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The Catholic Vote and the Counterbalance to Abortion

How can Catholics for Obama rationalize their support for the pro-choice candidate?

by
Elizabeth Scalia

Bio

July 13, 2008 - 12:04 am
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The death penalty is a legal execution of an individual judged guilty of heinous acts against the larger society; convicts are sometimes discovered to have been innocent of the charges made against them only after their lives have been taken. Many consider even the most “humane” means of execution to be cruel and inhuman, and even when the convict is guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, it may be well-argued that killing a murderer does not bring back the victim and that “two wrongs do not make a right.”

In an abortion, the fetus is as subject to the death penalty as anyone ever so ordered by a jury; the fetus is always innocent. Even the most “humane” means of abortion — whatever that might be — involves cruel and inhuman measures. And even if the fetus — in its innocence — is the product of a violent and “guilty” conception, it may be well-argued that one merciless violation cannot be healed by a second — equally merciless — violation and that “two wrongs do not make a right.”

Poverty steals hope, exposes the helpless to political, sexual, and economic exploitation (from friend and foe) and defers dreams. It breaks rather than builds and reduces human beings to the status of mere “votes” or “workers” or “things.”

Abortion destroys a hopeful life, exposes the mother and fetus to political, sexual, and economic exploitation (from friend and foe) and defers dreams. It destroys what is being built and reduces a thriving being, species human, to the status of mere “products of conception” and “blobs of tissue.”

Racism is the superficial and unjust rejection and/or exploitation of another human being or group of people based on race. Racism works to suppress; it denies opportunity and feeds stereotypes (“your kind are not good enough!”) Racism has inspired exclusionary rhetoric and genocidal movements, as may be found in the supremacist literature of the KKK. Racism exists to diminish another human.

Abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood have been observed agreeing to a superficial and unjust request to apply donated money toward the destruction of fetuses of a specified race. Abortion works to suppress; it denies opportunity and feeds stereotypes (“your kind are too good/too poor/too promising to be “punished” with a baby!). Abortion has inspired exclusionary rhetoric and genocidal movements as may be found in the elitist literature of Margaret Sanger. Abortion exists to diminish another human.

Capitalism in the imperfect enterprise system by which free markets provide jobs, goods, and services in order to stir economic growth. Its excesses often result in — among other things — unlicensed or unscrupulous practices and the exploitation of the worker, in pursuit of maximum profit.

Abortion providers are capitalist enterprises that often indulge in — among other things — unlicensed and unscrupulous practices and the exploitation of women in difficult circumstances, in pursuit of maximum profit.

A Catholic conscience is a complex thing that must rely on more than bumper stickers and impassioned rhetoric. Catholicism does not reject reason for faith but demands integration of the two, and prayerful discernment, before taking any action. It serves both prayer and reason to consider that abortion is not separate from the evils of war, torture, poverty and the rest, but of a piece with them. In fact, abortion supersedes those issues by dint of its personal nature. Government policy affects war, poverty, and the rest, while abortion is — like the casting of a vote — a personal choice. But it is a personal choice for the physical and intellectual internalization of war, and of torture, and of the death penalty, and of poverty, and of racism, and of capitalistic exploitation.

Thus weighed, the only counterbalance is life.

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Elizabeth Scalia is a contributing writer to First Things Magazine and the blogger known as The Anchoress.
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