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Cultural Darkness

The frantic claims surrounding the Supreme Court’s hearing of the oral arguments in the Dobbs case have really gotten out of control. One article tells the reader that reproductive justice can only be obtained if Americans understand the complexity confronting women who choose to abort because “they felt they could not adequately or ethically raise a child.” The authors suggest that, if policies were centered on reproductive justice, those who want to carry their pregnancy to term could do so “while simultaneously ensuring safe, respectful and stigma-free abortion services are readily accessible.”

The unspoken theme is that the baby is not really part of any decision. This is, to some extent, because the authors refuse to admit the existence of an actual human being prior to birth. However, it’s mostly because such conversations cannot justify killing a baby, yet they can support the idea that abortion is merely a healthcare service.

Along these same lines, a professor from Princeton has written that Justice Amy Coney Barrett does not understand abortion because she “appears to believe that a human fetus has the full moral status of a person from the moment of conception.” The professor goes on to say that there are many people who do not see “early fetuses as persons.”

Indeed, that is the crux of the problem, as those of us who have fought in this battle for years can attest without hesitation. People who support abortion cannot or will not admit that it kills a person.

But writers like Princeton’s Professor Harman want to live in the darkness, in a society that must not provide a safe haven for babies whose mothers carry them to term but who do not want to raise them. Unlike Coney Barrett, Harman cannot tolerate the idea of any expectant mother carrying her baby to term if she does not choose to be pregnant. All one needs to do is read Harman’s closing comment: “The right to abortion isn’t just about women’s rights to control whether they are forced to endure the experiences and health risks of pregnancy and childbirth (although that’s hugely important). It’s also about women’s rights not to be forced to turn a fetus that doesn’t matter to them into a child they love and refuse to give up. The right to abortion is about the right to choose whether to become a mother—and no ‘safe haven’ law can change that.”

In other words, motherhood exists only when it is convenient. And in a situation like that, is it any wonder that the nation is confused when questioned about whether or not abortion should be legal? Perhaps this is why, in the latest Pew Research Poll, six in 10 Americans say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

If these little tidbits are beginning to vex you, good!

In our cultural darkness, there appears to be little room to consider the possibility that adoption is better than abortion and that having a baby is better than killing her.

Yet amidst all the bloviating, there is at least one good idea that is germinating. Archbishop Joseph Naumann has a vision for Catholic parishes. His Walking with Moms in Need is a program that could result in every Catholic parish in our nation becoming a place where expectant moms could turn for help to continue her pregnancy with the support she needs.

That is one answer to clearing away the cultural darkness with the light of love and reason. And there many more because, as St. John Paul II reminds us: “We have been sent. For us, being at the service of life is not a boast but rather a duty, born of our awareness of being ‘God’s own people, that we may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.’ On our journey we are guided and sustained by the law of love: a love which has as its source and model the Son of God made man, who ‘by dying gave life to the world.’”