When it comes to abortion, some people have the idea that the Church tries to tell Catholics how to vote. The truth is, though, that voting pro-life is not a matter of submitting to Church authority. It is not a matter of “balancing theological and scientific perspectives.” It is a matter of simple logic. The moral logic involved is basic and clear, with no sophistries and no unsupported claims. Each step of the argument is absolutely airtight.
All reasonable people agree that killing innocent human beings must be illegal. Only a very confused person (or a wicked person) could question this.
Some people think that abortion does not always involve killing, because perhaps the resident of the womb is not yet human when an abortion takes place. Again, everyone can agree that pregnancy is shrouded in great mystery, even though science has learned a lot about it in the past few decades. With all these advances, no one has found a moment in the process when the unborn child “becomes human”—other than at the very beginning, at conception itself. Obviously, scientists should continue to investigate the process of pregnancy, so long as nothing immoral is done in the course of research.
So, while there are many unanswered questions about human development in the womb, there is no question whatsoever about this: Lacking a definitive proof one way or the other about when human life begins, a just society must prohibit abortion. Why? Because we must always come down on the side of caution when it comes to innocent human life. If a gunner in a military training exercise is not sure whether the plane in his gunsights is a drone sent up for the exercise or a manned aircraft that has inadvertently entered his airspace, he will not shoot. He has to be certain that he is shooting what he is supposed to shoot. Even if there is only a 1% chance that he might accidentally kill an innocent bystander, he will not shoot.
When it comes to unborn life, there would seem to be more than a 1% chance that the casualty of abortion is an innocent human being. Birth always produces a baby—never a blender or a Volkswagen or even a cat. Therefore, the benefit of the doubt must go to the baby. Under the law, the pre-born must be considered fully human. If they are not, our society runs the risk of allowing innocent people to be killed. No self-respecting citizen could accept such a risk. The first duty of the rule of law is to protect the innocent from being killed.
In the rare instances when a pregnancy endangers a mother’s life, it cannot be right to sacrifice one life for another arbitrarily. Rather, everything medically possible must be done to save one, if not both, lives. If it is not possible to save both, we know at least that it would be wrong to kill one intentionally. If saving the mother means that the baby dies, so be it. But intentionally killing the baby is wrong. This might sound like sophistry, but in the nitty-gritty of medical decision-making, it is a crucial distinction.
We see, then, that simple logic confronts us with this fact: We live in a country in which something that certainly must be illegal actually is allowed, and it happens all the time, thousands of times every day. A reasonable person can have only one response: “I love my country, and I want it to be a land of justice. When it comes to abortion, I am living under an unjust regime. I cannot just stand by, as if there were nothing wrong.”
Let’s note that we reach this conclusion without referring even once to religion, God, or the Church. It is the conclusion that any reasonable person comes to when thinking the matter through. In other words, it is NOT a “religious issue”; it is a matter of logic and justice. One more conclusion of course follows: “As a decent human being, I must do something about this. I must do something to change the abortion regime of the United States. As an upstanding citizen committed to human rights, I cannot in good conscience consider this to be merely one political issue among many. This is a matter of life or death for thousands of innocent unborn children every day.”
This is where airtight logic takes us. All people of truth and good will reach the same conclusion if they take the trouble to think the whole thing through. There is no logic on the other side; the ‘pro-choice’ position is simply a matter of might makes right, without any reference to truth. “Minimizing the number of abortions” is not a satisfactory goal for anyone who cares about justice.
Now, the next step of the argument is the point at which good people can and do disagree with each other. What is the best political strategy for bringing the Roe v. Wade abortion regime to an end? What should we do as good, law-abiding American citizens to protect the innocent and defenseless unborn? There is no one clear, logical answer to these questions. We need to discuss them calmly and carefully.
Perhaps someone detects a flaw in the logic outlined here. If you do, please respond. It would be good to have a clear-headed debate about the logic of the pro-life position. On the other hand, if you don’t see a flaw in the reasoning, then why aren’t you taking a clear and public stand against legal abortion? What excuse could there possibly be?