Monday, January 24, 2011

More than Right and Wrong, More than Roe v. Wade

Today is the March for Life in Washington, D.C. and I am not there, sadly. I am very okay with not being there, though. The March should have been over the weekend, on January 22, the actual anniversary of Roe v. Wade, but for some reason decided to do it on the following Monday.

I'd like to go next year, especially if I can procur tickets to the Verizon Center Rally. 30,000+ Catholics, young and old, religious and laity, families and single people- celebrating the Mass together. I'm not even charismatic, but I swear I could feel the Holy Spirit moving the last two times I went. It is an amazing experience, even for those who are not Catholic. The homily is always touching and glorious. I still remember the one from two years ago, which absolutely gave me chills.

To date, 53 million babies have died from abortion. I think it is safe to say, that is a lot of people over a 38 year period. I can see the rationale for legalized abortion, but the arguments are not persuasive. The women's health argument amuses me because our medical advancements are amazing, and if women hundreds of years ago could have twice to three times the number of kids and be okay, so can we. Also, STDs are rampant now. That's not very healthy at all!

The reproductive freedom argument is ironic because women have the freedom to do whatever they want sexually, but freedom is not freedom if it deprives another of it in the process. Pregnancy is usually the result of having sex, also known as "biological repercussions" according to NY MagazineThe argument that a fetus is not a person, however, goes against common logic and knowledge. I really am amazed how, in a country as technically advanced as ours, that the question of a baby's personhood is even questioned. Or, even if it is a person, it doesn't have rights.

The selection of who has rights and who does not is a sandy hill. First babies, then mentally retarded people, then old people, then... what? Who comes next? Who's going to put up the least amount of resistance? Does this really come down to a might makes right argument?

A FB friend posted part of the 1996 movie "Extreme Measures," which is about a doctor (Gene Hackman) who is secretly killing homeless men and harvesting their stem cells in order to cure disease. This is the scene of the movie where Hugh Grant's character confronts him.

I haven't seen the movie, but the clip definitely gave me pause for thought.

When I was a sophomore in college, I wrote a Letter to the Editor in response to an article written about Proposition 2, called "Prop 2 OK'd, merits outrage" (I did NOT write the title). I would like to share it here:

The New York Times recently ran this befuddling headline: "Colombian army commander resigns in scandal over killing of civilians."

Scandal? The word hardly seemed fitting. Reserve "scandal" for a story involving money laundering or nights spent with loose women and plenty of alcohol; a story to blush about today, laugh about tomorrow. Remember the time Gen. Mario Montoya was linked to the killing of civilians by armed forces? Ho, ho, ho. Oh, Mario.

His slap on the wrist included resignation from his post without a trip to the ice cream parlor afterwards, but, as the Times went on to report, there is no word at present on whether Montoya or any of the other military personnel involved will be held accountable in court.

This is why America is great: our judicial system holds criminals accountable. There are people in the world willing to kill innocent civilians and, moreover, not think twice about the loss of a life. These killings, however, are not reserved for terrorists or madmen.

On Nov. 4, Michiganders passed Proposition 2. It legalizes unrestricted research on live human embryos, allows the buying, selling and destroying of human embryos, and replaces the state power with federal.

Juliana D'Amico's article "Proposal 2 sparks pro-life vs. pro-family controversy" in last week's Collegian says that "according to Dewitt, passing this one proposal would turn a crime into a heroic action and a restricted science into an unrestricted science funded by Michigan tax dollars." Never again will scientists have to ask what they cannot do in the name of research; the field is open and ready for exploration.

Not surprisingly, this issue parallels abortion. To many, abortion is not killing a baby but making a choice. They do not recognize life they cannot palpably see without an ultrasound machine. Instead, they think the fetus is a mass of cells, not a human being who deserves life.

Likewise, using human embryonic stem cells in research labs, without any restrictions of what scientists may or may not do, degrades the dignity of early human life. In the name of research, Prop. 2 denies these embryos their potential for human life.

To say that one must die so that another may live is to say that one life is worth more than another. But God did not put a price on life and neither should we. Not all ends are justified by the means; every life is worth preserving, and it is not anyone's job to decide who takes precedence.

Stem cell research is important, especially for loved ones suffering from diseases. My own great-grandmother had both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and it was difficult to watch such a vivacious mind disintegrate.

Nevertheless, she never would have been in favor of Prop. 2. Her moral compass was steadfast, and she would have immediately seen the morality issues at stake.

Pope John Paul II wrote in "Evangelium Vitae" that the world has become a "culture of death," willing to be morally ambiguous when it comes to the sanctification of life. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that "since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being."

Human embryonic stem cell research is not a Catholic issue, or even a religious one. This is an issue all liberty-loving people can embrace. There are injustices being done in this country to the most defenseless life forms of all. It is impossible to be a true American without the belief in life, liberty and freedom for all - even persons unseen.

In the recently released February issue of First Things, they had a great quote from a Catholic News Service reporter, posing a question to former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who first talked about "the Word" being her favorite word. Pelosi is a Roman Catholic and is pro-abortion, which goes against the Catholic Church's teaching on life.

CNS reporter: “So, when was the Word made flesh? Was it at the Annunciation when Jesus was conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit like the Creed says? Or was it at the Nativity when he was born to the Virgin Mary?”

Pelosi: “Well, wherever it was, we bow our heads when we talk about it in church and that’s where I’d like to talk about that… Next question?”

Oh, don't worry, they got it on camera:

Finally, an excerpt from Blessed Pope John-Paul II's encyclical, "Dives in misericordia":

"If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven"

The more the human conscience succumbs to secularization, loses its sense of the very meaning of the word "mercy," moves away from God and distances itself from the mystery of mercy, the more the Church has the right and the duty to appeal to the God of mercy "with loud cries." (Mt 15, 23) These "loud cries" should be the mark of the Church of our times...

Modern man often anxiously wonders about the solution to the terrible tensions which have built up in the world and which entangle humanity. And if at times he lacks the courage to utter the word "mercy," or if in his conscience empty of religious content he does not find the equivalent, so much greater is the need for the Church to utter his word, not only in her own name but also in the name of all the men and women of our time. She must utter an ardent prayer, a cry that implores mercy according to the needs of man in the modern world.

May this cry be full of that truth about mercy which has found such rich expression in Sacred Scripture and in Tradition, as also in the authentic life of faith of countless generations of the People of God. With this cry let us, like the sacred writers, call upon the God who cannot despise anything that He has made, the God who is faithful to Himself, to His fatherhood and His love.

Also, Mary DeTurris Poust at OSV blogged "March For Life: What's at Stake" and touched on the abortionist who was recently convicted of the murder of 7 babies, born alive, and one mother as well. Heavy thoughts, but worth a perusal.

Happy Monday!

1 comment:

  1. The March seems to be always during the weekday so as to make a bigger impact (disrupting traffic, closing streets, flooding the Metro, making lawmakers and regulators aware). I love the high visibility of this PARTICULAR event, but I have to admit it's always frustrating to get to work/school and I start grumbling. Maybe next year, you can come out and we can go together!