Culture Challenge of the Week: The Temptation to Say Nothing
Decades ago, when Roe v. Wade was decided, conservatives and many religious folks predicted that the country had begun an inevitable slide towards a murderous future: a time when certain people-in addition to unprotected pre-born children-- would be declared less valuable than others, their killing justified.
Back then, liberal voices jeered at warnings of the slippery slope ahead. But those fears have become real. Medically sanctioned starvation and death-inducing dehydration are passed off as a "peaceful death" for the terminally ill or elderly. Our own President could not bring himself to vote, as an Illinois State Senator, to protect infants born alive after an abortion (they were simply left to die-which was what their mothers wanted, after all).
And now, the advocates of death have stepped up the tempo. A new generation of ethicists has begun making the case in favor of so-called "after birth abortion." Like Princeton's Peter Singer, they believe that infants are not "persons" entitled to the right to life. Why? Because infants, while human, are not "self-aware." And these ethicists assert that human beings who lack self-awareness are not "persons" and, if they are not persons, then they have no independent moral status, no automatic right to life, and no claim to the protections of law.
The question of whether a newborn child would be allowed to live or die, the "ethicists" argue, would depend solely on the wishes of their parents. The same reasons that might 'justify' an abortion at three months gestation would justify an "after-birth abortion"---i.e., the parents can kill a child who is inconvenient, disabled, the "wrong" gender, or simply unwanted.
This new thinking shreds the quality-of-life façade that's often used to justify the abortion of a handicapped child: the only "quality of life" that matters here is that of the parents. If a child's life portends financial burden or stress for the parents---or cost to the state-that would be reason enough for parents to snuff the life out of their own offspring.
This is our future: an infant's claim on life will be no greater than that of a pre-born child-non-existent.
More precisely, this is our future unless we fight back-loudly.
How to Save Your Family: Speak Out
I wrote recently about the importance of electing a candidate who understands that cultural issues-the plight of our fractured families-underlie much of our nation's problems. And that's true. Electing a President who will value the lives of all Americans-born, pre-born, disabled, elderly, or marginalized-is hugely important.