Thursday, July 23, 2009
Bernard J. Coughlin, S.J., former president and current chancellor of Gonzaga University, has an excellent essay "on the square" on President Obama's call for common ground on abortion. Here is a taste:
In the nineteenth century it was the right of freedom versus the right to enslave; in the twentieth century it is the right to life versus the right to kill the innocent. And much as people would hope to find common ground, there is no common ground to be found. The right to life is not granted by kings, rulers, clergymen, parliaments, or congresses. It is the Creator’s work, not to be fudged.
In disputes over civil laws—the best housing policy, the best health policy, the wisest tax laws—it is reasonable to hope for common ground. But in some matters there is no common ground. The president encouraged his audience to “increase adoptions” and to “reduce the number of abortions.” Friends of mine have suggested the same, and it is all to the good. But abortion always kills an infant. I can readily imagine President Lincoln hearing from the slave owners: “We will decrease the number of slaves,” and “We will increase social services.” But he also knew that one slave is still a slave. And one fetus killed is still killing an innocent life.
It is not faith that tells us that abortion kills an innocent life. It is science. And the more we know about it the more the phrase “a woman’s right to choose” is recognized as simply a euphemism for “a woman’s right to kill the child in her womb.”
Every infant is God’s child, and his gift to us as a sister and brother. And just as President Obama has so praiseworthily pledged himself to guarantee every child the right to an education, so should he first, and with far greater righteousness, pledge himself to guarantee every child, as far as humanly possible, the right to life.
The president says: “We must find a way to live together.” All the while, the infant in the womb is answering: “But first I have to live.”
For the whole essay, click here.