I am not against abortion because I’m Catholic. One of the reasons I’m Catholic is because I’m against abortion, and the Catholic Church, however imperfectly here in America, has always stood against abortion. I remember the day I heard about Roe-v-Wade. I was in high school, and my faith, when I had any, was weak. My first thought: I’m next. Even at 14, I had an inkling of how the world worked at least in this one respect: people who want power never have enough of it. If, today, a few old men on a court get to create out of thin air a ‘right’ to abortion, which removes the right of the unborn baby to life, then tomorrow the gravity of that logic will inevitably pull others to create and remove other rights so as to better serve the interests of their herd.
We now have a ‘right’ to die, which removes, of course, any leverage those, near death or otherwise inconvenient, to insist on being cared for. Why? ask those who see their own lives as intrinsically meaningless, and can therefore hardly imagine a meaningful death.
Like most people my age, I have been around people, old and otherwise, as they have neared death – parents, a grandfather, sisters, in-laws, people I knew well, people I hardly knew. My father lingered for years as his mind ebbed away. It’s easy to say, and millions of people will say it, that his last few years had no meaning. One thing it did mean: other people had to step up and provide some care for a man who, whatever his flaws, had provided for a large family for decades. Giving such care once no repayment is possible is very meaningful – to the people giving the care. Such giving helps to make us something more than animals.
Euthanasia is just the tip of a vast logical iceberg, an iceberg inevitably drifting south. If, as Plato and Hegel say, life’s value is derived from the service we provide to the state, what happens when the state is reduced to nothing more than raw power? Someone might well reshape the state so that people like me – nothing special, except that I don’t follow orders very well unless they make some sense, and I don’t think History is Moving Us Forward in any inevitable sense, except chronologically – are defined out of usefulness.
This is not idle speculation. People who actually got the kind of power our current betters dream of having promptly used it to kill off around 110 million people in the last century, people who were of no service to the states they were using their power to make. Kulaks, Jews, Chinese peasants, Cambodians who could read, competent military people, Gypsies – and folks who just didn’t get in line fast enough, or who had or might someday have a vision of the state that didn’t include the current tyrant.
It may be small and selfish, but that was my first thought, scaled back to a 14 year old’s level of understanding. It is much better to hate abortion for the horror it inflicts upon, first and foremost, helpless infants, but also on mothers, families and basic human relationships. Ultimately, as we have so dramatically seen, it poisons the body politic, until civil discussion dies. Baring a miracle, it is only a matter of time before our opponents get enough power to use the state to silence us. Then, since their consciences won’t abide the continued existence of people whose disagreement shames them, further steps will be taken. Safe spaces mean nothing unless they can be enforced – and shouldn’t the whole world be a safe place?