My wise and perceptive friend, Ryan Hunter, comments on the State of New York’s
rites of Moloch newest abortion law. A magisterial treatment of a very difficult issue, heart-felt and compassionate. Sometimes I think he’s the one who should be the priest, instead of me! Copied and pasted by permission of the author: as of this writing, it is not yet up on his site, and I am grateful for his permission to post it here. He writes:
I have lately refrained from making the slightest political commentary on the government shutdown crisis and Speaker Pelosi and Pres. Trump’s war of words, Brexit and PM May’s various crises, or the latest expansion of abortion access under the recent New York State law. I won’t comment on the first two issues now, but as regards the abortion legislation signed by my state’s “Catholic” Governor Andrew Cuomo, the law is appallingly and deliberately vague in its language. It will have the effect of making it easier for women to seek an abortion after 24 weeks’ gestation for *any* reason that they can frame as even remotely relating to their “health”, whether physical or mental. This vague term, “health”—as broadly defined and applied as possible—has always been the gate through which abortion access has progressively expanded since states began decriminalizing it in the 1960s and then the U.S. Supreme Court did so in 1973.
According to statistics provided by the nation’s leading, licensed abortion providers, well over 50 million abortions have taken place in the U.S. alone since 1973. Think about that number, and the potentiality of each of these lives which never manifested on earth. How many brilliant poets and musicians, much-needed political reformers and wise scholars, curers of cancer or inventors of brilliant new technologies, were never given the chance to live at all?
What does a fetus, a developing human in utero, look like at 24 weeks, 6 months—two-thirds of the way through normal pregnancy? To give you some sense of this reality of a developing human pregnancy, I was born at a little over 5 months’ gestation—3 months and 20 days premature. Every organ was formed, my facial features entirely defined, my toes and fingers able to move, I could make noise, laugh and cry, open my eyes, smile, etc. I was, in other words, born entirely and inescapably human, and would have been just as human had I been born a second or an hour or a day earlier, or a second or an hour or a day later. My humanity was not contingent on a magically defined numerical deadline of X amount of weeks, or whether my parents wanted me, could afford me, etc. My humanity, as with every single person’s, simply *was*, and it simply *is*.
I survived being born so early without any physical or mental handicap whatsoever. This was thanks to the grace of God, the prayers of my parents, grandparents, and so many loved ones, the dedicated care of diligent doctors and nurses, and the best medical technology in the neonatal units of Georgetown University and Northern Virginia’s Fairfax Hospital.
Weighing a pound and a half, and less than a foot long, according to my medical records, I was born 3 months and 20 days premature. I was supposed to be born on 22 October but was born on 2 July. Granted, this was 28 years ago, and my survival then was something of a medical miracle, but please reflect and realize, when we are talking about the 24 week term spelled out by the new law, that abortions are now to be conditionally permitted for the pregnant woman’s health (whatever this can and will be defined to mean) well after the gestation period I had reached at the time I was born.
This legislation is vaguely defined so as to make it immensely easy for women who are not in mortal danger to secure an abortion after their pregnancy is well-advanced, after the fetus is entirely capable of feeling pain, moving about, etc. This is why vague terms used such as “women’s reproductive health” are just that—deliberately vague, nonsensical euphemisms that serve only to obscure the reality of what is taking place in a late-term abortion.
Every woman in the world deserves so much better than to have to face—even for a moment—the desperate thought of considering abortion. Most women who do get abortions do so desperately, with a sense of last resort of despair—may God heal and forgive them, and all who pressured them, or failed to support their pregnancy, or shamed them. Any man who encourages or forces a woman to abort is committing a colossal evil.
The minority of women and men who somehow, in this mad world today, casually endorse abortion after consensual sex do not know what it means to have a fully developed, healthy conscience—something foundational is missing in their basic sense of moral ethics or intelligence, and they do not recognize personhood for what it actually is. It is telling that none of the world’s religious traditions expressed and manifested in the last 4,000 years endorse any notion of casual abortion on demand. Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu sages permit it only narrowly and exceptionally, whereas Christian ones have traditionally forbidden it entirely.
Abortion is a choice that represents a collective failure of society, not just the woman alone, and one that no woman should have to make. But this worth that every woman has, uniquely, must not be made to contrast with the equally valuable worth and right of every human being to experience life in the world itself—which, unavoidably, can only happen once one is born. Women are not gods over their bodies any more than are men; our bodies are a sacred trust to us from God, and we will return them to the Divine one day, with our bodies to answer as much as our souls.
Other than the tragic, exceptionally rare instances in which a woman’s life is actually truly endangered by continuation of pregnancy, there is always a more humane, healing, and healthy alternative to abortion. There is always a chance that the birth of the new life can be a source of good, of healing, of rejoicing, of giving something of light and beauty and truth into the world. Abortion guarantees only one thing: a life will be ended, a child not born. Choosing life allows for any possible potentialities to develop. Purely mathematically, it’s the far more positive choice, open to the possibility of good things happening to both mother and child. Abortion is a literal statistical dead-end.
Generations from now, societies will look back at our self-assured “progressive” views on abortion, and regard them as utterly barbarian, the product of little intellectual reflection and far less ethical formation. All peoples, nations, and states have degrees of good and bad, holiness and evil, in them. But in any free society, a state’s laws are ultimately a fair, relatively accurate indicator of its mores. To whatever extent New York is actually a free political society, this law is unbelievably damning.
What madness now passes for “progress” and what worship of darkness passes for “enlightenment”? God protect us from ourselves… We can, and must, do so much better. Go out, help women facing unplanned pregnancies with any means you have, donate your time and money to pro-life adoption agencies and women’s clinics that help both women and their babies, and end the atrocious stigmas against single mothers. We need to build a more humane, nobler society, one that relegates a culture of abortion to the same area as chattel slavery, legal racial segregation, forced child marriage, and human sacrifice.
Amen, and amen! Thank you again, Ryan, for your permission to share this.