No Room for Apathy
President Donald Trump echoed the thoughts of millions of Americans last week during his State of the Union Address, when he highlighted the grisly push for late-term abortion sweeping parts of the country in recent weeks.
“There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days,” he said, and continued:
Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he basically stated he would execute a baby after birth.
The President asked that Congress pass pain-capable abortion legislation, which would ban abortions after about 20 weeks, adding: “Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children – born and unborn – are made in the holy image of God.”
“Baby.” “Ripped from the mother’s womb.” “Living, feeling, beautiful babies.” “Innocent life.” Not a single euphemism in sight. What an extraordinary thing to hear the President of the United States highlighting the humanity of the unborn baby, and calling out pro-abortion extremism, in such clear, unambiguous language before all the nation (and indeed the world!).
I remember hearing a story told by a pro-life activist who had just attended a public debate between a pro-abortion and pro-life advocate, during which the pro-life advocate repeatedly spoke of “killing babies.” Afterwards this activist happened to be in an elevator with a number of people from the audience who were pro-abortion. At first there was silence. And then one of the individuals spoke up: “Babies. Killing. You just can’t argue with that!”
That’s the power of simple, truthful language of the kind that President Trump used. And that’s how we need to talk about abortion. With short, straightforward, truthful words, words that reveal rather than conceal, as do the hazy euphemisms contrived by abortion propagandists.
Democrats’ Race to the Bottom
Shamefully, almost all the Democrats in the chamber (Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia was a rare exception) sat stone-faced in their seats during this section of the President’s speech, while Republicans leapt to their feet to applaud. Many watching were struck by how Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, on whom the camera happened to focus, even seemed to be smirking during the President’s remarks.
This is tragic. Protecting the dignity of unborn human life is not and should not be a single-party issue. That it has become a single-party issue is detrimental to the pro-life movement and the whole country. Unfortunately, however, the facts are that the entire Democratic party appears resolutely committed to burning every bridge and continuing its headlong rush down the path of abortion extremism.
In his speech, Trump could also have pointed out how Senate Democrats blocked a vote on a bill last Monday that would have protected babies born alive after botched abortions. (Update since this article was first published: House and Senate attempts to introduce a voice vote on Born Alive legislation have now been blocked over 45 times.) Or he could have mentioned the extreme bills sponsored by Democrats in states like Vermont and Rhode Island that would legalize or loosen restrictions on late-term abortions.
The Senate bill, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, was introduced by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.). It would have required that doctors present at the birth of a baby who survived a botched abortion “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence” to preserve that baby’s life as they would with any other baby.
Reasonably enough, Sen. Sasse had sought to obtain unanimous consent for the bill. “[F]rankly, this shouldn’t be hard” to pass, he noted. After all, who could possibly object to making clear in law that any baby born alive must be cared for, rather than being left to die (as we know for a fact has often happened)? As it turns out, plenty of Democrats.
On the other hand, why are we surprised? Let’s not forget that President Barack Obama repeatedly voted against a similar bill when he was a state senator in Illinois, even after language was added to the bill explicitly stating that the bill would have no effect on legal abortion. In other words, President Obama was so extreme on abortion that he explicitly voted against outlawing infanticide. And no one in his own party ever thought to criticize him for that. Quite the contrary.
Bizarrely, and tellingly, Virginia Democrats also didn’t blink an eye after Gov. Ralph Northam expressed a disturbingly callous disregard for the fate of infants born alive after failed abortions a few weeks ago. But when, a few days after the radio interview in which he appeared to support infanticide, a racist photo in which the governor appeared over 30 years ago surfaced. Suddenly, Gov. Northam went from the hero of the fight for “women’s rights” to persona non grata, condemned and vilified by everyone in his party.
This is the strange, topsy-turvy world in which we now live: a racist photo (and I’m not denying the photo was awful) from decades ago is enough to draw down the merciless wrath of social justice warriors, regardless of whether or not the person involved is now racist, while unapologetic current support for killing fully formed babies, even after birth, is cause for celebration.
The Culture of Death Exposed
In a way, I suppose, we have reason to be thankful for these developments these past few weeks. The Culture of Death thrives in secrecy, silence, obscurity and confusion. Most people in the country, sadly, rarely if ever give much or any thought to abortion. Most of these same people are fundamentally decent. But they are unaccountably comfortable leaving this life-and-death issue to the “experts.”
And most of the “experts” excel at using opaque, confusing language designed to mislead. In consequence, many are misled. Even many who are fundamentally uncomfortable with abortion refuse to do anything about it, since – they rationalize – it’s a “complex” issue best left “between a woman and her doctor” – echoing the carefully-crafted language of professional abortion propagandists.
Now, however, thanks to the extremism of the likes of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Ralph Northam, we have news anchors and journalists openly discussing (whether they want to or not) the “killing” of “unborn babies”; we have the President of the United States exposing and calling out the extremism of Democrats; we have ordinary citizens widely sharing and debating videos of these extreme remarks, discussing embryology, and confronting the inner logic of the Culture of Death, which inevitably leads from abortion to infanticide and beyond.
In many cases, alas, this may not be enough to change a person’s mind from being pro-choice to pro-life. Human beings exhibit an extraordinary capacity to delude themselves into accepting contradictory propositions, such as that abortion late in pregnancy is a horrific evil, but earlier in pregnancy it’s harmless. However, this public debate, in conjunction with the tools that we now have that we did not have before – such as high-definition 3D ultrasounds – ensure that it is far harder for ordinary citizens not to choose a side.
One senses great darkness and great confusion in our country right now. Divisions are being exposed. There is blood in the water. Public discourse has become venomous. The frantic rush by pro-abortion politicians to instantiate the most extreme form of legal abortion is but one sign of the spiritual sickness of our country. However, in the midst of this chaos, there is opportunity. Darkness is being exposed for what it is. Light is being shone.
It is critical right now that pro-life individuals magnify the light. Speak up. We cannot be afraid of the condemnation of the powerful voices of the Culture of Death. We must be willing to risk comfort, prestige, and respect in order to give voice to the voiceless. Share the truth about abortion on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Don’t be afraid to object when someone in your workplace derides the pro-life movement or defends these extreme anti-abortion laws. Don’t hesitate to – charitably but firmly – challenge your pastor to use the pulpit to speak the truth and to defend Catholic teaching.
There is a war on for the soul of our country, and for the lives of its most innocent citizens. Apathy is not an option.