Justice For All – Including the Unborn
The late Professor of Law at the University of California, John Noonan, stated that ” once or twice in a century an issue arises so far reaching in its consequences and so deep in its foundation that it calls on every person to take a stand”. He contended that in 19th century America slavery assumed those proportions and that abortion has become one of these issues.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta gave the following powerful message during her acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize – ” the greatest destroyer of peace in the world is abortion. For if a society can allow a mother to kill her own child in her own womb, how can we tell other people not to kill each other. Any society which permits abortion is not teaching its people to love but to use any violence to get what they want”.
The reality is that although the abortion issue concerns the right to life of the world’s tiniest humans, unborn babies, the decisions which society makes concerning their fate has grave implications for the whole family of man – for example influencing society’s acceptance of infanticide, euthanasia and other crucial life and death issues.
While arguing the case that abortion is the greatest human rights issue of our time, it needs to be emphasized that, as all humans have equal dignity, to be truly pro-life a person needs to be concerned about all human rights abuses whether these are perpetrated on the unborn or on other categories of human beings. Pope Francis made this very point recently in his Exhortation “Gaudete et Exsultate“. But of course responsibility for being truly pro-life works both ways – we are all called to be true “pro-lifers”.
Some commentators have accused anti-abortionists of being concerned only with “life in the womb” to the neglect of people suffering discrimination and injustices later in life. From my experience in fighting abortion for more than 40 years, I have formed the impression that anti-abortion activists are among the most compassionate people in our society, many caring greatly about, and taking action for, not only the unborn but also the poor, refugees, the homeless and persecuted peoples in other countries.
Sadly, however, there is compelling evidence that the reverse is not the case. For there are so few in our society who have been speaking out on behalf of the unborn that this has led to their legal right to life being stripped from them and abortion exclusion zones introduced to remove the freedom of speech from anti-abortionists.
Indeed it is evident that a conspiracy of silence about the plight of the unborn has long been entrenched in our society. Even among our friends how often are we told that it is not the right time to raise the topic of abortion – not before, during or after dinner. The message we are being given is that this is an issue which is simply not raised in polite company.
The hypocrisy of our society’s attitude to the unborn is sickening. Consider this – if our parliamentarians legislated that 20 adolescent children could be randomly selected and killed every day in Victoria, there would be such an outcry that this legislation would be reversed in record time. Yet at least this number of unborn children are killed every day in this State.
In Australia the toll of 100,000 unborn babies killed by abortion each year is four times the total number of Australians who were tragically killed in the 2nd World War. Where is the public outcry against this merciless slaughter of our unborn in such great numbers? How seldom do we even hear a prayer said for the unborn in our churches – almost never. Yet prayers are said almost daily for most other categories of fellow human beings who are in dire circumstances.
The celebrated blind and deaf American author and activist, Helen Keller, once said “Yes, it is hard being blind but there is something far worse and that is having eyes and not being willing to see”. In our world, Helen Keller’s words are very apt in relation to the unwillingness of so many to see the abject harm that abortion is inflicting on our nation’s psyche, both individually and collectively. For the sad truth is that primary casualties of abortion are the members of the society who learn to turn their heads away while the killing continues and who then try to build a human community of love.
The reality is that those who actively campaign against abortion stand out as there are so few of them. In view particularly of this, it is crucially important that these lone rangers continue to speak out about the gross injustice and brutality of abortion in season and out of season, welcome or unwelcome (2 Timothy 4:2). And God willing, inspired by their example, the number speaking out will grow exponentially till the evil of abortion is expunged from our land.
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