Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
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Newly-elected abortion advocates often try to paint
their support for
Roe vs. Wade and its companion case
Doe vs. Bolton as mainstream. Some even think that the decisions
constitute a "compromise" position on the divisive issue of abortion. After all,
they say, our current national policy on abortion allows a woman to have a child
if she wants, and to abort the child if she wants.
But Roe and Doe are about as far away from
a "compromise" as you can find. The decisions allow for abortion throughout the
entire nine months of pregnancy, and do not recognize any right of the unborn
child to be spared death by abortion. With a nation divided about abortion, one
might think that under a "compromise" solution one could find some reason to
protect at least some unborn children. But in Roe and Doe, one
searches in vain for any situation in which an unborn child is protected. As the
University of Detroit Law Review pointed out, "The Supreme Court s
decisions…allowed abortion on demand throughout the entire nine months of
pregnancy" (Paul B. Linton, Enforcement of State Abortion Statutes after
Roe: A State-by-State Analysis, Vol. 67, Issue 2, Winter 1990).
In this framework, every unborn baby is disposable.
Every. That s hardly a "compromise" position.
"Leave it up to the woman to decide" sounds to many like
a fair compromise. But this position completely destroys equality before the
law, because it constitutes a complete removal of protection from the child. The
lives of unborn children who are wanted and carried to term do not have any
more protection from the law than the lives of unborn children who are
unwanted and carried to the abortionist. The lives of the wanted are protected
only by their "wantedness," which, of course, can be subject to change at any
time. As far as the law is concerned, they are all non-persons, regardless of
circumstance. That s hardly a "compromise."
A "compromise" usually, and by definition, allows some
accommodation to both sides in the dispute. But current abortion policy allows
no accommodation to the claims that innocent human life makes upon us.
The more you know about the Roe and Doe
decisions, the clearer this becomes. In fact, the Gallup polling company, in an
extensive analysis of the opinions of Americans on abortion, admits that the
level of support in surveys for Roe vs. Wade is lower if more information
about the decision itself is offered in the question, and higher if less
information is offered.
These are important points to bring up in communicating
with pro-abortion elected officials.
In Judgment at Nuremberg, one of those
responsible for the Holocaust says that he "never thought it would go that far,"
and was told that it "went that far" as soon as a single innocent life was
taken. There is no room for "compromising" about human life. Permitting one life
to be destroyed is already extreme. Unless we’re all protected, we’re all in