Our moral duty to protect innocent life is the bedrock of civilization and the founding principle of this Great American Experiment…
The root of the despotism of this age is clearly the corruption and abuse of language. The mind-molders in the ivory towers falsely insist that language is man-made and so invented for personal and subjective use. George Orwell suggests in his essay “Politics and the English Language” that “any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism,” at least in the eyes of the literati. Language is said to “evolve” and adapt to the changing times. The misuse of speech of today becomes the orthodoxy of tomorrow.
It has become commonplace to make a false distinction between the euphemism “pro-choice” and its obvious antecedent “pro-abortion.” The sophistry is fairly well illustrated by this slick but dishonest example. While there are real and important distinctions to be made, we will discover if we have intellectual and moral honesty, that “pro-choice” is a euphemism for “pro-abortion”; and worse still, that “pro-abortion” is a euphemism for one of the greatest moral crimes a human can commit.
A Vital Distinction
There is an objective moral difference between the toleration of and the promotion of a vice. St. Thomas Aquinas said, “Many things are permissible to men not perfect in virtue, which would be intolerable in a virtuous man.” Thomas elucidates the principle that the state ought not to legislate against all viciousness and must be prudential in its law-making. He clarifies the point in Article 2 of Question 96 of his Summa Theologica when he states: “Now human law is framed for a number of human beings, the majority of whom are not perfect in virtue. Wherefore human laws do not forbid all vices, from which the virtuous abstain, but only the more grievous vices, from which it is possible for the majority to abstain; and chiefly those that are to the hurt of others, without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained: thus human law prohibits murder, theft and such like.” It is legitimate to bring up this principle in discussions about whether or not there ought to be laws concerning alcohol usage or even such serious things as prostitution, but as Thomas mentioned, a thing like the murder of innocents is inappropriate to tolerate, as well as promote.
What Is Abortion?
Modern speech codes designed to protect the hyper-sensibilities of a debilitated and soft intelligentsia prohibit plain and honest speech, especially on matters of human sexuality. Those who favor the legality of abortion argue that it is not the termination of “human life” but the excision of some type of bio-material. No other generation in human history was confused about what grows in a woman’s womb after conception, but today’s deceivers pretend that it is a real question.
When a sperm fertilizes an egg, conception produces an individuated being with his own unique DNA sequence. This separate being is either a human being, or it is not. There is no scientific reason to suggest that it is not. There is even less ground in the philosophical anthropology to assert that it is not. By Aristotle’s four causes, we can clearly demonstrate that a newly-conceived life has a material cause, a formal cause, an efficient cause, and a final cause whose substantial form is clearly a human soul.
Let us be reasonable and assume that the newly-conceived child in the womb is indeed a human person endowed by the Creator with the inalienable right to life. Human personhood begins at conception. This conclusion is not only in right relationship to the proper use of the intellect, but would be fairly obvious, even to the dim-witted, just by the observation of a newborn baby. How many people have witnessed the birth of a baby? Is it not self-evident that what is born is exactly what had been in the womb for nine months? And yet still, the anti-human sophists invent objections based on viability, or the first breath, or the heartbeat, or the parasitic nature of a “fetus.”
“Pro-choice” is merely a euphemism, a corrupt and dishonest way of suggesting that a mother has a right to terminate the life of her unborn child. There is nothing healthy about an abortion which kills one patient and emotionally, physically and spiritually scars the other for life. “Pro-choice” is a rewording whose de facto antecedent is pro-abortion, whose legal antecedent is the termination of life in the womb, whose moral antecedent is murder in the womb, whose ontological antecedent is the killing of an innocent, whose Biblical antecedent is spilling the blood of Abel.
