The euphoria of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on June 24th overturning the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade as well as the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey is starting to subside. Nonetheless, all Catholics--all Americans--who believe in the sanctity of human life are deeply grateful that this court rectified the egregious and deeply consequential errors of that decision. But we cannot assume that the battle is over. In some ways, it has only just begun. (I heard one commentator quote Winston Churchill after the Allies finally won a battle at El Alamein: “This is not the end; nor is it the beginning of the end; but it is end of the beginning.”)
(My editorial comment: I am disappointed the court said that the legality of abortion should be determined by each state. What I would have rather they declared was: abortion is the taking of an innocent human life. Our Declaration of Independence says that every human being has the inalienable right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; therefore, the killing of innocent unborn children cannot be allowed in a civilized society that seeks to govern itself. But alas, the Justices did not take that step, so it is up to us to pick it up from there.)
When abortion was touted as a “constitutional right,” pro-life arguments were shouted down as irrelevant. Because this lopsided state of affairs has gone on for almost 50 years, many Americans--even if they would not personally consider having an abortion, nonetheless made their peace with it as just something that our country allows. Because it was legal and we were told that it granted “freedom” to women, those who want an abortion should be free to have one. I believe that this is the default position of the vast majority of Americans who poll favorably for legalized abortion. Hardcore advocates who are ideologically and financially tied to abortion may never change their minds. But it is all the others whose hearts and minds we now have to reach. And to do this, we have to be prepared to give reasonable and convincing arguments.
Now that the constitutional fiction has been removed and we move into the stage of rational arguments, we have a clear advantage. The pro-abortion argument is paper thin--resting (almost) only upon a woman’s refusal to carry to term the unwanted baby that she conceived. In contrast, the pro-life side has biology, embryology, history, theology and common sense to back up its arguments. For example, the basic question, “just what is that organism that is growing in a mother’s womb?” is one that, if answered, is an indictment of the whole pro-abortion stance. And it goes up from there.
I came across an article, How to Debunk 7 Common Myths about Overturning Roe v Wade, by Jonah McKeown in the National Catholic Register (June 24th). The arguments that he presents are ones that you might not think would be asked by the other side; but after reading it, I can see how these issues could arise and it would be important for all of us to be able to respond clearly. I will list the “myths,” but if you want to read the whole article you can either search for it by its title or click the link: www.ncregister.com/cna/seven-myths-dobbs