“Indifference in questions of importance is no amiable quality,” observed the inimitable Samuel Johnson. Always given to eloquent understatement, Johnson understood the deadly danger of moral indifference. Sharing his concern, we should now ask: Have Americans grown indifferent to abortion?
As “partial-birth abortion” emerged into America’s consciousness, an Oregon woman named Jenny Westberg made a series of simple pen-and-ink drawings of the procedure. Those pictures–striking in their simplicity and devastating in their clarity–would change the trajectory of America’s abortion debate. Evil flourishes in the darkness, and Westberg’s drawings brought the murderous abortion procedure to light.
Americans who care deeply about the protection of human life must face one monumental question: How can the American conscience be so apparently untroubled by the reality of abortion? That is the central question raised in an important article published in the November 2004 edition of Harper’s Magazine. In “Gambling With Abortion,” author Cynthia Gorney looks closely at the controversy over the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 and its aftermath, and her article is a wrenching and insightful look at the current status of the abortion issue.
Alexander Sanger wants the pro-abortion movement to get over its legacy of shame and move boldly to claim that abortion is actually a positive moral good. If this shocks you, consider that Mr. Sanger is the grandson of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, and he is on a crusade to transform the abortion debate.
The reality that Americans are increasingly divided over basic issues of meaning, morality, and politics is hardly a new insight, nor can it seriously be denied. Yet the precise contours of our cultural conflict and the depth of ideological division are difficult to measure. Now, along comes one of America’s major newsmagazines to raise the issue in a new way. The cover story for the October 25, 2004 issue of U.S. News and World Report shouts with the headline: “The Deep Divide–Why Voters for Both Sides Are So Angry.” The article, written by reporter Jay Tolson, provides a helpful review and thoughtful analysis of our present political and cultural divisions. At the same time, the article raises more questions than it resolves.
The British people were confronted with the horror and murderous corruption of the Culture of Death when one of the nation’s leading newspapers recently published a series of investigative reports. Those reports continue to send shock waves throughout the nation.
The judicial imposition of the Culture of Death will forever remain one of the great tragedies of American history. Abortion on demand was not made legal in this nation by an act of the people through their elected representatives, nor was it forced by a referendum or popular vote. To the contrary, abortion was legalized in all fifty states only when the United States Supreme Court invented a constitutional right to abortion and imposed its will upon the people of the United States. This arrogant act, rightly defined as the judicial usurpation of the democratic process, is not only foreign to the intention of our Constitutional founders, it is also subversive of the very idea of democracy itself. Now, in a shocking development, the abortion rights movement has published an absolute admission of its anti-democratic ideology. “What If Roe Fell?” is a major report just released by the Center for Reproductive Rights. The report features a state-by-state analysis of how state governments would respond to an overturn of Roe v. Wade. The report offers a fascinating look into the world of state legislation, and an even more fascinating look into the mentality of the Culture of Death.
Human dignity took a big hit yesterday when U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton declared that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 is unconstitutional. This strike-down of the ban on partial-birth abortions came as a single federal judge defied the will of Congress, the President, and the people of the United States. Once again, the rule of law has been replaced by the rule of judges.
Nobel laureate James Watson suggests that it is high time we face up to the meaning of genetic engineering. Watson, it will be remembered, was one of the co-discoverers of the DNA molecule–the achievement recognized by the Nobel Prize.
The Culture of Death is the culture of the lie. The lies include a denial of abortion’s reality–the killing of an innocent human life. Yet, it is not just lies about abortion. The sinister untruth extends to euthanasia–the big lie about “the good death.” The so-called “Dutch cure” that has now found a home in America is not an issue in the ambiguous, uncertain future. It, too, is focused in the very concrete present.
The twenty-first century presents the human race with unprecedented challenges to human dignity and the sacredness of human life. Respect for human life and an affirmation of human dignity are inseparable. Where human life is not respected as a sacred gift, life itself will be debased and devalued–and eventually it will be negotiated away by the culture of death.
The root causes of war are often obvious, as in wars of conquest, wars for territorial expansion, and wars for the redress of perceived injury. Nevertheless, two young researchers now point to an ominous new potential cause for war–a shortage of women. In, Bare Branches: Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population [MIT Press], authors Valerie M. Hudson and Andrea M. den Boer argue that the dramatic shortage of women in Asian societies is likely to lead to violence on the part of “surplus males” that could lead to full-scale war. Their argument makes for compelling reading, and should serve as a wake-up call about the dangers of social engineering.
There has never been a more dangerous time to be a human embryo. Threats to the embryo’s survival include stem-cell research, experiments in human cloning, and recent developments in the science of selecting a baby’s sex. In an age without bioethical boundaries, the embryo has real enemies.
The Culture of Death is losing its grip. When Sen. Diane Feinstein [D-Cal.] took to the Senate floor to fight the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, she complained that the law would offer legal protection to “children who aren’t children.” Her concern was only with the woman seeking an abortion, not with the unborn child within her, so she saw the passage of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act as a direct assault on the logic of abortion rights. “This will be the first strike against all abortion in the United States of America,” she said. “That’s where this debate is taking us. That’s the reason for this bill.”
More often than not, the Culture of Death has been winning key battles over issues of abortion and the status of unborn life. Nevertheless, it now appears that the logic of death may be running out of steam. President Bush recently signed the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act,” and the unborn child is now granted federal protection against violence and murder. The Act, finally passed by both houses of Congress after an intensive effort, defines a “child in utero” as “a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.”
How should we make the case against abortion? Over thirty years after Roe v. Wade, pro-life advocates remain divided on the central issue of argument and strategy. This vital debate was highlighted in the January/February addition of Touchstone magazine, and it deserves the attention of all those who contend for the sanctity of human life and seek to bring an end to the scourge of abortion.
Historian Eric Hobsbawm has described the twentieth century as the age of “megadeath.” The past century’s assaults on human life stagger the imagination and defy computation. With symbols like Auschwitz, the Soviet gulags, and Cambodia’s killing fields, the century stands as a stark reminder that technological advance and moral progress often do not travel through history together.
Do you want girl or a boy? Throughout human history, expectant couples have been asked that question. Now, the question comes with a new twist–advanced technologies that can actually come close to guaranteeing a child of a specific gender. But this technology comes at an unacceptably high moral cost.
Kate Michelman is going out with a bang. President of “NARAL Pro-Choice America” for almost twenty years, Michelman addressed the National Press Club this week and delivered an address that shows she has learned nothing about the sanctity of human life during her tenure at the nation’s leading pro-abortion organization.
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