Every year since I became the About.com Guide to Catholicism, I have marked the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned the laws regulating abortion in 46 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, with a post reflecting on some aspect of our Culture of Death. Yet here we are, with a little less than an hour left on the 38th anniversary of Roe, and the words simply have not come.
It's hard to avoid the feeling that there's nothing left to say. Everyone who has given a moment's thought to it knows what abortion really is. As the Catholic novelist Walker Percy wrote a full 30 years ago:
Such vexed subjects as the soul, God, and the nature of man are not at issue. What we are talking about and what nobody I know would deny is the clear continuum that exists in the life of every individual from the moment of fertilization of a single cell.
Just as we all—pro-lifers and pro-"choicers" alike—will find our end in the grave, we all started in the same simple union of sperm and egg. There's no getting around that fundamental fact. There is no ontological difference between me or Barack Obama and an aborted child. The circumstances of our respective conceptions do not change the fact that each of us was conceived. The only difference, the only reason Barack Obama and I are still alive and that child is now dead, is in fact one of choice—the choice to end a life that started out just like yours and mine.
Sadly, some women, and especially some girls, who abort their children have never come to grips with this simple, undeniable, irreducible fact. The truth of the matter, of course, is written on their hearts; but the history of the modern world has been a long, and all too often successful, series of attempts to paint the heart black, so that the truth is forever obscured. The facts presented in black and white, and perhaps even in living color, in the pages of their eighth-grade biology textbooks have been drowned in a dark sea of propagandistic slogans.
Those who perform the abortions, of course, have no excuse. Their hearts may be blacker than death, but they have spent more than enough time studying biology to deny that the child they are ripping from his mother's womb is no different from what they were at that age. They make their living by denying life to others and by telling the lies that convince women to offer up their own children to the gods of the marketplace.
But lies beget lies and ultimately death, while the One Who is the Truth has told us that He is also the Way and the Life. If we walk in His Way, we will grow in the Truth, and we will have Life within us.
The end of abortion will come when we show those who make the choices that there is only one choice they need to make. Choose Christ, and all the rest follows.
That, in the end, is the most basic fact of life.
Posts on Previous Anniversaries of Roe v. Wade:
- 35 Years of Roe v. Wade
- Will Roe v. Wade Ever Be Overturned?
- Another Year, Another 1.3 Million Babies Killed