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Death in the Land of Oz

By Judie Brown

My mentor in pro-life work was attorney, pro-life leader, and founder of the March for Life, Ms. Nellie J. Gray. One of the first statements I heard her say was “You can’t have a little bit of abortion.” Those words impressed me in 1976, and they still represent the cornerstone of what it means to be pro-life.

So when it was recently stated that United States Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz is a pro-life candidate, I had to take a look at his actual position. Oz is a heart surgeon, so it would stand to reason that at some point he studied biology 101 and knows when human life actually begins. And though he has said he “believes” life begins at conception (creation), he should have said definitively that life begins at creation. This is a biological fact, and it’s not subject to anyone’s belief. The scientific facts are clear and unequivocal, not a political debate point.

What’s disturbing is that Oz favors killing the preborn child in cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother—a position that is popular among many political figures who state that they are pro-life! His campaign justifies this flawed public position because his opponent is totally pro-abortion. That is about as unprincipled an argument for favoring some abortion as anything we have seen. But it is still the popular mantra.

He is not the only one who holds this view. Washington state Republican candidate Tiffany Smiley claims she is pro-life “while also asserting her opposition to a federal abortion ban,” not to mention claiming that the Texas abortion law is very hard for her to support. The Texas law, to be clear, allows abortion “to save the life of a pregnant patient” which, as we know, provides plenty of wriggle room for the abortionist committed to plying his trade.

The facts about the faulty life of the mother claim are easily exposed, as we see in this excerpt:

The number of medically necessary abortions is essentially zero. In those extremely rare cases when the mother’s life truly is threatened by pregnancy (such as with cancer of the uterus or ectopic pregnancy), she may undergo an operation whose purpose is to save her life, even if the preborn child may die as an indirect result of the procedure. This principle is known as the “double effect.”

Though it may at times be necessary to induce delivery early to save the mother’s life, it is not necessary to kill the child intentionally. Every effort should be made to preserve both lives. Killing the child should never be the goal, as it is in every abortion.

So why do the political dance when an easy explanation about why every abortion should be opposed is so easy to present? The answer is that in politics, a few dead babies here and there are no problem for any candidate, including Dr. Oz. Basic biology fades into the shadows when being elected to any office is the priority.

But it need not be that way. As we know, explaining the facts of life, even in our imperfect world, always brings clarity to a situation. And though it could cost someone an election, the truth has a way of being paramount to those with a firm grasp of what is important.

The old saying “honesty is the best policy” has become a dim memory to far too many people, but it does not change the situation. Killing babies is never acceptable even if pointing that out robs someone of votes. St. John Paul II knew this well, teaching: “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.”

And that is how decriminalized death comes to the land of Oz.