This week, our nation remembers the most tragic decision made in this country, the legalization of abortion. It is a time of prayer and action for those who have a moral conscience. Let us examine two moral issues and fallacies here.
During the Civil War, our government emancipated the slaves. It ruled that human beings are not property. However, today, we speak about the infant in his mother’s womb as her property. If he were not the mother’s property, would she have the right to destroy him? Do we have a right to destroy what we do not own and what is not attacking us? The argument that it’s not a person does not fly for one simple reason, no one can prove that he’s not. There are those who say that the pro-life population cannot prove that the infant in the mother’s womb is a person. The pro-life person is not attempting to destroy the child in the womb. He or she is choosing on the side of life. If left to proceed naturally, a person will emerge from the womb. Those who doubt that the child is a person, are acting on an assumption, not a fact. Their actions destroy life. The choice to allow a pregnancy to take it’s natural course does not need to prove anything, because such a choice is not interfering with the natural course of events.
There is another moral issue here. Every human being has two parents. However, current law in the United States and other countries that have legal abortion do not acknowledge fatherhood until the mother decides to keep her child. This raises an important question of justice. Is fatherhood determined by nature or by the determination of the mother? According to current legislation, a man becomes the father of his pre-born daughter when her mother acknowledges that she has a daughter. In other words, fatherhood has become contingent on the will of the mother. Even the legal system cannot protect a man’s right to act as a father. A man has no right to stop the destruction of his daughter in the womb. Fatherhood is a natural right, not a civil right. When civil law takes away the rights of fatherhood and makes them subordinate to the will of the pregnant mother, it violates that man’s dignity. Such a violation is a sin against justice. There is a strange parallel between this and slavery. The rights of the slaves were contingent on the will of their masters. Today, the rights of fathers are contingent on the will of the mother.
Every child has the right to have a father and a mother. Every man has the right to be his child’s father from the moment of conception. This is the way that nature designed it. Nature designed it this way, because in his eternal wisdom, God built these laws into nature. Observe that we do not question the paternity of any other species except that of man, because it is expedient. If we acknowledge that the child in the womb has a father, then we will have to protect that father’s right to protect his daughter from abortion. We negotiate with language in order to create laws that deny a man’s fatherhood. If the child does not have a father, he is subject to the unilateral decisions made by the mother.
Allow me to conclude with a story that happened in our Archdiocese. I am not violating any confidences. It has been shared across our diocese. A few years ago, a young mother called one of our Respect Life Centers. She was distraught. She had two children. The doctor has just told her that her pre-born daughter had Down Syndrome and that she should “terminate the pregnancy.” The Director of Respect Life invited her to come to the center nearest to her home. When she arrived at the center, the volunteer who had waited for her received her with a hug. They prayed and talked for a very long time. The Center promised the mother to walk with her and to provide emotional, spiritual and material assistance as long as necessary. The father was invited to participate in the dialogue. Together, they decided to keep their daughter.
Nine months later, the daughter was born. Effectively, she had Down Syndrome. She also became the person who would bring great joy, love and unity to that family. The parents asked God for one favor, to bless their daughter and grant them the grace to do whatever they needed to do. God has never let them down.
Every life that comes into existence is a reflection of the love and life of God himself. No one life has less value than another. God knows every human being from all eternity. Each person who is conceived, regardless of the circumstances under which he or she is conceived, has a place in God’s plan for our salvation. As we proceed through this week, let us pray for those who will be marching in defense of human life. Let us also pray for those who do not yet understand the sacredness of human life and the true meaning of justice.