When it comes to abortion, it’s a child, not a choice

I’m not surprised as I see and hear and read about much of the criticism aimed at the Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

When I see the anger addressed at her, my mind goes back to the night of the Republican Convention when she addressed the assembly. After the talk, she was joined on stage by her husband and children, and Sarah held her Down syndrome baby.

At that moment, a lot of women in the U.S. looked at that baby, and saw their own baby – the child they had aborted, the baby they would never hold.

And many men saw the same thing. They too saw the baby they would never hold. And these men had either been complicit in the decision to abort, or had abandoned the birth mother, leaving her to make a terrible decision without support for herself, and without a father for her child.

Rather than deal with the feelings of guilt within, many have chosen to attack the one who reminds them of their guilt.

For these people it would be sheer torture to watch the child grow over the next four to eight years with Sarah as vice president. It would be even more torturous to see the child grow into adolescence if Sarah should have a term or two as president.

Forces in our society work very hard to reduce the horrors of abortion to a ‘medical procedure.’ Piously they proclaim that it is a decision between a woman and her doctor, and the government should not be involved. Yet, the same government would arrest the same woman who would abuse her infant or child. Thank God we do have laws that protect the lives of infants and children. However, can we not see the contradiction between maintaining a woman has the ‘right’ to kill a baby in her womb, and should go to jail for injuring the same child outside the womb?

I understand that there are many life issues in the coming elections. There are issues of war and the death penalty and climate change and health care and healthy economies. Yet, while there are indeed multiple life issues, is not the right to life fundamental to all of them?

We do indeed grieve the loss of life in war – especially our troops and the innocent non-combatants. However, while we grieve the tragedy of war, can we ignore the 1.3 million lives lost annually in the U.S. alone to abortion?

Yes, the church does indeed oppose the death penalty. Yet, can we really expect to speak with authority to convince people to honor the life of the guilty if we have not persuaded them to value the life of the innocent? Who is more innocent, vulnerable and worthy of protection than a child in the womb?

Climate change may indeed threaten the lives of all of us. Does that lessen our need to defend the life of the most vulnerable of us?

We do indeed need to reform our health care system. Yet, are we prepared to continue to see our taxes spent on providing abortions?

A healthy economy helps all of us? Yet, what is prosperity if we have lost the sacredness of the individual life?

So, as the rancor and the rhetoric aimed at Sarah Palin increase over these final days, know that the real issue is just below the surface. Sarah Palin reminds an awful lot of people of an inconvenient truth. It’s a child, not a choice.

And as a wise person once concluded: “Something that is not morally right cannot be politically right!”

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.