25 January 2012
Gestating a Respect for Personhood
January 22nd is the 39th Anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade which open the floodgates across America for abortion on demand. Associate Justice Harry Blackman mooted some state anti-abortion laws in his 1973 majority opinion under the guise of an unwritten “right to privacy” that was contained in penumbras and emanations of the bill of rights as applied to states via the Fourteenth Amendment. This vague and confusing “logic” was the legal modus operandi for the judicial branch to legislate from the bench by imposing progressive moral sensibilities as "choices".
Pro-Life protestors have demonstrated in our Nation’s Capitol every year around that January 22nd anniversary to protest this perceived injustice to the unborn. Tens of thousands (organizers estimated up to 400,000) to take a stand for anti-abortion policies. But you would never know it if you relied upon the elite Lamestream Media. For the fifth year a row, the print edition of the New York Times ignored this story, yet they were happy to highlight the motley meager mob of Occupy Wall Street protestors for months on end. Perhaps because the 99% redistributionists are the cat’s paw of Obama Presidential re-election campaign.
From my vantage point at a staging area and comfort station on Capitol Hill, it is impossible to give precise numbers. But I can note that 200 dozen donuts were ordered and by 5 p.m. that 95% percent were consumed just at one small church basement. The Immaculate Conception National Shrine is the second largest Christian church in America, behind Washington’s National Cathedral, so it can comfortably seat 4,000 worshipers. But the Vigil for Life prior to the March typically draws a crowd of 8,000 strong in the Upper Church. That does not account for the Mass for Young People at Verizon Center that hold 19,000 faithful nor the Mass at the DC Armory. And that’s just part of the Catholic contingent. But when the Washington Post runs a story about the event, the picture is cropped to hide the crowds size. Even better is CBS Washington newsite which “covered” the March for Life but all five of their photos were Pro Abortion supporters. Could the media be biased or shaping the news? Maybe such dissenters to the secular humanist norm are not really persons. Heavens (sic).
Although the large numbers of pro-life participants are impressive, they are not as important as speaking truth to power. As Soviet dissident author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn affirmed in his 1970 Nobel Lecture-- “One word of truth outweighs the world”.
The commitment that March for Life participants made to represent their beliefs were impressive. A group of 180 students traveled 24 hours on a bus from outside Naples, Florida to live their faith for the sanctity of human life.
What was truly touching for me was the earnestness of an adult leader from Springfield, Illinois. Our conversation was prompted by the distinct graphic on the group’s tee-shirts. The gentleman proudly showed me a picture on his cell phone of his grandson who only lived for fifteen minutes before dying. Presumably, it was a difficult pregnancy, yet the mother insisted on taking it to term as every human life is precious. The youth group surprised the leader by adopting his deceased son as their “mascot” by dedicating their march to him and using footprints as their symbol. To reinforce that they did not just care abstractly about life in the womb, their banner was emblazoned with footprints of children from an early day care center.
A placard from another group echoed preciousness of all human life by using Dr. Seuss’ Horton as a symbol with the message: “A person’s a person no matter how small”. For those who may have trouble stomaching the gruesome realities of ripping a fetus from a womb, this childrens’ literary conceit ought to make the same point.
The 2012 March for Life was even more poignant, especially after the Obama Administration utterly abrogated religious liberty by bureaucratically dictating that all American health plans must include no-cost contraception, despite earlier assurances that there would be a conscience clause. During his homily at the National Shrine, New York Cardinal designate Archbishop Timothy Dolan was a happy warrior yet he pulled no punches in speaking his peace. Dolan acknowledged that most of the worshipers had been there all night in a vigil for life so they might not be aware of two items in the news. Dolan ad-libbed from his prepared text that the first piece of “good news” is that the NEW YORK Giants were going to the Superbowl [ed.- apologies to Vice President Biden and the San Francisco Giants (sic)]. The other news is that due to icy roads, the Federal Government will be opening three hours later. Dolan joked that was three hours fewer that the government could take away more American religious liberties. That was both amusing yet too true.
Social media was another forum for considering the merits of personhood. An evocative picture revealing the reality hidden in the womb was accompanied by a “Modest Proposal” styled story about a beleaguered mother who was pregnant again but instead of a being offered an abortion, the gynocologist was willing to kill her firstborn instead. A dissenter from this pro-life parable was an earnest student who “crossed the pond” to pursue course-work on evolutionary biology. The abortion friendly interlocutor objected to equating a child who can dream and experience with a cluster of “biochemically-active tissue”. Hoping to bolster a spirited yet thoughtful colloquy, I pressed the budding scientist pro argumento for a probative test for WORTHY human life and how such a standard could be applied today.
As the exchange evolved, the B.S. candidate admitted that he was also in favor of eugenics for defects like Downs Syndrome. His definition on “real” human life (my words) centered on development of the embryo’s nervous system, for which he admitted that a simple probative test could not be cited. I noted that his supposed baseline on worthy human beings as having dreams and experiences was mooted by the application of eugenics. If the community decides whether a person is worthy, it is not likely to be delimited to genetic defects. What if the proto-person is the wrong sex or race–after all, it’s a woman’s body (sic)? What if that being is deemed handicapped? Moreover, why why should community standards on worthy human life stop at the womb?
Absent moral or ethical standards, anything goes. Progressives are convinced that they are so much smarter than “flawed” traditional thinking. But not everything is easily measurable. Einstein postulated “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted”. When I noted that the science was unconvincing and in that case we ought to err on the side of caution. That sentiment prompted the well worn bromides over a woman’s right to her body and being free to choose etc...
What the cyber chautauqua showed me is that abortion advocates can not bear to consider to discern personhood. Although aborted fetuses are the most dramatic victims of the callousness of character to deny personhood, it seems that liberals deem conscientious objectors of their progressive sensitivities as also not being worthy of attention or protection.