What follows is a critique of the pro-life desire of overturning Roe v Wade.
Of course that fateful Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide must be reversed. That said, we pro-lifers ought not sell ourselves short by thinking we can end there.
What is our goal as pro-lifers?
Is it merely to outlaw the murder of innocent preborn children? I sure hope that is not the end all, be all.
What we need to do is work toward restoring a pro-life culture. We need to help institute a society that respects the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death. Ending abortion is one large part of the equation, but it’s not the only chapter in the story needing to be written.
OVERTURNING ROE V WADE SHOULD NOT BE OUT STARTING POINT
Four important points ought to be raised. First, overturning Roe v Wade ought not be our movement’s starting point, but rather our logical conclusion. Here is what I mean.
We should not be holding our breath waiting for the Supreme Court to rule in a case to reverse its disastrous 1973 decision. There remains much to be accomplished, as we are learning, by promoting a pro-life society as a whole. This important work should not and cannot be held up until we see the law reversed.
Second, are we really going to stake all our hopes on nine judges? Does our movement depend entirely on the majority vote of nine men and women? I sure hope not. What if we never get nine justices to hear the case and at least five to vote on the side of truth? Do we do nothing in the meantime?
Third, our inalienable rights do not come from the state. The position we take continues to be that the right to life remains an unalienable right to all human persons, even the unborn. The right to life, thus, must be recognized by a legal system for that legal system to be just.
When a legal system does not support such an important ethic as this, the right to life does not disappear. We still can and must promote it unless our legal system recognizes it once more.
We cannot wait for the state to tell us which human beings have the right to life and which ones do not. For, our inalienable rights do not come from the state. The state, rather, as the protector of the greater good, has the duty to protect this right—but not to grant it.
Fourth, remember that our goal should not be solely to make abortion illegal. That step is necessary, but to settle for that would be sell our efforts short. Instead, we must aim for a pro-life society.
LISTEN TO THE WISDOM OF FR. FRANK PAVONE
“Our goal is not just to make abortion illegal. Our goal is to make abortion undesirable, unavailable, unnecessary in the eyes of those that would want it. In short, our goal is to make abortion unthinkable,” proclaims Father Frank Pavone (Director of Priests For Life, in April 2001, at the Proudly Pro-Life Dinner, emphasis added).
Once the pro-life mentality becomes as commonplace as this wonderful priest prescribes, outlawing abortion will be a natural outcome. To put it another way, we could say this:
We don’t want people to stop obtaining abortions, because it is illegal and so hard to do. No, we want people to not have the need to obtain an abortion.
See how overturning Roe v Wade becomes a natural event in the course toward a pro-life society? It’s not the beginning point at all.
In that same talk, Father Pavone continued his train of thought: “Why is it so hard to reach that goal? Because of the pain… a pain shared by all of us in some way… The kind of pain [when a person] realizes, sometimes dimly, that there is an evil taking place in their midst….
“And at the same time realizing that if they take the time and trouble to look closely and carefully at what that evil is, they will not be able to live with themselves unless they do something about it.
“But at the same time realizing that if they do something about it, there is going to be a price to pay. They are going to have to change their lives…
“So how do they resolve the dilemma?… Bury the issue?… Tuck it away in a comfortable place in the mind and get on with life?…
“The task we face is to point out to our brothers and sisters that the price to be paid by ignoring this issue is greater than the price to be paid by addressing it. We do that by connecting the issue to the other evils, ills, concerns they do hold close to their heart.
“This movement will succeed only when we succeed in helping our brothers and sisters understand that so many ills in our society are proceeding directly because of abortion on demand. As the problem in the healing process for the individual woman is to connect the abortion experience with the other problems she is experiencing, so it is for the healing of our society to connect the abortion problem with the other problems we are concerned with—to see that we will never make progress on those problems until we deal with this one.”
Would you agree we can become preoccupied with overturning Roe v Wade?
I would appreciate you adding your thoughts below!