This week the Gallup organization reported that their latest poll showed 51% of those people polled considered themselves pro-life while 42% considered themselves pro-choice. I wasn’t surprised. I am writing this while President Obama is conferred an honorary degree from Notre Dame University. Last autumn, while pondering the “life” question on my mail-in ballot, I had an epiphany: I support life.
For over 40 years, I considered myself pro-choice, but I was never radical about it. When I changed my political affiliation in 1989 from Democrat to Republican, it had nothing to do with life. I continued to support a pro-choice position. Yes, I suffered repercussions from my beliefs, but I was okay with it. I chose to be kind to others who may not agree with me. Kindness was returned.
So what or who changed my mind? I saw over and over, life fighting to live in the least positive environments: a rose surviving a dry, hard, weed-filled garden, a very ill baby that lives beyond all hope, the cancer survivor, the heart-attack patient, the returning soldier missing limbs, a three legged dog, Holocaust survivors, and those fighting to crawl out of the rubble brought on by an earthquake. All fought to survive. Absent of mental illness, life wants to survive; life demands to live.
So who will speak for those who cannot speak for themselves? I don’t presume to speak for others, but I know in my heart and in my soul that life wants to live, no matter the circumstances. I will speak for the lives that cannot speak for themselves. I will share my voice and my vote with the unborn.
I knew I made the right choice when I read Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” to my students while honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. last February. Dr. King said,
“There are two types of laws, just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all. What is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man- made code that squares with the moral law or the law of G-d. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.
Abortion not only kills, but degrades the mother. The interpretation the court made on Roe v. Wade did a disservice to all of us. The U. S. Supreme Court legislated from the bench and that law is unjust.
Our President, as he speaks to Notre Dame graduates, no doubt wants to bring people together on this issue, but this a position that cannot be compromised any more than ownership of another human being can be compromised, or that freedom can be denied to any of us. Life will survive.