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My ‘pro-life’ agenda

Anne DeMott | Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I believe that every person is endowed by their Creator with human dignity. However, this is often violated by discrimination, violence, labor injustice, inequity of resources and the killing of innocent life. I have a responsibility to oppose actions that contradict human dignity and support those that affirm it. This absolutely means challenging abuses in the labor market, speaking out against racism, denouncing anti-immigrant attitudes and laws and rejecting homophobia. But the way I see it, this is not enough. Pope John Paul II once asked. “How is it still possible to speak of the dignity of every human person when the killing of the weakest and most innocent is permitted?”

In the same way that it seems senseless for me to oppose abortion without opposing the many other violations of human dignity, I cannot preach a gospel of human dignity without raising my voice on behalf of the unborn. As this belief obligates me to appreciate racial diversity, promote worker rights, welcome newcomers and love people regardless of their sexual orientation, it so too begs me to stand up for the dignity of society’s most vulnerable members, the unborn.  

In response to the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, President Obama offered insightful words:

“They [the children] had their entire lives ahead of them . . . birthdays, weddings, graduations, kids of their own. This is our first task: Caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how as a society we will be judged. Can we truly say we’re doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives? We’re not doing enough. We will have to change. We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex and that is true . . . but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this. If there’s even one step we can take to save another child, then surely we have the obligation to try.”

I am grateful to our president for recognizing the dignity of these children and the value of each of their lives.

Similarly, I am grateful to the hundreds of Notre Dame students and faculty who raised their voices on behalf of our nation’s unborn children by participating in the annual March for Life this past Friday. As a “pro-life” woman, my agenda is about one thing: human dignity. Sometimes, trying to support human dignity requires change, and sometimes it means holding on to traditional values. Sometimes it means some of each. It is not a liberal or conservative agenda and it is not about vilifying those who disagree with me. Human dignity. That’s all. That’s everything! An important part of affirming human dignity is showing everyone, even those with whom I disagree, respect, celebrating the beliefs we share and working together to better our world. Surely we can do better than this. If there’s even one step we can take to promote the dignity of humankind, then surely we have the obligation to try.

Anne DeMott is a senior theology major and education, schooling and society minor. She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.