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Making My Case For Life

by Povidence Crowder

I thank God that my mother was pro-life!  I am the oldest of four children and I was born a year after Roe v. Wade was the law of the land.  Had my mother not valued life, I may have never been and my story would never have been known.  She could have legally killed me in the year of my birth; she fit perfectly the profile of the modern day baby killer—a poor, uneducated, black woman living in the inner-city.  My mother and father separated before I was four, so I have a scant recollection of them being together.  What I do recall is my mother struggling to make ends meet.  I remember us being on welfare, and getting food stamps and government cheese . . . oh how delicious those grilled government cheese sandwiches were, mmmm! 

I remember occasionally looking into a bare refrigerator; I remember some winter nights sleeping in a cold house after the gas man shut off the heat for non-payment; I remember enduring the shame of going to the corner store with food stamps and trying to exit before any of my friends saw me—kids in those days cruelly mocked those on welfare—welfare was a dirty word.  We had very little material wealth, we were poor and broke . . . but my siblings and I knew we were loved.   We didn’t have much cash, so my mother got creative in order to get other items she wanted but couldn’t afford.  I recall going to the corner store at various times throughout the day to break one dollar food stamps by purchasing penny and nickel candy until my mother had enough change to buy her Newport 100 cigarettes.  If you’ve ever been on welfare, you’d understand.  I was taught at a young age that with some effort, the government system could be manipulated.  

Thankfully, it was too much effort for my mother!  She found it difficult to support a smoking habit on welfare and she found it even more difficult to support a family—those were the days before welfare became a competitive sport.  I am grateful that welfare was so uncomfortable and unpleasant, and degrading, that my mother was extremely discontent in her impoverished condition.  As well, she believed that God was not pleased that she had strayed from her Christian faith.  Resultantly, she rededicated her life to Christ and went back to school.  Through hard work and by God’s grace, she escaped the poverty trap—and she eventually quit smoking! 

I watched in amazement as my mother persevered.  She attained her GED and went on from there to complete her college degree.  After a few bumps in the road, she landed a pretty good job and has not looked back since.  Only in America could such a narrative be achievable.  My mother told me that caring for my siblings and I gave her a reason to press on when she felt like giving up on life.  Knowing that she had a responsibility to love, feed, and care for us, she says saved her life.  She was poor, but she never considered aborting us as an option.  Her belief in God gave her the conviction that abortion was wrong; it went against God’s very law, “you shall not commit murder.”  My mother instilled her Christian values and strong work ethic in us, her children.  Her story is the story of many men and women in this country who have struggled to raise children in poverty rather than see their posterity destroyed for mere convenience.    

Why then, if poverty is not the end all, do abortion proponents make poverty a central argument to support their position?  They use fear tactics to coerce women into committing unimaginable acts.  It is this trumped up fear that often drives a women to make the decision to abort her child—a daunting fear—fear  of the unknown, fear of their children growing up in poverty, fear of a lifelong responsibility, and many other fears.  As a Christian, I have a responsibility to tell these women the truth!  I have an obligation to stand against the sin of abortion and I do not deny the political ramifications of my stance.  I recognize that Christianity is a political power as much as it is a religious rite[1] because “Democracy is not served by silence.”[2] 

How in America, did we reach such a moral regression that the mass murder of unborn children does not even raise an eyebrow but on the contrary is celebrated as “choice.”  Bad law, the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade is what essentially denied unborn children personhood, making them the property of the mother, and led to the “legal” murdering of millions of unborn children in the past quarter century.  Pope John Paul II spoke out against abortion.  He basically said that the new cultural climate had made crimes against unborn children exempt from punishment because these crimes had become State sanctioned legal rights of individuals.  Even more shocking, these crimes would be committed with the assistance of health-care professionals and health-care systems.  He rightly asserted that the Church should not be silent concerning their opposition to abortion laws.

