Ken Connor

Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas recently celebrated the opening of a new facility in Ft. Worth, TX. More than a few critics have noted the irony that the new Southwest Ft. Worth Health Center is located next to the Gladney Adoption Center, an organization that has been providing pregnancy support and adoption services to the country for 125 years. When questioned about their choice to build next door to an adoption center, Ken Lambrecht, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Greater Texas said, "As far as we're concerned, being next door to Gladney is wonderful."

I suppose Mr. Lambrecht's perspective has a sort of logic about it, assuming you view pregnancy exclusively in terms of a women's rights issue. Having an abortion facility next door to an adoption agency provides a sort of one-stop shop for women with unintended or unwanted pregnancies. In Lambrecht's view, abortion and adoption are simply different choices that achieve the same outcome: women who are unwilling or unable to care for their unborn children are relieved of the burden of doing so. Neither choice is better or worse than the other. It's all about educating women about their options.

And this is really what our culture is all about today, isn't it? We revere choice, and we bristle at anyone or anything that would impose constraints on our choices. In a society where God's law and transcendent truths no longer inform our values, the buck stops with the individual. He or she is the one who decides what's "right" based purely upon how they feel about their situation. In response to this "rights" rhetoric, pro-life apologists often reply with their own version of the rights argument. If the Founders were correct, and we are all endowed with unalienable rights, then a woman's right to privacy (or bodily integrity, or a baby-free womb or whatever right she feels it is that her baby violates) must be weighed against her unborn child's unalienable right to life.

This argument is compelling, and cogent, and I would say, quite true, but it's not complete. When a woman chooses to end the life of her unborn child, she is not only guilty of violating that child's right to life, she is guilty of abandoning the sacred duty that arises out of the fact that she is also a mother. When a man and woman come together in sexual union and a life is created, a new person comes into being that has fundamental human rights. But something else is created as well. A new father and mother are created, and these new roles bring with them responsibilities and duties.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.