Every now and then, pro-abortion advocates try to silence pro-life individuals or groups by claiming they have no right to speak in defense of the preborn, for one reason or another. An attack against the validity of an individual or a group’s pro-life witness is an attack on the pro-life movement as a whole. If pro-abortion leaders are the ones deciding who may or may not speak on this issue, they will find a way to silence the pro-life witness of others: Christians, Muslims, Jews, areligious, men, women who have never had abortions, women who have never had disabled children, and so on. And it would not be long before the only ones authorized to speak on abortion are those who promote it.
A recent Harper’s Bazaar piece claimed, “The Catholic Church Has No Moral Argument on Abortions,” in response to Cardinal Dolan’s condemnation of New York’s radical abortion law. The piece has the common refrain of abortion advocates: X group is “disqualified” from speaking on abortion. The author states, “The Catholic Church, given it now admits to forcing some nuns to be sex slaves, doesn’t seem well positioned to lecture on what women should or should not do with their bodies.” While these are horrific and sensational crimes, they are unrelated to the Church’s ability to teach something that it has taught for 2,000 years. The clear goal is to discredit the entire organization based on the atrocious actions of a few.
It’s been a rough time for faithful Catholics. We’ve been caricatured by politicians. And those who once told us that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare” now have made it dangerous, imposed and frequent. Read my full column in the @nypost here: https://t.co/iwYqZXY6A6
— Cardinal Dolan (@CardinalDolan) January 29, 2019
Using another common weapon of abortion advocates, the Harper’s Bazaar author tries to undermine the credibility of the Church’s stance on abortion through insinuation and half-truth: “It was only in 1869 that the fetus was considered ensouled since the moment of conception, and excommunication was considered a punishment for all abortions.” The author falsely implies that abortion was considered moral prior to ensoulment. But the Church always maintained the immorality of abortion from the moment of fertilization, independent of the theological question of ensoulment. The 1st Century Didache points out: “You shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is begotten.”
While some Church theologians had questioned the seriousness of abortion based on a rudimentary understanding of embryology, fetal development, and ideas about the soul, the Church of 1869 extended the penalty of excommunication for all abortions. This reflects the Church’s recognition of scientific advancements that continue to prove human life unequivocally begins at the moment of fertilization.
Modern pro-life Church leaders like Cardinal Dolan don’t consider pro-life beliefs to be strictly religious. In an interview with Fox & Friends, Cardinal Dolan quoted pro-life Democrat and former Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey, Sr.: “I didn’t learn abortion was wrong in the Catechism. I learned abortion was wrong in my biology books, in my study of law, particularly the Declaration of Independence and the 14th Amendment, and in ordinary common sense and human reason.” In the words of the secular pro-life movement, “A human being, this I know, for the embryology textbook tells me so.”
Regardless of the faults of our institutions, we all have the right to speak out in defense of the preborn. We also have a serious obligation to do so, and nobody has the right to take that away. In the pro-life movement, an attack against one is an attack against all. We should never be intimidated by half-truths and vicious insinuations that seek to squelch our pro-life witness, whether we are Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Muslim, or non-religious. The pro-life movement is bigger than any one person or group’s sins or failings, and our witness rests on the science-based reality of when life begins — and our common belief that all human life deserves protection.
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