40 Years Later: Reflecting on ‘Roe’ and ‘Doe’
It is extremely difficult to think about what one might say after 40 years of decriminalized barbarism. Yes, that is exactly what abortion is—and yet most people are blind to the effect it has had on the family and on our nation.
Haven’t we heard it all before? Of course we have. Each of us knows that the direct taking of the life of a child prior to birth is a heinous crime that offends God and wounds the conscience. And yet, to even write or talk about it after all these years is considered nothing more than white noise. People respond with yawns, glazed-over eyes, and deaf ears.
In addition, we are often merely talking to ourselves about this. America does not seem to understand. In fact, for the most part, Americans do not even believe or realize that the child is a human being prior to birth—an individual with a soul just like you and me.
Most Americans relate the act of abortion to a political issue and suggest that even though they are personally opposed to abortion, they believe that every woman has the “right” to decide for herself. Because it is legal, they suggest, it must be right. Furthermore, all the major publications and news sources tell us that to even curtail the availability of abortion is a violation of human rights!
While we know that such thinking is preposterous to its very core, we are not getting the accurate message out to the masses. This is our biggest challenge. It is time to turn the corner and change our tactics.
We must vow to remove the word “abortion” from the political lexicon that has relegated it to a debate between conservatives and liberals. We must direct our focus on getting our fellow Americans to think in terms of human beings and the reality of abortion.
Changing the discussion and refocusing on human beings will dramatically alter the paradigm that has been put in place by the culture of death. The word BABY must replace the word ISSUE.
In 1991, I had a remarkable conversation with one of the most saintly priests I have ever known. His name was Father John Hardon, S.J. His depth and understanding of Catholic teaching surpasses that of anyone I have ever met. Father Hardon reminded me of something that most people find a challenge too difficult to pursue.
He suggested that each of us who are defending the innocent at every stage of their biological development must make a commitment to never be influenced by the desire for human respect. He told me that the biggest problem with the pro-life movement was that it was far too political and not very holy.
This admonition was difficult for me to grasp, being a type A personality who believes strongly in the “I can do this” perspective.
Since that profound conversation, I have reflected many times on how truly useless we are as human beings if we forget that God does not need us, but we need Him. This applies particularly to our work in defending the defenseless.
Human respect tempts us to compromise for the sake of getting along; pursuing it appeals to our ego and often blinds us to the real reason why we are struggling to end the killing. We wind up caring more about how popular we are with politicians, the media, family members, friends, and co-workers than we do about the principles that underlie our goals—the first of which is always putting what God wants first.
The 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton is one the saddest days I could ever have imagined confronting. It means that for 40 years America has institutionalized killing people and defined it as a legal act that is commensurate with a human right. Such twisted thinking has destroyed the moral fiber of this nation.
But it is never too late to turn the tide. With God, all things are possible, and the miracle we seek begins with you and with me. Let us resolve today to act first and foremost as disciples of Christ who vow to spread His truth and never count the cost.