WHY I AM NOT PRO LIFE


chen-hu-1443145-unsplash.jpg

1. Because I am Anti-Abortion. Some may say that to be anti-abortion rather than pro-life is just a quarrel over words, but I’d like to think that it is more than a mere logomachy; in my mind, it is a difference of atmosphere. The thing I am trying to describe is not simply the idea of advocating a thing, it is more so the idea of attacking a thing, for two strong reasons. For example, my first reaction in response to abortion is total terror, like when a man sees a woman in the mouth of a crocodile. Now, a man who witnesses that does not necessarily take the time to compose in his mind a reflective and relaxed thesis on the pros and cons of exactly why that woman should not be an animal’s appetizer. He also, shockingly, does not consider the fact that the woman’s dress may be ripped apart in the rescue process. And, to the dismal disappointment of socialists everywhere, he does not contemplate the kind of health care that may be available to her before he attempts the rescue. What he does do is react rather immoderately against the fact that a human life will be indiscriminately killed.

To extend the analogy further, if that man also discovers that the crocodile is just the pet of some sinister zookeeper who is colluding with the woman’s mother in a plot to kill her, his terror turns to horror. He is no longer reacting only against the terror of killing, but also against the horror of murder. And what he does is what any sane man would do: he inadvertently kicks, stabs or shoots the beast until it dies.

Likewise, the only sane and solemn response towards the sinister atrocity of abortion is to kick it until it dies. It is to fight against it tooth and nail, blow by blow, until the great Leviathan is drowned in its own blood. The idea of caution in the face of such evil as abortion is closer to the idea of cowardice. To complain that the phrase ‘anti-abortion’ is negative is to convolute and grossly misunderstand the crisis. It is to completely misunderstand that we are at war with abortion. War is not a positive thing. It is only a positive thing to the man who starts it. But the truth is that when a man says that he is anti-abortion, he is making a declaration of war upon that evil; and a declaration of war is the only honorable way to fight a foe—even the brutish and barbaric foe of abortion.

2. Because I am Anti-Euphemism. We live in an age of euphemism. Instead of mustering the courage to call a spade a spade we would rather use terms that cover everything and touch nothing. Thus, we never really get to grips with our opponents. That is the second reason why I dislike the word Pro Life; because it misses the main point of the argument. Our opponents are birth preventionists. They will do anything to prevent the birth of a child; even murder that child in the womb (and, in some cases, when it is partially outside of the womb). They call this position pro choice, which is an obvious euphemism for pro abortion. So, given the fact that our opponents are pro abortion, the obvious name to represent our counter position would be pro birth. But instead of simply stating that we are pro birth, we have allowed the equally vague phrase ‘pro life’ to represent our position; and so we are left with a term that is just as oily as the term we oppose.

Additionally, pro life activity has become associated with being what many call “whole life” activity. In other words, the pro life position has been hijacked by the belief that every other social cause associated with human life should be of equal importance to the issue of abortion. Again, this is a mistake. Having a policy of moral economics is quite important, but it does not compare to having a policy of unchecked infanticide. And anyone who thinks that economics and infanticide are on the same moral level is either morally misguided or delusional. In the words of the late Cardinal John O’Connor, “I simply don’t see the rationale in saying that a politician is for better housing, a lower rate of unemployment, a more rational foreign policy—and the only thing wrong is that he supports abortion, so it’s okay to vote for him. You have to go back to the basic question: What is abortion? Do you think it’s the taking of innocent human life or don’t you? If you do, then translate it: How can we talk about a rational foreign policy or the horrors of nuclear war if we hold the position that you can take innocent human life?”

3. Because I am Pro Capital Punishment. As opposed to the fashionable pacifism and mushy materialism of our times, I believe in capital punishment for certain capital crimes; that is, I believe that in some cases, it may be just, according to natural law, that some criminals should be physically punished to the point of death. I think that capital punishment is morally good because it is based upon the judicial concept of expiation—that is, paying back a debt for crimes against society—even at the cost of life.

Many opponents of capital punishment cite the sanctity of human life as a reason to oppose its implementation, but the whole point of capital punishment is that it exists because of the sanctity of human life. Life is so sacred that for us, to kill it unjustly is one of the gravest of sins and subsequently requires one of the gravest of punishments. That is the whole difference between killing and murder. To murder is to kill an innocent human life. And that kind of killing is and always has been abhorrent to the mass of mankind and deserving of the greatest of punishments. For opponents of capital punishment, it becomes difficult to explain, in the face of justice, how a man who takes the life of another in cold blood should not pay for that crime by having his own life taken in cold blood; and the issue only compounds when the criminal has taken multiple lives at the same time. Capital punishment should be rare, but so should murder; and hopefully, in the face of such consequence, murder may be deterred.

4. Because I am Pro Just War. During the middle ages, St. Thomas Aquinas enunciated the theory of the Just War by stating the three qualifications of it: that it must be condoned by authority, that it must be waged for a just cause and that it must be fought with a right intention. I am convinced that these reasons make up the right criteria for any real war. Some have said that there is no war in history that could be qualified based upon these reasons, but I would answer to the contrary; the trouble is that almost every war in history is based upon these reasons, just as almost every lawsuit is based upon two parties that both believe they are right. But it is no answer to say that because both people say that they are right, that one of them is not wrong. There isn’t one judge in a hundred that would believe that. The point, however, is that the pro life argument does not include a proper response to the issue of Just War and because of this, it is not an effective name.

5. Because I am Pro Family. The first principle that makes up my social philosophy and therefore comprises my answer to almost every social cause is the fact that I believe the family to be the cornerstone to any society. Without the family you cannot have society and that is because society is simply composed of a collection of families. In fact, the family is a society within itself with its own laws, court, worship, festivities, and self-sustaining ability. Those who reject the tradition of truth about the family, that it is comprised of man, woman, and child, are cutting the ladder from under themselves. Every foe of the family was raised in a family; that is the enduring paradox of social commentary in our times.

As Chesterton said, the family “cannot be destroyed, it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.” But the right of the unborn to be born is more than just a self-evident principle; it’s part of the social philosophy of any society. And that philosophy must be pro family. It must regard the unborn, not merely as wards of the state, or as numbers to be tallied in population density charts, but rather it must regard the unborn as kings and priests, as citizens and saints. It must protect the unborn as though it is protecting itself from an intruder or invader. The family is the borderland between civilization and barbarism. It is the birthplace of any nation and the factory that manufactures mankind.