After Notre Dame: No ‘abortion rights’ only Human Rights


Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE (Catholic Online) - I cannot listen to that phrase any longer, “abortion rights”, without responding. I just watched Norah O'Donnell on MSNBC characterize President Obama’s opposition to the fundamental human right, the Right to Life, as being a position which supports what she called “abortion rights.” She then proceeded to give a lame analysis of the reasons so many oppose his being honored with a “Doctor of Law” by the University of Notre Dame this weekend.

The claim of a “right” to abort an innocent child is heinous enough when it is described as a woman’s “Right to Choose” an abortion. Yet, that is the current state of the positive law in America since the horrendous decisions in Roe and Doe. Women can choose to take the life of our first neighbors, the ones who live where we all once lived, in the womb. That “choice”, which is always and everywhere wrong because it is the taking of innocent human life, is currently protected by the Police Power of the State.

Abortion is the only example of taking innocent human life which is protected by the Police Power of the State. It has been given a special status as some sort of "super right" in the American culture these days! The current approach is no different than recognizing a so called “right” to kill three week old babies - if the Supreme Court said it was OK. Abortion is simply feticide in a new language intended to make what is evil sound acceptable. On top of this lie its’ advocates have also fashioned a “rights language” around it to make it even sound noble. It does not matter. Intentional abortion is evil, plain and simple.

The notion that this particular method of the intentional killing of an entire class of human beings should be called an “abortion right” is despicable. Only human persons can have “rights.” The shorthand phrase “abortion rights” has become the linguistic tool of some journalists who have themselves become tools of the abortion deception. This is evident in much of the reporting concerning the upcoming Commencement address and conferral of an honorary Doctor of Law degree by the University of Notre Dame upon President Barack Obama.

Opposition to giving a platform at a Catholic University to the most anti-Right to Life President in modern history is rooted in that President’s denial of the first right, the Right to Life, and the first freedom, the freedom to be born. The Right to Life is revealed in the Natural Law and confirmed by Medical Science. It is also therefore binding on all men and women, not just "religious" people. Children in the womb are our first neighbors and it is always wrong to kill our neighbors. We all know it and simply pretend otherwise. This President who campaigned on our being our brother/sister’s keepers has a serious blind spot!

We surgically operate regularly on our first neighbors in the womb. We then allow them to continue to grow in their first home and join us healthier upon their birth. We know that they are members of our human family. Our 4D sonogram technology has made it possible to take baby’s first picture now much younger - and how we marvel at the image of those little babies. When one of these little ones dies due to a “miscarriage” we all say that the grieving woman “lost her baby.” When one of those little ones dies due to surgical dismemberment, chemical weapons or suction some say that intentional killing was the exercise of a “right.” We all know the truth.

Yes, the truth concerning the dignity of every human person from conception to natural death is also taught without equivocation by the teaching office of the Catholic Church. It is also confirmed in Revelation. The Catholics who try to deny this infallibly proclaimed teaching of the Church that every procured abortion is the intentional taking of an innocent human life are either poorly catechized, lying, or completely deceived.

Worse yet are those who try to sweep it all away as being some sort of “religious” position, thereby somehow implying it cannot be “imposed” in the naked public square. The Scriptures and the teaching office of the Catholic Church oppose the taking of the lives of born children, adults, and old people as well. Every murder is wrong! So is all of that also a “religious” position as well? Should we discard those prohibitions in the positive law as well?

The prohibition against the intentional taking of any human life unless it is done in an act of self defense is the very ground upon which our claims to being a civilized society must rest. Every procured abortion is the taking of innocent human life. So why are children in the womb being treated differently than one year old children? There is no difference in any honest moral analysis. There should be no difference in the positive law.

The entire body of teaching referred to as Catholic Social Doctrine rests upon this recognition of the inviolable dignity of every human person at every age and stage of life. We Catholics call on our Government, at every level starting with the first government of the family, to demonstrate a love of preference for the poor precisely because of their human dignity. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta was right when she called our neighbors in the womb the “poorest of the poor.” We oppose racial discrimination and all other unjust discrimination because of that same human dignity.

We oppose unjust wars because of our recognition of that human dignity, present even in our “enemies.” We oppose Capital Punishment because of that human dignity, present even in a guilty man or woman. On that latter front, our opposition to Capital Punishment is a very different kind of opposition. The Church does NOT say that Capital Punishment is intrinsically evil. Rather, that it is no longer justified because it is no longer needed to protect society. Bloodless means of punishing the malefactor are readily available and reflect mercy’s triumph over strict justice.

Opposition to procured abortion as always wrong is not about “single issue” politics. The Right to Life is the foundation of every other human right. Only human persons can have rights because such rights are goods of the human person. We must insist upon a political, legal, social and cultural infrastructure which recognizes the existence of such human rights in every just society. Every person, no matter how small or tall, young or old has a right to live. Every procured abortion kills them and takes away all of their other rights.

The conferral of an honorary Doctor of Law Degree on our President by a Catholic University is a scandal. 75 Bishops (so far) have spoken out with a consistency and courage unparalleled since the heyday of the Civil Rights movement. The outcry among Catholics, other Christians, other people of faith and other people of good will is promising. This outcry should make sense to an honest observer. It flows from the same truth that was the impetus behind opposition to the evil of racial discrimination; the dignity of every human person and the absolute rejection of any effort to treat persons as property to be used, abused and discarded by those more powerful.

The President of the United States will soon become an Alumnus of Notre Dame. This misguided action by the leadership of Notre Dame has set into motion a new Human Rights movement which will have long term implications in the Church and in our Nation. There is no such thing as ‘abortion rights’, there are only Human Rights, and the Right to Life is the foundation upon which they all depend.