Is Truth Going to Matter To Catholic Pro-Lifers?
The late Senator
George Aiken (R-Vermont) was a crusty old curmudgeon who had the pronounced
tendency to call a spade a spade. In the mist of the muck and mire of
the weekly carnage of American military personnel in the President Lyndon
Baines Johnson-produced quagmire known as the Vietnam War, Senator Aiken
proposed in late 1967 the following solution: that President Johnson
simply announce that we had won the war and was going to withdraw our
troops. Aiken knew that that would have been a lie, that he was advancing
a positivist solution to Johnson's self-made political dilemma, which
had wide-ranging consequences for this nation. However, he figured that
there would have been no other way to have called the waste of the sacrifice
of American lives and heroism a success other than simply saying things
had worked exactly the way American policy-makers in the John F. Kennedy
and Lyndon B. Johnson administrations had planned as they attempted
to wage a war entirely on the basis of "social scientific"
methodologies founded in something known as quantitative analysis. Johnson
never took Aiken's advice. It was left to his successor, the late President
Richard Milhous Nixon, to more or less do what Aiken had suggested,
claiming that the Paris Peace Accords of January 22, 1973, which ceded
much ground to the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong, had actually achieved
his goal of "peace with honor" in Vietnam.
along the lines of the Aiken approach to public policy positivism was
actually tried by the late Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller when he was Governor
of the State of New York in 1969. Concerned about the poor service on
the Long Island Rail Road, which had been taken over by the State of
New York from the quickly degenerating Penn-Central Railroad in 1965,
Rockefeller announced on August 7, 1969, that he was going to launch
a sixty day campaign to make the Long Island Rail Road (which separates
the words "rail" and "road"), which is the busiest
commuter rail line in the nation, "the finest commuter rail line
in the world." Well, sixty days later, on October 7, 1969, Rockefeller
held a press conference to announce that the Long Island Rail Road had
become the finest commuter rail line in the world. Even the hardened
reporters who covered the press conference were doubled over in laughter,
knowing that Rockefeller didn't even believe the positivist statement
he had just made.
positivism is practiced by many in the pro-life movement here in the
United States of America. An article, "Affirming the Merchants
of Death," that I wrote on this exact subject was posted as a special
Communique on the website of the American Life League (www.all.org)
on November 11, 2003. A two-part article of mine, "We Have Learned
Nothing," dealing with related aspects of this issue was run in
the March 15 and March 31 issues of The Remmant. Various articles
of mine on the Seattle Catholic site in the past year ("Every Abortion
Kills a Baby Dead;" "Let's Stop Kidding Ourselves") have
also explored this pro-life positivism, which asserts that every flawed
piece of bill passed by Congress or by some state legislature represents
an "incremental" victory for the forces of pragmatism. Suffice
it for present purposes, however, to focus quite briefly on two recent
examples of this pro-life positivism, which has become a tool to deceive
well-meaning, prayerful souls that "progress" is being made
when in fact it is not.
29, 2004, marked the beginning of arguments in three United States District
Courts (New York, Nebraska, California) over the constitutionality of
the conditional ban on partial-birth abortions that was passed by the
United States Congress last year and signed into law by President George
W. Bush. As I have been noting endless since 1995, when this morally
flawed bill was first introduced in Congress, the legislation now under
review in three federal district courts contains an immoral provision
permitting the use of partial-birth abortions to kill babies in cases
where it is alleged that a mother's life is endangered. Even the American
Medical Association admitted in 1995 that it is never "medically
necessary" to use this particular form of child-killing to "save"
the life of a mother. This did nothing to deter the National Right to
Life Committee, which itself believes that the killing of preborn children
is permissible in cases when it is alleged that a mother's life is endangered,
from endorsing the bill with its "life of the mother" exception,
proving once again that many "establishment" pro-life groups
do not even try to get the best possible legislation, eager
to put into the context of the law provisions that are contrary to the
binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law. Indeed,
forces at the National Right to Life Committee actually work against
those who try to take out immoral and needless exceptions to the inviolability
of innocent human life, using all manner of reflexive slogans to denounce
the "absolutists" as "extremists" and "unrealistic,"
among other choice terms. Those of us who have tried to point out that
the law can never permit "exceptions" to the Fifth Commandment
are called "bomb throwers" who do not want to accept little
"victories" where we can find them, that we let the "perfect"
be the enemy of the "good."
However, it is never
morally permissible to do evil so that "good" may come from
it. The legislation now under review in three district Federal courts
has not saved one life as of yet. It will likely save no lives if it
survives the constitutional challenges now underway, which will make
their way to the United States Supreme Court sometime next year, well
after the 2004 elections, as was planned by the Bush Administration
and Congressional Republican leaders all along so as to remove the issue
from the electoral radar screen this year. Just consider the "life
of the mother" exception in the legislation for a moment. Do we
really think that butchers who make their living from killing babies
are not going to be afraid to lie to assert that a legitimate "exception"
permitted in this legislation exists when it does not? And even if the
baby-killers do scrupulously observe the exception, then we have to
remember--and I will never tire of reminding pro-lifers of this--that
there are two other forms of baby-killing in the later stages of pregnancy
that remain perfectly legal. The hysterotomy (which is essentially a
Caesarian section used to extract a baby from the womb so that his neck
may be twisted before the head is removed) and the dilation and evacuation
(which is the carving up of the baby in the birth canal, a method of
child-killing that is more invasive for the woman but no less deadly
for the child) will be the methods of "choice" if baby-killers
cannot have recourse to intact dilation and extraction, the "medical"
term for partial-birth abortion. The legislation under review in three
different federal district courts does not end late-term abortions;
and, as just noted, it will not even end partial-birth abortions.