So what Roe v. Wade did in denying unborn children personhood, it denied them basic civil rights and protection under the law from violence and murder from their mother and her doctor should the mother determine that for socioeconomic or health reasons, her child was unwanted.  The same exact thing happened with bad law, 1857 Dred Scott v. Sanford, which denied blacks their citizenship and claimed that they were property of the slaveowner, and that blacks had no rights that the courts had to respect.  Wow!  In denying blacks their personhood, they had no basic civil rights and protection under the law from violence and murder from their slaveowners if their slaveowner determined that for socioeconomic or other reasons, the slave was no longer wanted or needed.  Sounds similar?

Just as the unborn are now, blacks in America and Jews in Nazi Germany were once denied the right to life.  What group will be next?  We should all be concerned when mere men can determine which groups of people have the right to live and which do not.  As a Christian, I have a duty to protect the most vulnerable in society, the defenseless—namely the unborn and others—from those who do not value their life but will change definitions and terms and make even the possibility of poverty, which all humans face, a reason for the termination of their life.  God places a value on our life; it’s a dangerous thing when we try and play God.  

The notion that the unborn is a human being is not a religious assertion but a biological fact.  They are no different than you and I except for size and development.  By design, God chose the woman’s body as the vehicle in which all humans should enter this world.  The “fetus” growing inside of the woman is not an extension of the woman’s body so that she could argue: it’s my body to do what I please.  The baby is a separate and new life with its own body and soul—a body that is properly nourished for growth and prepared for independent living through the care of the mother.  Yet some reckon that because the mother provides the shelter, she can at any time decide terminate her child and have her child violently ripped from her womb—the mother’s womb use to be the safest place on earth.  But the child’s father has no such right.  If a father killed his unborn child, all agree that he is a murderer. America cannot be looked upon as a free and civilized nation when we do not recognize and value the basic right to life of every individual. 

Scott Klusendorf, in his book, the Case for Life, raises the most pointed arguments for abortion.  He asserts that some people claim that we shouldn’t force our views on others.  Would we say such a thing if someone wanted the right to choose to kill toddlers?  Some argue their right to privacy.  If I had a two year old toddler, may I kill him as long as I do it in the privacy of the bedroom?  Some argue that poor woman cannot afford to raise children.  When human beings get expensive, may we kill them?  Or some argue that when a woman is raped, the baby is a painful reminder of the worst kind of violence against her.  True indeed, and with compassion we should care for the victim.  But how should a civil society treat innocent human beings who remind us of painful events.  Should we kill them so we can feel better? 

If the unborn are part of the human family, like toddlers, we should not kill them to make us feel better.  It’s better to suffer evil then inflict it.  Sometimes the right thing to do is not the easy thing to do.  Some say that government shouldn’t get involved in our personal decisions.  Can you imagine, even for a moment, suggesting such a thing in the instance of child abuse?  If the unborn are in fact human, then abortion is the worst kind of child abuse imaginable.  Some say that women would be forced to get dangerous back-alley abortions if abortion was restricted or made illegal.  If the unborn are human then you are arguing that some people will die while attempting to kill others so the state should make it safe and legal for them to do so. 

I pose a final question for pro-choice advocates.  In the words of Klusendorf, “Why does the high number of abortions trouble you?  After all, if abortions do not take the lives of defenseless human beings, why worry about reducing the number?  If the unborn are not human, killing them through elective abortion requires no more justification than having your tooth pulled or tonsils removed, or removing an unwanted wart.  However, if the unborn is a human being, killing him or her to benefit others is a serious moral wrong.  I support a woman’s right to choose a variety of things.  But some choices are wrong, like killing innocent human beings simply because they are in the way and cannot defend themselves. “   This is my case for life.


[1] John Henry Newman, The Triple Function of the Church, 3rd ed. (National Institute for Newman Studies, 2007), under “Preface to the Third Edition,” chap. 4, The Newman Reader (accessed November 15, 2011).

 [2] “Living the Gospel Life: Challenge to American Catholics a Statement by the Catholic Bishops of the United States,” National Right to Life, http://www.nrlc.org/news/1998/NRL12.98/Gospel.html (accessed November 16, 2011).

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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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