Abortion and Other Issues of Life: Connecting the Dots
by Father Jim Hewes
Abortion is not only a foundational life issue, but also is analogous with the other life issues.
War: A bomber pilot looks through a scope to target objects (the enemy) from a distance and destroy them; in the same way the abortionist looks through a “scope” to obliterate from a distance (the distance from the outside world to the world within the womb) objects (pre-born children), which also have become both the “enemy” of the mother and of society. Both practices are part of a single culture of death. A country initiates wars in foreign lands and yet at the same time allows a “war” to continue on pre-born children within itself. This is not a war waged for a few years, but one which has lasted over 50 years. Instead of hundreds or even thousands of casualties, there have been millions of pre-born lives lost, as well as the “destruction” of millions of women.
Death penalty: Each day in the United States, roughly 2,500 pre-born children are executed, without an accusation of a capital crime. They aren’t allowed to have a trial or any type of an appeal; they’re dispatched simply because they are voiceless, defenseless, and unwanted. Some 900,000 pre-born children live on a new “death row” (a mother’s womb) and their capital punishment is brutally carried out every day by these modern-day executioners, namely abortionists.
Racism: As many as 180,000 African American lives are destroyed each year through abortions. It’s been estimated that since 1990 the African American community has lost more than 10 million children to abortion. African American women submit to abortions at a rate more than twice their percentage of the U.S. population. Black (pre-born) Lives don’t matter. What could be more racist than ending these innocent lives?
Immigration: Undocumented immigrants often come to this country and are inconvenient, unexpected, not welcomed, not wanted and thus treated as disposable. Likewise, this is the core of the abortion issue for pre-born children (and their mothers in unsupported pregnancies) who are also unexpected, inconvenient, unwanted. This translates into to meaning that their lives are regarded as having no dignity or value and thus can be destroyed. Both issues reflect the attitude that some lives are less valuable than others.
Undocumented immigrants are often portrayed as an “aliens” diminishing our country’s security or “aliens” who are hurting our economy. So too are pre-born children considered alien non-beings, who threaten a woman’s lifestyle or her economic future.
There has been controversy about a wall being built along the southern border of the United States, but it has been forgotten that there has been a “Wall” already built there for over 48 years; it came from the Supreme Court decision of Roe v Wade. There are 140,000 (pre-born) Latinos each year, who are legally prevented from “entering” the U.S. because their lives are taken by abortions. Latinos account for 20% of abortions. If the pre-born can be victimized because they haven’t become citizens through birth, then what keeps this logic from being applied to immigrants who also haven’t become citizens yet? The pre-born will never have a path to citizenship. As I read about one Hispanic person saying, the single most dangerous place for a Hispanic in the United States isn’t on the way to the southern border, it’s in their mother’s womb.
Sex trafficking: Despite their humanity, those who are trafficked are often treated as less than human, as objects to be used. Even though the pre-born have a heartbeat, brain waves, and fingerprints they are not seen as humans but as products of pregnancy, a commodity, that can be discarded, thrown away. In addition, one study showed that 55% of women trafficked for sex had at least one abortion and 30% had multiple abortions during the time of trafficking. More than half responded that they were forced to have the abortions.
Maternal mortality: If supposedly “women’s health” (=abortion) means killing others and denying one’s motherhood, why is it not surprising that there were more than 135 expectant and new mothers a day — or roughly 50,000 a year — who endure harmful complications; this gives the United States the highest rate of maternal mortality in the industrialized world. In addition, the annual cost of pregnancy-related complications runs into billions of dollars. These women, especially African American women, endure dangerous and even life-threatening complications. Caring and offering alternatives for women heading for an abortion must be extended to women heading towards giving birth.