associated with this flawed piece of legislation is never-ending. An
Assistant United States Attorney argued in United States District Court
for the Southern District of New York that killing a child by means
of partial-birth abortion was "inhumane." Indeed, it is. However,
that implies there is a humane way to kill babies. This is an absurd
line of reasoning. Every abortion kills an innocent baby dead. Every
form of child-killing (suction abortion, saline solution abortion, dilation
and evacuation, hysterotomy, partial-birth abortion) is the same crime
morally. No one procedure is more morally heinous than any other. The
killing of an innocent human being is the same crime morally no matter
whether the crime is committed just after conception (by means of abortifacient
contraceptives) as it is when committed on a ninety year old man. It
matters not whether the instrument of murder is a scalpel or suction
machine or bullets or bombs. There is no such thing as a "humane"
to kill any human being, including a preborn baby. You see, words matter.
A line of reasoning that accepts as a matter of "pragmatism"
the supposed impossibility of ending all abortions as either politically
or culturally unachievable will be unable to present any coherent argument
to explain why some forms of child-killing are more heinous than others.
the cheering over the passing of the Unborn Victims of Violence Bill
is very misplaced. Inspired by the murder of Laci Peterson and her preborn
son, Conner, the bill makes it a federal crime to injure or kill a preborn
baby, who is termed, rightly, as a human being in its text. However,
as the American Life League indicated in a press release issued on March
"This law has
a clearly stated exemption for abortions, which is why American Life
League cannot approve of the language in this bill. This is also why
we will continue to educate the American people and our legislators
to the simple truth that all preborn babies' civil right to life must
be defended from acts of murder, no matter what the method-especially
if the child is killed by abortion."
Once again, you see,
a bill that is viewed by so many good people as indicating "progress"
against the merchants of death actually cedes the "protected"
nature of child-killing if it is "chosen" by a mother in consultation
with medical "professionals." This is not progress. It is
a means, I am afraid to say, to bolster the pro-life voting credentials
of members of Congress just before election time. Although the debate
over this bill has highlighted the humanity of the preborn child--which
is a good thing, the bill's concession that voluntary child-killing
is not a crime illegitimates it in its entirety. It is nothing to celebrate
whatsoever, all attempts at positivist spin-doctoring notwithstanding.
The inability to recognize
positivism as such is once again one of the tragic consequences of the
overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King, something that the
Church herself has more or less conceded in the past forty years is
an irreversible aspect of modernity. If the Social Reign of Christ the
King had not been overthrown as a result of the forces of the Protestant
Revolt, the rise of Freemasonry and the concomitant emergence of the
modern secular nation-state, then the Church herself would interpose
herself quite directly if any piece of legislation was passed or any
judicial decision was rendered that was contrary to the binding precepts
of the Divine positive law and the natural law--and hence injurious
to both the common good and the sanctification and salvation of human
souls. There is no piecemeal, secular, religiously indifferentist way
to fight the evils of modernity that has produced this situation. Contraception,
abortion, euthanasia, sodomy, and all of the other grave evils of our
day are, as horrible as each is, merely manifestations of the systematic
de-Catholicization of the world. Although we must work as citizens to
do what we can within the framework in which we live, we must do so
in complete accord with God's law, understanding that there is never
an exception to the binding precepts of the Ten Commandments. And we
must understand that we have the responsibility to plant the seeds for
the conversion of this nation to the Social Reign of Christ the King,
which will be restored completely only after the fulfillment of Our
Lady's Fatima request for the consecration of Russia to her Sorrowful
and Immaculate Heart.
We do the
cause of the splendor of Truth Incarnate no good at all when we permit
ourselves to buy into positivist spin doctoring. Truth must matter to
us, no matter how it hurts and how many bubbles are burst in the process.
We must pray to Our Lady that we will be given the grace to be courageous
to insist that our legislators work only for legislation that is in
complete conformity with God's laws. And don't tell me that this is
not possible. All things are possible with God. The graces won for us
by the shedding of Our Lord's Most Precious Blood on Calvary are as
powerful now as they were nearly two millennia ago. The reason that
pro-life absolutism has not been successful is that it has not been
tried. So many good people fear the evil more than believe in the power
of God to effect miracles as a result of our total fidelity to His commandments
without looking for worldly success.
Let us not
be fooled by false claims of progress and success. Let us speak and
act only as Catholics. Remember: we cannot fight secularism with secularism.
We can only fight secularism with Catholicism. Period.
Our Lady of
Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and of the Unborn, pray for us
to do what the missionaries of yore did in this hemisphere: to work
assiduously for a Catholic America that recognizes you as our loving
Queen and your Divine Son as our King.