Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Fr. Eduardo Barrios, SJ
The world is following with interest the presidential elections to be held in the United States on November 3.
Two candidates who disagree on abortion, among other things, will face off. While the Democrat is known as permissive, the Republican seems to be restrictive. This issue is almost exclusively the concern of many Catholics.
But if the Democrat wins, he will not focus his government on actively promoting abortion; he will only facilitate it. If the Republican is re-elected, he will not end abortion either. He will only make it more difficult.
The Catholic bishops give great weight to the defense of human life from conception to natural death. However, they teach that voters must take into account other elements in government programs and not just the defense of pre-natal life. Before you vote, examine the candidates' positions on issues such as immigration, education, fighting poverty, rejecting racism, the death penalty, possession of assault weapons, care for the environment (ecological concern), and more. The behavior of both candidates should also be taken into consideration; moral integrity, political philosophy, emotional balance, as well as diplomatic competence to negotiate at the national and international level are very important.
As Voltaire wrote, "the best is the enemy of the good.” Let us apply that to abortion.
The best thing would be the total eradication of this abject infanticide.
- For some, the optimum would be to equate abortion with the worst of homicides, those punishable by death in 28 U.S. states and with life imprisonment in the others. The weight of the law would fall on doctors and pregnant women if they practice an abortion. Nevertheless, when it comes to crime, the offenders do not consider the deterrent force of the sanctions. It is doubtful that this draconian option is viable.
- Seek to have the Supreme Court reverse the 1973 "Roe v. Wade" verdict that ruled the abortion ban unconstitutional. There are nine justices. It is possible that there will soon be a conservative majority on such an august court. Yet, the justices do not always vote according to the wishes of the president who appointed them. There may also be no future for the bill to outlaw all abortion.
Positive steps can be taken in favor of life until the best comes, if it ever does.
- That the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and related institutions strive to show more clearly that human life begins at the moment of conception. There are scientists who still postpone the humanization of the embryo until 12 weeks after conception; they say the creature should have developed a nervous system and cerebral cortex to enable it to receive sensory stimuli; only then would it have a human nature.
- Relegate the word "fetus" to the irrational viviparous. The human embryo should be called by its name, "unborn baby" or "baby in gestation."
- Further disclose the phone numbers that pregnant women in crisis can call for counseling. They can receive assistance with food, medicine, temporary shelter and therapies to bring the pregnancy to a happy birth. They will then decide whether to keep the newborns or give them up for adoption. St. Teresa of Calcutta’s motto was, "adoption, not abortion."
- See to it that more college medical schools do not teach how to perform abortions. The purpose of surgery is to cure, not to kill. That is why there are already universities that exclude abortion from the curriculum.
- It is not enough to protect the unborn. If those already born are in precarious situations for their development, then departments of children and families (government agencies with aid programs for children and families) must take decisive action. But not everything should be left to the government; there can be citizen volunteers who could give a hand to poor families, especially if they are relatives or neighbors.
- It would help if insurance companies did not cover abortion expenses as they do not cover cosmetic surgeries. Abortion does not qualify for coverage because pregnancy is not a disease.
- Increase pro-life campaigns in the broadest sense: pre-natal and post-natal human life. Also, life for the air, the seas, the rivers, the forests and the animals.
- And people of faith must trust in the power of prayer and pray much to the "Ruler and Lover of souls" (Wisdom 11, 26).
This column originally appeared in the October 2020 edition of La Voz Católica, which came out the weekend of Oct. 17-18.