If a fertilized egg is a human person, which clearly it is, and that human person is innocent, which surely he is, then to terminate the life of that child in the womb is the murder of an innocent human being, which absolutely it is. The Catholic Church calls it one of the five sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance. In the realm of natural law, which flows out of the eternal and divine law, it is a most unnatural act for a mother to participate in the killing of her own child. The murder of an innocent child in the womb is clearly what an abortion is, but the clarity of the act begins to become obscured when it is referred to merely as an “abortion,” or “women’s health,” or “pro-choice,” or “reproductive rights,” or any other euphemism used to confuse the public.
Why Such Confusion?
It is true that we are steeped in so much pathological ideology on this dreadful topic that most are numb to the fact that the woman who has undergone an abortion suffers mentally and emotionally in a profound way. It is a most unmanly and unvirtuous thing to tell a woman that you would stand behind her if she chose to murder her children. The sin of toleration alone is grave in this matter and of course to promote this moral crime is much worse.
To claim that one supports the right of a woman to choose to terminate the life of her unborn child is analogous to the absurd statement that one supports the right of a woman to kill her neighbor; only the abortion is worse because the unborn child is bound to be more innocent than the neighbor. It is absurd in every reasonable and moral sense. In even more disturbing terms, imagine for a moment that “pro-choice” was meant to denote a man’s “choice” to choose whether or not he was going to rape a woman. One might say “I don’t support rape itself, and I would never rape someone, but I do support the right of a man to choose to rape a woman; it is his body, and he can do with it what he chooses, and I know he doesn’t make this decision lightly.” Moral outrage ought to follow this absurd and immoral line of reasoning, but still, even this vile example is not as grave as an abortion.
The Criminal Euphemism
The primary problem with the term “pro-choice” is that it equivocates the word “choice” and implies a false notion of freedom. All human persons have free will and can make free-will choices to do whatever they want, de facto. There is a great difference between this free-will ability to choose to do something, which can be either moral or immoral, and saying someone is free to choose to commit a crime. The first is an allusion to the true freedom of the will, and the second is a reference to license. All reasonable and morally mature humans deny that others have a “freedom” to choose to commit objectively moral crimes; this is simply a misuse of the word “freedom.”
All humans have the choice to lie, murder, or steal, but we are morally confused if we say something like “I support the right of the liar to lie to whom he will, or the thief to steal what he wants, or the murderer to kill whomever he pleases.” The decent human would never condone such behaviors nor say that he tolerates anyone’s right to choose to commit these crimes, not just because they are objectively wrong, but because they damage the fabric of society. Again, abortion is a moral crime worse than those mentioned above. So, although a woman would certainly have a free-will choice to terminate the life of her own child, this is not morally free to choose this action, and the person who insists a woman has this “right to choose” is committing a grave moral mistake as well.
Innocent Life and the Great American Experiment
In the most profound sense, encouraging women to terminate the lives of their unborn children always has devastating effects on them, even if they don’t appear to manifest these in an outward way. We must begin by asking what kind of person can encourage such an evil on women and children? Clearly, it is first a moral derangement. Our former president would encourage his own daughter to procure an abortion if she were to become pregnant: a good man? a good father? I can hardly imagine a more public or devastating disavowal of manly virtue than that.
Surely the above line of reasoning will be considered “radical extremism” and “mean” and “bigoted,” and goodness knows what else by the intellectually and morally bankrupt. Our moral duty to protect innocent life is the bedrock of civilization and the founding principle of this Great American Experiment. To first legalize and justify, and now to praise the murder of innocents and to denigrate calls to protect innocent human life is the beginning of the end of both. Though we ought to be gentle with our “pro-choice”/”pro-abortion” brethren, it is not an act of charity to let the good citizens of this land live the delusion that one can be “pro-choice” and anti-abortion.
Let us recover the true nature of speech ordered to truth.
The Imaginative Conservative applies the principle of appreciation to the discussion of culture and politics—we approach dialogue with magnanimity rather than with mere civility. Will you help us remain a refreshing oasis in the increasingly contentious arena of modern discourse? Please consider donating now.