Abortion, Pro-Lifers and a Rash of Relativism

March 2, 2011 09:00 AM

Over the past few months I have observed a growing tendency among pro-life Americans to gravitate toward compromise. Some have used Pope John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), Section 73, paragraph 3 to justify their wobbly wisdom. Others, primarily alleged proponents of personhood, have turned a blind eye to ethical language and have done the easy thing—accommodating the world view instead of the scientific facts. And still others are now ready to work with the pro-aborts in order to make “abortion less common.”  

The confusion that this is causing not only amazes me, but saddens me as well. So let’s review some basic facts that cannot be disputed.

1) Abortion is an act that ends the life of a growing, developing human being.

2) This human being is a person who has been endowed by God, not the state, with the inalienable right to life.

3) If there is such a thing as a human being whose life is dispensable, for whatever reason, then no human being’s life is safe because approving the killing of one opens the door to the killing of many.

That’s simple and could be defined as Pro-Life Logic 101.

However, as soon as politics gets involved, the fundamental simplicity of the argument gets tangled in political reality, pragmatism and accommodation. Clearly these things occur because some of us are desperate for a “victory” even though no real progress is made. Oh there are claims that fewer surgical abortions occur, but in point of fact the so-called right to abortion remains.

Such ideas lead to sloppy thinking; they admit to a type of relativism that dismisses truth in favor of what is possible at a given time.  

Pope John Paul II wrote about this in his encyclical, Veritatis Splendor  (The Splendor of Truth). He pointed out the inherent danger associated with equating a fundamental with political agendas. He warned aboutthe risk of an alliance between democracy and ethical relativism, which would remove any sure moral reference point from political and social life, and on a deeper level make the acknowledgement of truth impossible. Indeed, ‘if there is no ultimate truth to guide and direct political activity, then ideas and convictions can easily be manipulated for reasons of power. As history demonstrates, a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism.’”

This is precisely what is wrong with flawed pro-life thinking. When pro-life people excuse an abortion here or there or deny that certain words are just as good as other words, enormous trouble lies ahead. Such attitudes and actions remove the principle of human rights for each human being and replace it with a type of “half a loaf is better than none” perspective.

If you are starving, and all you can get is half a loaf of bread, I say go for it. There’s surely nothing wrong with satisfying your physical hunger with whatever you are able to ethically acquire.

But when you are applying the “loaf” concept to the bodies of preborn babies, you are wrong—plain and simple. Nobody has ever given a human being the right or the authority to sanction killing the preborn, whether the person who will die is conceived by rape or incest or is perceived to be a threat to his mother’s life; whether he existed until you knowingly ingested a birth control chemical that you knew might kill him, or whether he is residing in an in vitro fertilization lab and has been condemned to death. 

The situation does not matter. It is the result that we need to be concerned about. If the rhetoric used condones killing, the words are wrong and must never be used. 

Tomorrow I will provide a concrete example of this tragic attitude that is affecting many in the pro-life movement. In the meantime you might want to examine this question: When it comes to politics, are the truths we know and accept flexible?

Back to news