Respect life beyond this week
Louis Bertolotti | Wednesday, October 7, 2015
History was made last week when Pope Francis became the first Pope to address a joint session of Congress. Throughout his speech, he stressed that we all have a “responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.” This fundamental principle is not just a Christian ideal but also a founding principle of the West as a whole and more specifically, of our own nation.
The Declaration of Independence states that it is a “self-evident truth” that all men are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
It is of the utmost importance to note the first of these rights is the right to life. Your unalienable right to life is your primary right because, without it, none of your other rights would be possible.
The Declaration of Independence goes on to tell us the reason that “governments are instituted among men” is in order to “secure these [aforementioned] rights” and that “whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.”
With these words in mind, we must realize that it is our duty as a people to “alter or abolish” our current form of government.
Since Jan. 22, 1973, the day Justice Harry Blackmun and his unelected colleagues decided the case of Roe v. Wade, it has been estimated over 53 million human lives have been lost to abortion. Fifty-three million. It is hard to conceptualize that number, but 53 million is nearly 18 percent of our country’s current population. Fifty-three million is almost double the population of Texas, and it is almost 570 times the amount of Americans we lost to World War II.
Abortion is currently legal in all 50 states. In all but two, it is legal to get an abortion up to 20 weeks or later in the pregnancy. In seven states, there are no restrictions on the point at which a woman can obtain an abortion.
This position is simply anti-science when fetal development is considered. A baby’s heart starts beating around six weeks. He or she develops usage of the eyes at 14 weeks. The baby can hear by week 20. He or she begins to suck the thumb from 20 weeks onward. Worst of all, babies in the womb feel pain as early as 17 weeks and no later than 26 weeks into the term.
How is it we are looking for unicellular bacterial “life” on Mars while we refuse to acknowledge the life of a human being with eyes, ears, a heartbeat and the ability to feel pain?
The latest studies have found 21 percent of all pregnancies in America end in the abortion of the fetus. That percent rises to 40 percent of unplanned pregnancies. These numbers are staggering. These numbers are unacceptable.
This past weekend, I was lucky enough to attend a political conference in Columbus, Ohio, for the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative organization. Throughout the weekend, nearly all of the students I met, from colleges all across the country, said the issue most important to them was abortion. The more science has revealed to us about the humanity of the fetus, the more we, as former fetuses ourselves, have come to realize we have this wrong.
The documents that founded America set up more than a country, they set up an idea. The idea of America, that all men are created equal and are deserving of natural rights, did not reflect the reality of its era. It was instead a vision for society — the ultimate telos. Throughout our history, we have fought a number of battles to bring ourselves closer to this goal. One generation took up the fight against the forced bondage of a race. Another one battled for civil rights for all Americans in all regions of the country. These fights were not partisan, but instead were generational. They were fought because the young people of our country knew the older generation was robbing them of their America.
Our current policies on abortion are more liberal than those of secular Europe. They put us on the same grounds as China, North Korea and Russia. Each generation has its fight. Ours must be the fight for life, from conception to natural death.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Whenever I hear one arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.” It is time to apply the lessons of Abe’s struggle to the modern age. It is time to unite as a generation against the inhumanity and unconstitutionality of the abortion laws of our country. It is time to bring the idea of America into reality.
Fifty-three million is too many.
I encourage everyone to participate in the events occurring for Respect Life week this week. A full schedule of events can be found at www3.nd.edu/~prolife
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.