Euthanasia: There are many similarities between abortion and euthanasia/physician-assisted suicide. Both discriminate against people with disabilities (such as Down Syndrome), treating them as if they are no longer worthy of life, worthless, and better off dead. Both devalue the dignity of life. In both issues, there is the real problem of despair, of either pregnant mothers or people with health problems being overwhelmed by poverty, illness, or suffering. Both use the definition of “suffering” to continue to expand the reason for killing another. For example, advocates for killing will argue that a pregnant mother will suffer with trying to raise an “unwanted” child, despite many supportive resources available, or a person on hospice will suffer, despite strong pain management readily available. Both attack a group of people who are vulnerable, often dependent, and under immense pressure. A baby might stand in the way of someone’s future plans, just as an elderly or sick person’s care might inconvenience other peoples’ plans and their own expected routine. Both define their own concept of existence, with controlling the manner and meaning of the death of another. Both issues involve claims of bodily autonomy and personal choice/control over one’s body. In both, death is supposedly not the enemy but rather a means for ending potential suffering and the relief of future pain. Both are about unwanted bodily invasion.
Both undertake a permanent and irrevocable violent solution to what is a temporary and changeable situation, because they don’t see that the actual problem is unmet needs but instead see the vulnerable person as the problem. Both involve people who, through either external pressure and abandonment or an interior sense of a burden, feel impelled to take a tragic action. Both corrupt doctors, by turning them away from being healers and by giving them a license to become unjust killers. Both involve people who want to do away with conscience protection for doctors. Both are supported by wealthy donors who want to change the law. Both revolve around the issue of privacy. Both are disease-centered (with abortion supporters seeing pregnancy as a disease) rather than being human-centered. Both see death as the solution rather than finding creative and imaginative solutions that are life giving.
Both use similar tactics to change the law, invoking concerns about quality of life and relieving unnecessary burdens on families. Abortion is called “women’s health care/reproductive rights” while euthanasia is called “death with dignity/medical assistance in dying/compassionate care,” because in both, verbal engineering proceeds all social engineering. In abortion it is usually the mother who arranges for the killing of her daughter or son; in euthanasia, it can be the son or daughter, or some other family member who may arrange for the killing of the mother or father.
The disabled within the womb can’t survive on their own and their lives can be ended by “covert euthanasia,” just like those whose lives also can be terminated outside the womb when they are seriously ill. Both have the killing take place within the very heart of, and with the complicity of, the family, which is supposed to be the very sanctuary, the building block, and the basic unit of society, which by its nature is called to be the sanctuary of life. Thus, abortion and euthanasia parallel each other by bringing violence into the family, the heart of the most intimate of human relationships. There is now a proposal to allow a so called “after-birth abortion,” for survivors of the initial surgical abortion. This, like euthanasia, becomes another precedent for further violence and ending life outside the womb.
Both involve caring at times for someone who will not respond, such as a premature pre-born child or a seriously ill person who is heavily sedated to control pain. Both have viable alternatives: extensive support systems for pregnant women and pain management/palliative care/dignity therapy and logotherapy/hospice staff for the dying or for the seriously ill. Such alternatives entail a lot of time, energy, resources, and real compassion (not a false compassion), rather than relying on the easy and quick fix of just killing someone.
Ultimately, there is a great deal of connection between euthanasia and the abortion issue, as well as many other life issues, because of the assault in so many situations on the dignity of human life. These connections show that violence towards human life happens from the very beginning until the very end, and everywhere in between.
For more of our posts linking opposition to other kinds of violence to abortion, see:
Open Letter to Fellow Human Rights Activists / Richard Stith
Abortion and Violence against Pregnant Women / Martha Shuping, M.D.
For posts linking abortion opposition to other kinds of violence, see:
Nukes and the Pro-Life Christian: A Conservative Takes a Second Look at the Morality of Nuclear Weapons / Karen Swallow Prior
Why Conservatives Should Oppose the Death Penalty / Destiny Herndon-de la Rosa
Wars Cause Abortion / Rachel MacNair
Making the Case for Peace to Conservatives / John Whitehead