12 January 2013

In Which Haley Gets Serious

Father Z does it again: straightforward, unapologetic truth in one of his numerous posts for this weekend. The title, "Abortion/Right-to-Life: NOT a women’s rights issue," is spot-on, but the validity of which is so unnoticed by the general population. Two issues are of importance here: the true right in question and the significance of that right.

That one's right to life is confused as another's right to choice is, at the very least, unfortunate, and at most, inconceivable.
Name that film!
And I don't even have to go into "abortion is murder" proclamations to examine this. I believe the common reasoning away for pro-choicers is that "it's only a collection of cells," meaning no integrity of morality is in question because there's no harm in flushing away something that isn't a being. But then the question is, "When does a person become a person?" When a woman is in labor? When he hiccups through the night? When a sonogram can show the curve of her forehead? Even if one wanted to set definitions by seconds in time, when is the more exact marker than at conception?

I have also heard the ludicrous "A pig [or insert preferred animal here] looks the same at that stage of gestation." (I wonder, would animal activists use this claim?) But the looks-like-a-duck-and-quacks-like-a-duck reasoning cannot and is not enough here. The fact is, that "collection of cells" is not a pig. It is a human being. No one worries, "I just found out I'm pregnant, I hope it doesn't become a giraffe." Those who choose to terminate pregnancies do so knowing that otherwise, a baby will be arriving on the scene soon, so they know that what is developing inside of them is human.

The fact is, pro-lifers are not arguing from an anti-choice perspective. They are not misogynistic egotists looking to limit women's roles and keep the upper hand. They are not saying that victims of rape or any sort of violence invited or deserved such abuse, or that they need to suffer alone. At its core, pro-life movement is concerned with just that: life. The dignity of human life is of the utmost importance, and that concern is for both the unborn and the mother to be.

Compelling image from last week.

This right to life is the most basic of all and is the foundation upon which all other rights are (and can be) built. "The right to be born is THE justice issue. If this one isn't in order, then the other social justice causes will be disordered," Father Z writes. How can society help the poor, heal the sick, comfort the broken, eliminate discrimination, or maintain its own dignity without protecting life at its most basic (by which I mean, at its true infancy) and vulnerable level? How can we be recognized as human if we fail to acknowledge the smallest among us? How can we continue as a society from a pragmatic number-count perspective if so many are cut down each day? The way we regard the question of "right to life vs right to choice" determines our character, our moral integrity and our ability to live prosperous and dignified lives. It is by these qualities that our humanity is measured.

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