By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the state of New York’s legalization of abortion during all stages of pregnancy. I might be a little slow to new cycle but this came as quite a surprise to me. Coming off the heels of what felt like another successful March for Life on our nation’s capitol the trend of our days felt like abortion was losing its steam. In this long and dark period of our nation, stemming back to 1973 with the Roe v Wade ruling, it felt to me like things were starting to change. And then, to be hit with the news of New York’s ruling on Tuesday…
News has also come out today that the state of Vermont, which had already legalized abortion throughout the entire pregnancy, is seeking to make it part of their state constitution. New York is presumably going to follow in kind. What should we make of all this?
As I’ve considered this question the past few days, the word that keeps popping into my head is “brutality.” Abortion is often masked under the phrases of “reproductive health care” or “women’s rights.” The child is often called a “fetus” to make it’s destruction more palatable to our ears. But with the current technology we have today, how can anyone argue that it isn’t brutal? A person may believe that the mother’s rights trump all else. They may say abortion is a political issue, not a moral one. The may have no regard for the child until it exits the womb But, despite all that, how can you say it’s not also brutal. It simple is, there is no better way to describe it. We shouldn’t be surprised at this. When it comes to an activity that is designed to erase life – life that is struggling, working, and literally beating to survive – it’s going to be sick and ugly thing.
Some things that are brutal are moral necessities. War is brutal, but necessary at times. Police work and fire-fighting are brutal, but necessary. Working as a nurse in the emergency room of an urbanized population center is brutal, but necessary. What about abortion? Stripping life from the very shelter that nurtures and protects it is absolutely brutal, even if to some it’s only potential for life. Go ahead and Google what the late-term abortion options are, even the first-trimester options. You will witness brutality in the fullest sense of the word. There is nothing pretty about it.
What makes all this necessary? A person’s right to choose is not at all morally equal to true, reproductive health; contrary to the loud voices out in our nation. Most mother’s lives are not threatened by the birth of a child. Changed, yes, but for those who stick with it through tough times, it’s a change that is always for the better.
The underlying problem, the reason we have so casually accepted such wicked brutality as necessary, is because we are an ever-increasingly autonomous culture. We don’t want to change for others. We don’t want to give things up (think gun control here, too). We don’t want to put others first. And nowhere is that more clearly reflected than the number one argument for abortion – preserving the mother’s right to choose. What a choice that is, too. Life or death, in your hands. The future of a person’s growing, learning, laughing, enjoying, supporting – from cradle to middle school to college to retirement. A person’s entire destiny – their life gets to be decided by one person. Nowhere else do we see such power wielded by the individual. And our culture wants to keep it right there. The fuel that feeds the flame is autonomy.
For some reason, I had never made the connection that the anniversary of Roe v. Wade comes right around the same time as Martin Luther King Jr. day. Talk about an extreme clash of values and worldviews. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for peoples’ rights by advocating community and love – trying to bring people together, not separating them. One of Dr. King’s most well-known sayings goes, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” How sadly ironic that the very nation which continues to push for accountability and equality in racial issues is at the same time advocating for greater brutality against the most helpless and fragile of our world. Have we learned nothing? Dr. King was right. Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Brutality is never the path we should strive for. At times, it is a harsh necessity, but it should never be chosen so long as any other love affirming, life-valuing option exists.
No matter who you are, you already know this. Valuing others is a fundamental right, not the ability to choose whatever I want. It was Christ who summarized what God has written into each human heart, at the moment of conception, when He declared: Matthew 22:37-39 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice you must admit one thing – abortion is darkness – sheer brutality; and we live in a nation that open celebrates and accepts it. When you then consider everything else that you value in life and all the other laws our nation upholds, ask yourself if brutality is really where we should want to be? May God have mercy on our nation!