracing the natural magnificence of her God given gifts. Women who recognize these gifts are precious, will never allow themselves to be treated as “commodities”.
    Our hope for future generations, will depend on our resolve to begin to teach these “truths” in the schools, and the Churches. I absolutely believe that we can turn the narrative by speaking the Truth. For too long , we have remained silent while young women have been deceived and betrayed. Our current culture is unsustainable, but by the Grace of God, we can turn this culture into a “Culture of Life” and , by doing so ,make abortion “unthinkable”.