The following, written by Father C. John McCloskey, comes from a Jan. 13 posting on the Truth and Charity Forum. Father McCloskey, chaplain at Princeton from 1985 to 1990, helped bring into the Church Bernard Nathanson, Lawrence Kudlow, Robert Novak, Judge Robert Bork, and Senator Sam Brownback.
Is the annual March for Life, held on the 22nd of January, worth the trouble? Is there really any reasonable hope of ever overturning Roe v. Wade, of ever stopping the court-sanctioned baby killing?
Since the Supreme Court legislated abortion on demand 41 years ago, after casting about for constitutional justification and settling on an unenunciated privacy right lurking in the penumbras of the Constitution, abortion has been present in every state in the union, breaching the unborn’s own uterine privacy in which to grow and develop on a trajectory towards birth. Nearly 50 million future citizens have been lawfully destroyed by this means in a country that has long signified to the world sanctuary from persecution and tyranny. What has become of the destiny of our country, a nation that Ronald Reagan loved to refer to as a “city on a hill”, drawing on a biblical image of Jerusalem that New England settlers also applied to their fledgling American colony?
Despite the horrors of 50 million sets of small body parts disposed of as trash, however, the answer to my opening question is yes, it is still worthwhile holding the yearly March for Life.
Below are some suggestions—in no particular order of likelihood or importance—of possible ways (some perhaps more likely than others!) in which the overturning of Roe and Doe could happen over time. Of course, as each day a fresh set of unborn lives are in jeopardy, the sooner legalized abortion is overturned in our country, the better!
- In addition to giant failures in other areas, the very excesses of our President in his thirst for ever-wider abortion rights could spell political disaster for his party. Talk about a zombie apocalypse! In any case, there is a real possibility that both the House and Senate could shift to Republican control. Now, Republican control in the past has not brought a reversal of Roe. However, despite the rumblings of discontent from moderate Republicans, the Republican Party may continue to be strongly influenced by the Tea Party, which (though primarily formed to counter Big Government and fiscal irresponsibility) has a considerable membership overlap with serious Christian conservatives, both Evangelicals and Catholics, for whom social issues such as abortion are also injustices crying out to be righted. Again, considering outcomes that are possible if not probable, we can even hope to elect a Catholic president who will have the opportunity to choose new Supreme Court justices willing to revisit Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, and their unhappy progeny. Although we likely could not expect recognition of a constitutional right to life from conception, overturning Roe would at least return abortion to the states. Many of these states would then adjudicate or legislate their own bans on abortion and most of these might at least place greater restrictions on the right than the Supreme Court has thus far allowed (Please note that I am well aware of all the “ifs” in this scenario!)
- Shifting to the states: long live and grow the red states, which are still populated by serious Christians who vote their convictions in state elections for legislators and pro-life governors eager to limit and (if given the slightest opening) shut down abortion completely within their state boundaries. Of course, red state citizens seeking abortions retain the option of traveling to the nearest blue state; nonetheless, there is much hope in this area for at least regional decreases in abortions.
- Polls show a general decline for support for legal abortion, and markedly so with younger people, presaging, we can hope, both better legislative prospects down the road and more life-affirming individual choices even while abortion remains legal. Although laws tend to both influence what we think of as “right” behavior and deter us from illegal behavior through fear of the consequences, in the end we do need the conversion of minds and hearts on this subject in order to truly protect the unborn. Therefore, the shift in the poll numbers, particularly for the young, is a hopeful sign that this conversion to pro-life convictions is possible even four decades after abortion has been legalized—and that it is, in fact, happening.
- Of course, the annual March for Life itself is overwhelmingly populated by teens and young adults, who not only descend on Washington in droves, but also represent hundreds of thousands more back home. The March constitutes for them an eye-opening opportunity to see the potential power for change in their numbers and their youthful energy. In addition, participants are exposed to great and inspiring pro-life speakers in rallies and prayer vigils on the day before and the day of the March, as well as informational booths and displays set up by pro-life organizations from around the country. These show the rich gamut of pro-life activity, from political and educational activities to assisting women in crisis pregnancies or suffering post-abortion trauma to campus pro-life organizations, including support groups for pro-life law and medical students, etc.
- Let’s not forget that in the decades ahead, as couples continue to avoid births through contraceptive means (which in most cases are actually abortifacient means) and to abort children conceived by “accident,” those who welcome some or many children are likely to gain a greater share of the population and to vote their convictions, hopefully attracting others to our cause to overturn abortion through the ballot box.
- Then there is another possibility course of action, which, while ranking low in probability with the bookmakers, should not be ruled out: secession. I wrote about this elsewhere some years ago and stirred up no small amount of controversy. The red state/blue state dichotomy could—perhaps sooner than we might think—result in states opting to pull out of the union. My guess is that if that were to happen, the armed forces of the United States (who tend to be more conservative and religious than the general population) would be reluctant to exercise military force to stop seceding states. In addition, perhaps paradoxically, the generalized modern sense that we should not dictate personal lifestyle choices for others (although it coexists in many liberal minds with intolerance of traditional morality) may make blue states reluctant to impose continued membership in the United States on red states that choose to secede. On the other hand, given the United States’ status as a major superpower for the past century, for strategic reasons there may be more official resistance to secession than we might think. We pray the secession option does not happen, but ultimately the protection of innocent life trumps any tyrannical regime that cannot protect even the smallest of its future citizens.
- Let us also not forget what Mother Teresa said: “The ultimate fruit of abortion is Nuclear War!” Of course in God’s Providence, He may simply close the operation down and proceed to the General Judgment, where all persons will receive their deserved reward or punishment. Precisely because we know not the day or the hour, we can never rule out this possibility, although on the other hand we cannot claim an ability to definitively read the signs of the times. Over the centuries, history has shown us crowds of end-times enthusiasts prematurely pronouncing that the end is nigh. God’s patience clearly exceeds our own, since He has tolerated human wrongdoing even on an epic scale. His merciful response to millennia of misbehavior was to become Man as the baby Jesus, Our Savior, and Herod then did his unsuccessful best to kill his incarnate God. The Holy Innocents paid the price and were rewarded with Paradise. However, despite this massacre of the innocents, God did not intervene to end human history but went on to offer his Son for our redemption on Calvary, the “successful” deicide that Herod’s attempt presaged, and God has also borne with humanity through countless other periods of human misery and depravity. So although we list the End of the World as a possible outcome of our current situation, since it will someday come to pass, we know that we are highly unlikely to be correct in any specific attempt to pinpoint the time….
To read the entire posting, click here.