I have been troubled by the increased use of the words “moral” and “immoral” to judge actions, ideas, policy, and legislation, whether they are Democrat or Republican politicians, journalists, or people talking on Facebook or Twitter. It doesn’t matter what the topics is—border security, abortion, racism, or climate change—people on both sides of the proverbial aisle have taken to declaring their position “as morally right” and the other side “immoral and wrong”.
It is really confusing when people holding opposing opinions on one topic both seek to own the moral high ground on the issue. How can a civilized society survive when we are on opposite sides of some very critical issues, especially those pertaining to life itself?
Since January 22, 2019 when Gov. Cuomo lit up the Freedom Tower in New York City and celebrated signing a law that expands access to abortion up to birth, the words “moral” and “immoral” have been employed ad-nauseum to describe the laws, as well as the attitude of those present at the signing of the bill.
Still, while I obviously feel it is immoral to kill babies at any time, late-term abortions and killing babies born alive during an abortion procedure is immorality on steroids!
For the last six weeks I have been struggling to process and understand the incongruities surrounding the moral platitudes being discussed in the late-term abortion and infanticide debate. I have tried to track the various sides of the arguments to seek a way forward in this critical cultural conversation. Consider the following points with me:
At least twelve states have passed new laws that provide additional protections from abortion for unborn babies. Iowa is going a step further and working to pass a Constitutional Amendment for their state that declares: “The constitution does not secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”
On the other side of the fence, five states legislatures, including New York, have passed laws that either remove limits to abortion and expand access to the procedure for all nine months of pregnancy, or they are declaring abortion is a fundamental constitutional right that should be available anytime. (Arizona and Virginia tried but could not get the required votes to pass similar laws.) In all these laws, the emphasis is on the right of the woman to decide what is best for her, with no acknowledgement of the unborn child’s rights or their inherent dignity.
In addition to states passing laws – some protecting the unborn, others strengthening their right to kill them—the Unites States Senate introduced The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act that would require that babies born alive in an abortion receive the same basic medical treatment as any other baby born at that gestational age.
The Act (S311) had no application to abortion, the purpose of the law was to ensure that a baby born during an abortion, an infant completely outside the womb, would be treated humanely, as opposed to letting the baby die, which is infanticide. Shouldn’t a child born in this country be entitled to medical care and legal protection as a person?
Sadly, the Senate couldn’t get the required 60 votes, and members of the U.S. House have asked more than 10 times that their version of the bill (H.R. 962) be brought to the floor for a vote. But the Speaker of the House refuses to allow the bill to be voted on.
While all these laws are being introduced, passed, or voted down, the mainstream media has ignored them, beyond the initial week of New York’s celebration and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam faux paus acknowledging he thinks it is okay to let a baby die, and that the decision should be between the mother and her doctor.
The media recognizes that discussing late-term abortion and infanticide undermines support for abortion, as people are forced to consider what happens during an abortion, so they are staying silent. They are not reporting which Senators voted against providing medical care to a baby born alive during an abortion; they are protecting the politicians instead of the vulnerable infants.
Some journalists have even gone so far as to deny the fact that babies are born alive, declaring that the Act is just a tactic by pro-lifers to promote misinformation. All while they ignore people like Melissa Ohden, Giana Jessen, and many others who are coming forward to share their stories and are asking, “Why people are willing to sacrifice lives like ours to protect abortion on demand.”
Late-term abortions are performed on babies around 20 weeks gestation and beyond. Around the same time we started debating these abortions, news came that a baby girl born at just 21 weeks and weighing less than ONE POUND, is now a thriving 4-year-old. The truth is that if you don’t want to be pregnant, instead of having an abortion, we can induce delivery, so the baby can be born. While we all know it is best to allow a child to be in utero as long as possible, being born early gives you a better chance of survival than being aborted.
Belief that women need to be able to abort their baby late in the pregnancy because of the health of the mother or fetal anomaly diagnosis is used to perpetuate the need for late-term abortions. But medical leaders of the American College of Pediatricians, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and other medical groups support the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act and say abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother. Furthermore, perinatal hospice is a better answer if the baby is likely to die at birth due to health complications.
Since the new state laws have been passed, a recent Marist poll has found the number of Americans wanting to limit abortion to the first trimester up to 80 percent, and folks oppose abortions increased from 70 and 80 percent of in the last three months—all while many of our elected representatives declare protecting the right to abortion for all nine months of pregnancy the morally right thing to do!
As many of you know, Anglicans for Life doesn’t endeavor to focus on abortion from a political or legislative view. We are not representatives of one political party or the other. We believe abortion is a pastoral issue that requires the Church to actively participate in addressing the topic biblically, as a Gospel issue.
But the reality is that we now live in a post Judeo-Christian society, and morality—culturally speaking—is a fluid concept. Just as truth can be what we want – good morals are whatever you or I want them to be.
However, the problem I keep coming back to is how do we as a country, a society, co-exist with the vast array of truths, morals, and values being defined by whoever has the microphone or pen? There is a clash coming – and it goes beyond the topic of abortion, late-term abortion, and infanticide.
Honestly, it is in times like this, that I am so thankful for my faith, as I cannot see how we as fallen human beings with very different beliefs of right and wrong will be able to co-exist in the years to come. Only in knowing that God is in control, that He is not only omnipotent, that He is omniscient – all-knowing, all-seeing, and all-wise—can I have peace. It is reassuring to know that our current predicament doesn’t surprise Him; He knew that we would be here at this time, and He knows how we will get through it.
Therefore, I have determined afresh that, in His perfect plan, He has called us to be alive during this time in history. We each have a purpose to serve in His Kingdom plan. The truth is this time in our country isn’t about being “moral” or “immoral”, it’s about surviving and actually thriving in an environment that is amoral – void of morality. And we can only do that with Him, the one true judge of what is moral and immoral, because He is with us always.
Written by AFL President Deacon Georgette Forney