Viewpoints or Victims
One of the key reasons that protection to the unborn has not yet been restored in law, and that public officials are not making the case persuasively to their colleagues that protection has to be restored to the unborn, is that the problem continues to be
presented as a matter of viewpoints rather than victims.
Whether they are pro-life or not,
too many elected officials talk about their “views” on abortion or their
“beliefs” about life. That’s all well and good, and we hope they have the right
views and beliefs. But none of that solves the problem.
The problem is not one of
beliefs, but of bloodshed. It’s not one of viewpoints, but of victims. There are
victims being killed by the thousands each day, and not a finger is being lifted
to stop the bloodshed, because we’re too busy expressing (or arguing about) our
viewpoints and beliefs. The whole topic has become too abstract.
If the abortion war in America
were just about different beliefs and viewpoints, then the role of the public
official would be simply to defend each person’s right to hold and express his
or her beliefs, and to keep peace in the process. Those who were more courageous
might go a step further and, as public officials, express their own belief that
life is sacred.
But if the abortion war is about
victims being killed each day, then the role of the public official is to
protect the victim. This is what law is meant to accomplish. We work to protect
the victims of child abuse, of crime in the streets, and of terrorist attacks.
In these contexts, we’re not simply asking people to adopt particular viewpoints
or beliefs. Rather, we’re exercising the responsibility to protect the
victims despite the beliefs of those who think they should be killed.
Several practical steps have to
be taken to refocus the discussion about abortion, both on the national and
1. In addition to saying “I
believe abortion is wrong,” say “Children in the womb should be protected.”
2. If a public official says, “I
believe life is sacred,” ask them, “What will you do to protect life in the
3. Begin writing letters and
articles making the distinction between an issue of “viewpoints” versus an issue
of victims. Make parallels between the victims of abortion and the victims of
child abuse, violent crime, and terrorism. Point out that all we are saying is
that the unborn deserve the protection that the born have.
4. When Catholic public officials
are pro-abortion, don’t simply talk about the fact that they betray their faith.
Point out that they betray basic human decency. To support abortion is to
support violence. If a public official declared that victims of violent crime
had no rights, he or she would be contradicting the faith. But the focus would
be on the victims’ rights – and so it must be for our unborn brothers and
5. Get beyond words and show
images of the victims.