A recent law passed by the Texas state legislature — temporarily suspended for judicial review — challenges the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in all 50 states, even into the third trimester. The new Texas law mandates against all in-state abortions after six weeks of gestation.
With the Supreme Court now tipped in favor of conservatives, it seems likely that the Texas law, along with similar laws expected to be passed in other southern states, will eventually be brought before the court for a decision.
The pro-choice forces on the left are marshalling all their efforts to forestall this impending threat to what they have termed “reproductive rights,” or even “reproductive health care.”
We can expect a fierce battle between the pro-choice and the pro-life sides of this existential debate to play out here on the streets of West Virginia cities and towns as well as elsewhere in America.
As my own modest contribution to the debate, I propose this week to indicate how I believe the left has been indulging in misguided euphemisms and dodging reality by the ways it’s been framing an argument favoring “abortion rights.”
Next week I will similarly challenge some positions and language on the right.
The most prominent placard you will see displayed at pro-choice rallies reads “My Body, My Choice.” Badly skewed. Yes, it was your body that engaged in sexual intercourse that led to a pregnancy. But no, there are now two bodies at issue, not one: your body and the body of the newly generated human being who is living and growing inside you.
That other body is an integral human being who, without interruption of a knife or noxious chemicals, will continue through a normal development cycle, just as you yourself did in utero, and emerge into the world with all the physical features we recognize as the same as our own.
Once alive in the womb, that human being has a “right to life” just as do all other human beings. This is not just myself saying this; courts have found that the slaying of a woman who was carrying a fetus that also died should be categorized as “a double homicide.”
Many on the left have extolled Pope Francis as “Finally! A liberal pope!” Indeed, in his defense of immigrants’ rights, his rallying against abuses by major corporations, and his insistence on the world’s duty to roll back environmental threats to water, air and land, he does come down squarely on the liberal side.
Yet this same “liberal pope” declared just weeks ago that “abortion is homicide.” No ifs, ands, or buts about it. This has been the steady position of the Catholic Church worldwide. Every U.S. Catholic bishop, however liberal he may be in other quarters, stands with the pope against abortion.
Noted Catholic philosopher and essayist Peter Steinfels, who was my editor on The Loyola News, student paper at Loyola U (Chicago), penned a lengthy piece for the Washington Post last year in defense of pro-life liberals, such as himself. Steinfels argued that the Democratic Party should not make being pro-choice a litmus test for membership or office seeking.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., both Catholics, long touted their pro-life credentials, and in my view they still should. Bring back the once thriving advocacy group Democrats for Life! You are sorely missed and needed now in the fray.