Politics & Policy

The Texas Abortion Law after Half a Century of Roe

A mother, an anti-abortion rights advocate, stands with a newborn baby in front of Planned Parenthood at a rally in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., June 4, 2019. (REUTERS/Lawrence Bryant)
Now is the time to build a culture of life and a civilization of love.

Like everyone under the age of 50, I was born after Roe v. Wade. It’s worth reflecting: If our parents knew what we’d experience in life and the mistakes we would make, would they have decided otherwise? Terrorist attacks. A global pandemic. And all our imperfections, which we can probably easily list — I sure can for myself. Would they have said: Let’s spare her and us? But what if they had lived under nearly half a century of legal abortion in a culture that is getting bolder about demanding assurance of security and lack of imperfections?

“Follow the science” has been one of the coronavirus-pandemic mantras. When it comes to abortion, the science is clear and has been for quite a bit now. In some pregnancies, sonograms begin the photo albums for the child. In other pregnancies, what the mother doesn’t get to see, the doctor uses to guide the ending of this early life. Abortion has been so successful in ending lives in America because of euphemisms and pressures. We look away. We don’t let young women see what is happening, what abortion is. Girls are told — sometimes by their mothers — that they are too young. That their lives will be miserable and never amount to anything if they embrace the motherhood that is already a part of who they are. That’s not how Mom puts it, of course, but all her hopes for her daughter are strangled by the fear of this new life disrupting plans. But do we ever want to be in the position where we are destroying life?

Shouldn’t we be embracing it, as we welcome every new spring with grateful expectation for the beauty to come — in amazement? There’s work to be done, but how can we help but to be enchanted by creation? Whatever the circumstances of a pregnancy, we are a part of creation, creating with God, even if that was not the intention. Something beautiful comes from what might have been a slip or a mistaken sense of having to give away what is so precious to a man who didn’t deserve it. But that young woman deserves better than to be forced into an abortion. And that’s what all too often happens. Advocates of abortion talk about the poor women who won’t have access to abortion when it is restricted. Do poor women not deserve to be mothers? This seems to be the implication of the argument. Can’t we agree that it would be best to do better to make sure that these moms can choose life for their babies?

For those of us who are not denouncing the state of Texas for protecting vulnerable life, this is why. Life is a gift, and when we cease to see it that way and protect it, we are doing something evil. I wouldn’t have written the bill as it is, but life beyond the badly decided Roe v. Wade decision is going to look like this — states deciding for themselves what to do. In a state like New York, it will take a miracle — we’re the state where a symbol of resurrection, the Freedom Tower, which was built in the wake of the attack that took down the World Trade Center’s twin towers, was used by our now-former governor Andrew Cuomo to celebrate abortion expansion. The majority was not appalled by that, but it’s interesting to reflect now that he had to leave office for being brutish to women. Men who don’t respect women, who use them for their own selfish pleasure, need abortion. Of course he was enthusiastic about it. It exists to let men use and abuse women.

Some day the #MeToo movement and feminism may lock arms with John Paul II’s theology of the body and realize that women have the most incredible power in the world — the ability to give birth to another human being. A culture that respects, that is a healthy one with tremendous promise because it chooses to be life-giving — it wants to nurture and be nurtured by the genius of women. And we want men to respect that and want to protect that! So, thank you to all you pro-life men, who are Saint Joseph figures in the world today.

Some of the responses to the Texas law going into effect suggested a new stage in this human-rights struggle. The usual language of a supposed “war on women” was gone, because now it’s conventional to say “pregnant people.” I’m sorry, but women get pregnant. And the obvious science showing us that unborn life is life is bringing some of abortion’s eugenic roots out in the open. One tweet in particular making the case that less abortion would mean more Down-syndrome people was slightly horrifying. If fewer mothers are pressured into killing their unborn children with Down syndrome, that would be civilizational progress, not decline. But many seem intent on the latter, not the former.

This column is based on one available through Andrews McMeel Universal’s Newspaper Enterprise Association.

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