Thursday, November 7, 2013

Don't be a Cafeteria Prolifer

Whether reading the Declaration of Independence or the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), one point is saliently clear - each human being has an intrinsic right to life. This right is an absolute - we all have the right to life, period. There are no caveats - there is no 'but' - this God-given right simply is. Why then, do we consistently find delineations made according to age or who one is? As I mentioned in a previous post, we in the prolife movement have been operating under an incremental assumption for 40 years now. Incrementalism, however, is a faulty premise in that it assigns varying degrees of importance to classes of people - according to some criterion or another.

"Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being." ~CCC 2258

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." (The Declaration of Independence)

Who are We to Pick and Choose the Worthiness of Life?

So what are the criteria de jour? Lately, it's been fashionable to be prolife by expounding the desire to save the unborn if they are more than 20 weeks of gestational age. Seeing politicians, whose voting records are far from genuinely prolife, speak of a national law protecting this group of babies seems rather disingenuous to me. What we're saying, in essence, is that a baby who is 19.5 weeks in gestational age is expendable for now - let's just save the more mature ones. That way we can appear prolife without the pain of sticking to the hard line. I may seem to be promoting a purist form of prolife belief, but let's look at the whole picture. Who are we leaving out? To begin with, we're excluding the younger babies - those who are under the 20 week gestational age. Next, we're also leaving out those 'exception babies' - you know, the ones who were conceived in rape or incest or the ones who are conveniently portrayed as a 'danger' to the health of the mother.

Is it the Capability of Feeling or the Life That Matters?

Recent politically acceptable scientific studies indicate that the unborn feel pain at around 20 weeks. Yet, we've all seen videos and read articles about much younger unborn babies squirming away from touch stimuli. But is that really even the point at all? What if someone doesn't feel - pain or anything else? Are they less worthy of saving? I think back to my brother-in-law, Jeff. A swimming accident rendered him a quadriplegic at the tender age of 16. Did he deserve to be 'allowed to die' as was suggested by some? He couldn't feel anything above his neck - but he certainly cherished every moment of life. Does my husband's 98 year old grandmother 'deserve' to live? She is in a state of dementia leaving her a fragile shell of her former self. The prayers, songs, and antics of her great-great-grandchildren still find her smiling and clapping - but alas, only occasionally. But who's to say she doesn't have the 'right' to stay with us as long as God wills it?

What we are seeing is a dumbing down of our sensibilities - our consciences are being numbed. Once artificial lines of deserving life are drawn, we're not far from sliding ever deeper down the rabbit hole. The black and white of this issue is simple - life is worthwhile as long as God deems it so. Any deviation from this absolute puts us on the wrong end of judgment - a judgment that isn't ours to make.