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The value of the human person

First slide

To abort a child in the womb is to abort a story, to tear out all but the first page of a human story. To forget the evil of abortion is to forget their stories entirely and consign them to oblivion. And, to celebrate this oblivion cannot be any more than the sign of a kind of through-the-looking-glass world, where wrong is right and vice versa. In the face of the recent change to New York’s laws, it feels as though one is running backward, trampling underfoot the slow progress of years of the pro-life movement.


Let us look at the history of the pro-life movement in America. It began as the mainstream, standing up to Margaret Sanger’s ludicrous and insidious plan for eugenics. Yet, by 1930, abortions became more common, especially in cases of ill health of the mother. In Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965, the Supreme Court found a “right to privacy, and of course, in Roe v. Wade they used this to prevent any interference in a woman’s abortion. Finally, to top it all off, the infamous statement used to reaffirm Roe from Doe v. Bolton: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” The demand has shifted from “safe, legal, and rare” to #Shoutyourabortion.


Since that time, states including Texas and Arizona have fought a defensive battle: limiting abortions, passing laws to require ultrasounds or informing the parents of minors about planned abortions. Each time pro-life leaders in government take control, we think we’re winning. Each time pro-abortion leaders take back control, we think we’ve lost. It feels like running on a treadmill — going nowhere.


But we ought to measure the success of the pro-life movement in a different way. Imagine a scale: on one side we weigh the labor of more than 40 years of the pro-life movement, and on the other we place a single life — a child saved from abortion. Peculiarly enough, the scale tips in the child’s favor. Why? Because there is a central tenet we accept before we join the March for Life, before we make our posters and buy our yellow license plates: the human person is infinitely valuable.


It may seem as if an inevitable defeat is coming. After the March, after the elections, after everything else, New York has proven that we cannot slacken our efforts. We have so much more work ahead of us, but human persons, born or unborn, will always be worthy of it.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019