WE DON’T HAVE TO LIE
Catalyst January/February Issue 2007, From The President's Desk
William A. Donohue
Those of us who are pro-life have two major advantages over our adversaries: a) the scientific evidence is on our side—life begins at conception, and b) we don’t have to lie. It is this second advantage, the moral advantage, that is the subject of this article.
The other side has a difficult time just honestly describing who they are. They shun being labeled pro-abortion, preferring to say they believe in choice. What exactly it is they’re choosing is never mentioned. Now at one level, everyone believes in choice: we choose what to wear, what to eat, etc. But by itself, choosing has no moral quotient—it is just a process. Morality kicks in when the object of our choice is determined. When the subject is abortion, as even those who believe in “choice” must admit, what is being chosen is life or death.
In January 2005, Senator Hillary Clinton said to her supporters, “We can all recognize that abortion in many ways represents a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women.” She never said why. After all, if abortion isn’t the taking of innocent human life, it needs to be explained what is so sad about it. Moreover, how could something she says represents “reproductive freedom” be considered tragic? What is tragic about this freedom?
On February 2, 1978, Senator Ted Kennedy wrote to Tom Dennelly of New York (a long-time Catholic League member) saying, “I am opposed to abortion on demand. This opposition is based on deep moral and religious beliefs.” Well, it couldn’t have been too deep—Senator Kennedy has long championed the right of a doctor to jam a pair of scissors into the brain of a child who is 80 percent born. It’s called partial-birth abortion, or what the late pro-abortion Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan called infanticide.
In 1997, feminist Naomi Wolf wrote in the New York Times that although she wants abortion to be legal, it was time for her side to admit that abortion at any stage “involves the possibility of another life.” My response, which questioned why she wouldn’t want to err on the side of caution, was printed a few days later: “If I drove down a street full of children playing and saw a large cardboard box in my path, would it make sense to assume that if I ran over it I might take the life of an innocent person? And would not the right choice be evident to everyone?”
Last year at this time, pro-abortion writer William Saletan admitted that most Americans want restrictions on abortion, and that’s because “It’s bad to kill a fetus.” Is this because a fetus is a baby? He doesn’t say. But even Saletan must confess that no pregnant woman has ever been treated to a “Fetus Shower.”
Last February, the Rev. Donna Schaper, a minister in New York, wrote that she had an abortion 19 years ago. “I am not bragging, nor am I apologizing,” she said. Then she really opened up. “I happen to agree that abortion is a form of murder,” she said, admitting that “I know I murdered the life within me.” So abortion is not just a “form of murder,” it is murder. About which, however, there is no need to apologize.
Former Senator John Danforth is an Episcopalian minister who is opposed to Roe v. Wade. His opposition stems solely from his conviction that judges should not decide the issue of abortion. Regarding the big question, he is agnostic. “I have not been so certain that a fetus is a person,” he says, “but I do think that, at some level, it is human life.” There are enough qualifiers in that sentence to justify running for president.
Peter Singer teaches at Princeton University and believes it should be legal to kill disabled babies after they are born. He may be demented, but he is not dishonest. “One point on which I agree with opponents of abortion is that, from the point of view of ethics rather than the law,” he says, “there is no sharp distinction between the fetus and the newborn baby.” As I said, he is not dishonest.
Senator Barack Obama writes in his best-selling book that he believes in “vigorous enforcement of our nondiscrimination laws,” and wants to “lower abortion rates.” But he only wants to outlaw racial discrimination, not abortion. To reduce abortion, he says, we need “education”—we need to give young people “information.” He does not say why we should legalize discrimination, choosing to fight it through education and information. Maybe this explains why he has a 100 percent approval rating from NARAL—the most radical pro-abortion organization in the nation. It may also explain why he has never supported a single law that would reduce abortion, either as a state senator in Illinois or as a U.S. senator.
We don’t have to lie. They do. That’s not enough to satisfy, but it helps. Nothing will satisfy until we get to the day when abortion will be regarded by everyone for what it is—a choice that kills.