January 22 was the 46th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion on demand. To mark the date, two of the nation’s governors took actions extending and promoting access to abortions in their states.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act, changing the state’s abortion law from allowing third-trimester abortions for the protection of a woman’s life to allowing them for the protection of either her life or her health. The law also provides for non-physicians to perform abortions and, as noted by Liz Wolfe, “defines a ‘person’ as ‘a human being who has been born and is alive.’”
After the bill passed, the Democrat-controlled New York state legislature broke out in cheers and applause, and Cuomo ordered that the spire of One World Trade Center, the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, the Kosciuszko Bridge, and the Alfred E. Smith Building in Albany be lit up in pink to celebrate the new law.
Cuomo referred to the RHA as “advancing” an “American evolution”—a move forward in opposition to the “backward” movement of those who seek to protect the lives of the unborn.
On the same day in Illinois, at a Chicago office of Planned Parenthood of Illinois, recently elected Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed an executive order he says is intended to make sure the state is properly following a previously passed law providing taxpayer funding for abortions.
“This order will make it clear that state employees receiving government-funded health insurance have the same rights to control their bodies and make their own healthcare decisions as everyone else in the state,” Pritzker said, calling Illinois “the most progressive state in the nation when it comes to guaranteeing women’s reproductive rights.”
These highly visible and celebratory gubernatorial signings, scheduled to coincide with a day pro-life advocates see as one of the darkest in human history, may sound a triumphant tone, but they suggest an awareness of what many abortion proponents have already acknowledged—that in recent years, the odds of Roe v. Wade being overturned, or at least weakened, have increased.
While the majority of Americans still believe there should be some access to abortion, it is getting harder to deny the humanness of life at its earliest stages, as advances in science, medicine, and imaging technology make that life increasingly obvious. This is why even those who would not completely outlaw abortion are seeing the undesirability of it, and why the specter of people cheering for abortion as if for a sports team is so chilling.
Why would any living human being ever cheer for death? It is the very nature of life to recoil from its end. It is the instinctive aim of life to survive.
In “1984,” a novel that seems to have exponentially increasing 21st-century applications, the three slogans of the party of Big Brother are, “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.” If George Orwell were writing today, he might add a fourth: “Death is Life.” This is the message being continually, nauseatingly advanced by advocates of abortion, assisted suicide, and euthanasia.
Anyone who has ever looked a dying parent in the eyes and held his or hands as life slipped away knows better. Anyone who has thrilled to the promise of new life in the womb, only to lose that life to miscarriage, knows better. Anyone who has been notified of the unexpected loss or terminal diagnosis of a beloved friend, relative, or coworker knows better.
In response to the actions of governors Cuomo and Pritzer, the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of the almost two-million-member Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, released a statement that, along with the perspective of a Christian pastor, notes the essential illogic of any argument that equates death with life:
Life, not death, is the goal of humanity. History testifies that death is never the means through which justice and human rights prevail. We do not advance on the graves of our children. Germany, which sought eugenics as the solution to problems, now has strict abortion laws. To defend and support life is the goal of every just government, and the right to life is the hallmark of a good society.
We live as citizens in this world, and we seek to be obedient to our nation’s laws. . . . We are, however, bound by our conscience to speak against those laws that are unjust and, especially, those laws that violate God’s law and the natural law that binds all mankind. Abortion and other means through which humans kill humans violate these natural and moral laws that form the foundation of society.
The entire statement is worth reading, particularly if you are a Christian. Harrison, like all Christians, sees the worth of human life as coming from the Creator of that life. But you don’t have to be Christian to see the absurdity of the Reproductive Health Act’s definition of a person as someone who is “born” and “alive.” People are, quite simply, alive before they are born. And we all know that.
Yet following these laws’ enactments, another U.S. governor demonstrated an inability, or unwillingness, to acknowledge that basic truth. In Virginia, when asked to comment on proposed legislation that would permit abortion for a woman who has begun labor, Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam said:
[D]ecisions such as this should be made by providers, physicians, and the mothers and fathers that are involved. When we talk about third-trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of the mother, with the consent of physicians, more than one physician by the way, and it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus which is non-viable. So in this particular example, if the mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen, the infant would be delivered, the infant would be kept comfortable, the infant would be resuscitated if this is what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physician and the mother.
Three years ago, my mother died before my eyes. As I looked upon her still, unbreathing form on the hospital bed that had replaced her own bed in her room in my house, she was no less my mother. Death had not made her less a person. She may have no longer been “viable,” but she was still a unique individual. She was still my mother.
A child is no less a human being because his eyes have not yet seen the light of day or because her parents don’t want her. The ending of that child’s life is not “progress” or “evolution.” It is killing. It is death.
No matter when it happens, and no matter whose life is involved, death is never something to celebrate. Death is the end and enemy of life, and we deny that truth to our own destruction.