What a difference a few days can make. On January 17, President Trump issued a statement declaring National Sanctity of Human Life Day. “Every human life is a gift to the world,” the statement began. “Whether born or unborn, young or old, healthy or sick, every person is made in the holy image of God.”
It concluded, “On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, we promise to continue speaking out for those who have no voice. We vow to celebrate and support every heroic mother who chooses life. And we resolve to defend the lives of every innocent and unborn child, each of whom can bring unbelievable love, joy, beauty, and grace into our Nation and the entire world.”
Five days later, the newly inaugurated President Biden issued a very different statement, marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. To compare the two statements is to experience something akin to moral whiplash.
“In the past four years, reproductive health, including the right to choose, has been under relentless and extreme attack,” President Biden wrote. A Biden-Harris administration, he continued, is “deeply committed to making sure everyone has access to care – including reproductive health care.”
It is typical of abortion supporters that even in promoting abortion they simply cannot bring themselves to say the “A-word” – i.e. abortion. Instead, they hide behind vague and marketable euphemisms – the “right to choose,” “health care,” “reproductive health care” – as if they intuitively feel that the word “abortion” signifies something reprehensible, and not-to-be-named.
President Biden’s statement also reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to enshrining Roe v. Wade in federal law – a radical move that would make it even more difficult to overturn legal abortion. He also vowed to appoint justices that support legal abortion.
Archbishop Naumann: Biden’s Plan ‘Deeply Disturbing’
The damage that codifying Roe v. Wade would wreak on our nation and the world would be unparalleled.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, in a statement responding to President Biden, summarized it well. “It is deeply disturbing and tragic that any President would praise and commit to codifying a Supreme Court ruling that denies unborn children their most basic human and civil right, the right to life, under the euphemistic disguise of a health service,” he said.
The archbishop pointed to the wording of the Catholic Catechism, which states, “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.”
Roe v. Wade, continued the archbishop, “paved the way for the violent deaths of more than 62 million innocent unborn children and for countless women who experience the heartache of loss, abandonment, and violence. We strongly urge the President to reject abortion and promote life-affirming aid to women and communities in need.”
In a recent homily at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Cardinal Raymond Burke also addressed Biden’s diabolic plan.
“We live in times when it can seem that the evil one is succeeding in his program of lies and death,” said His Eminence. “In our own nation, the federal government wants to codify as law the totally unjust decision of the Supreme Court which made legal abortion-on-demand, and to impose upon schools the teaching of the iniquitous gender theory.”
The Far-Reaching Damages of Legal Abortion
In legalizing abortion, the Supreme Court in 1973 made a life and death decision for millions of unborn Americans, radically affecting how people think of human sexuality, procreation, and human life.
Do we believe human beings have value and should be protected? Or are they disposable when they are “defective” or “unwanted” or the “wrong sex”? The answers to these questions tell us what kind of people we are.
Inevitably, this decision has had ripple effects, devaluing human life not just before birth, but throughout life. Abortion establishes a mindset that certain people have value, while others do not, based upon certain, arbitrary criteria. To codify Roe v. Wade would further entrench this mindset.
In Evangelium Vitae, Pope St. John Paul II put it this way: “Disregard for the right to life, precisely because it leads to the killing of the person whom society exists to serve, is what most directly conflicts with the possibility of achieving the common good. Consequently, a civil law authorizing abortion or euthanasia ceases by that very fact to be a true, morally binding civil law.” (no. 72)
Judge Andrew Napolitano made the same point a couple of years ago, in a powerful article responding to a horrific new abortion law in New York, which legalized abortion up to birth. “No society that permits the active or passive killing of people because they are unwanted can long survive,” he said. “No society that defines away personhood has any claim to knowing right from wrong. Whose personhood will the government define away next?”
In part, we already know the answer to that question. Across the developed world, the push has been on in recent years to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. While initially these practices are always promoted as something that will only be available to those facing imminent death from terminal illnesses, in reality the practice inevitably expands, soon being offered to (or, in some cases, pushed on) those suffering from various non-fatal physical and mental illnesses and disabilities.
This is not surprising. Every scientific fact we know about human life affirms resoundingly that the unborn child is a complete and genetically unique human being. And yet, the unborn child is unprotected by the laws that defend every other human being, simply because he has the disadvantage of being inside his mother’s womb. Why is it surprising that our anti-life “ethicists” would soon find other criteria that make certain human lives “less valuable” than others?
Legal abortion is the breach in the wall, the breach that the enemies of life can use to invade the house and bring down the entire structure.
Have Hope: Legalized Abortion is Not Inevitable
Faced with the radicalness of a Biden-Harris administration, and the wealth and power of the organizations and individuals that are pushing for ever more liberal abortion laws, it can be easy to give in to despair, to assume that the war is lost, and that legal abortion is inevitable.
As Cardinal Burke said in his homily of January 24: “In the face of such seemingly ineluctable developments we are naturally tempted to discouragement and even to the abandonment of the battle against the evil one in his program of lies and murder.”
This, however, would be a horrible mistake. Certainly, the pro-life movement often feels like David going out against Goliath – armed only with a handful of stones, in the face of a powerful force clad in impregnable armor. However, we know the end of that story, and therefore what things are possible with God.
We can get a taste of the good things that are possible in the recent news out of Honduras. When, a few weeks ago, Argentina voted to legalize abortion, many activists assumed that this would be the beginning of a domino effect in Latin America, where abortion remains outlawed in most nations. With Argentina having fallen to the pro-abortion forces, many thought it would only be a matter of time before other Latin American nations followed.
Instead, Honduras reacted by doing the exact opposite – proactively moving to strengthen their pro-life laws, making it nearly impossible for the nation to overturn its longstanding abortion ban, enshrined in its constitution. In a vote of 88 to 28, the Honduran Congress voted to require a three-quarters majority of Congress to make changes to the constitution.
The bill’s sponsor, Vice-President of the Honduran Parliament Mario Pérez, explained that the legislation was explicitly designed to ensure that Honduras did not cave to the international pressure that has caused other pro-life nations to legalize abortion. “[T]hat cannot be allowed to happen in Honduras,” he said.
In America, we must respond to the push by the Biden-Harris administration to further liberalize abortion law with the same fighting spirit and firm resolve.
We should take heart from the words of Cardinal Burke, who in his homily assured his listeners: “Christ is with us to win the battle if only we engage it – yes, with our seemingly little and insignificant forces. Our weak and poor hearts, united to the royal heart of Christ the King, became strong and rich, for the transformation of our homes and thus of our neighborhoods, our nation and our world.”