In recent days, some US states have been passing strong anti-abortion legislation. My own home State of Missouri is included in that, and I’m proud to say I’ve been writing my state legislators for months to push it through. It’s comforting to know I had a small part in this. The same goes for anyone who voted Pro-Life and/or wrote to their representatives in favor of life. The fundamental question at stake here is our own humanity. The difference between Pro-Lifers and Pro-Abortionists all comes down to two questions.
- When does human life begin?
- When is it okay to kill human life?
Let’s tackle the first question. When does human life begin?
According to Pro-Lifers, it begins at conception, when a human ovum is fertilized by a human sperm. At this point the number of chromosomes inside the cell goes from 23 to 46, making a distinct human person who is genetically different from the mother and father. It is at this point, Pro-Lifers say, that human life has begun. Though it has not yet formed into anything recognizable, this 46-chromosomal cell, which quickly divides into multiple cells (within hours) is unique and irreplaceable. Because this is when human life begins, this embryo must be left alone, to grow and develop unharmed. The one and only exception to this would be a medical emergency, wherein the growth of the embryo might cause real medical harm (even death) to the mother. An abortion, in such situations, would be considered an act of self-defense (legally), and therefore permissible to take a human life in exchange for saving one’s own. Outside of this extremely rare circumstance, abortion is considered murder.
According to Pro-Abortionists, human life begins at the moment the head of the fetus is birthed through the vaginal canal. Once the head is exposed to the outside world, this fetus is now a baby, and thus a human person. Some even go further than that, in saying that human life doesn’t really begin until the fetus takes his/her first breath. Once that happens, then and only then, the fetus becomes a living, breathing, human baby. Shockingly, thanks to the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, the head-crowning definition is the law in most states, and in some states (like New York for example) the first-breath definition is the law. Because a fetus is not considered a human person until the head crowns from the vagina, or the fetus takes his/her first breath, that means, under Roe v. Wade, (s)he is the “property” of the mother and the mother can choose to do whatever she wants with him/her. If the mother wants him/her dead, then he/she can be killed. It’s all legal, and there are plenty of abortion providers who are more than eager to grant her wish.
Now for the second question; when is it okay to kill human life?
The tradition that comes down to us from Christendom is that the killing of human life is only acceptable in cases of self-defense (including war) and as punishment for a crime. That’s it. That’s how it’s always been, until recently.
Modernism puts forth the notion that killing of human life is also acceptable for other reasons, such as when a person is still considered “property,” as in the case of a pre-born fetus, or when a human life is deemed to not have “enough quality” to go on. Some states, particularly on the West Coast, have already legalized euthanasia for the sick and elderly in such cases.
Now, before I go on here, let me say that these two definitions are diametrically opposed and irreconcilable. They cannot coexist together in a society. One will have to prevail over another, and for nearly 50 years now, thanks to Roe v. Wade, it is the Pro-Abortion position. Since Roe v. Wade, approximately 10 million abortions have been performed every decade. In 2019, we are now approaching a death-toll, by abortion, of approximately 50 million. That’s nearly ten-times what the Nazis were able to accomplish with their death camps before and during World War II. It’s over twice what Joseph Stalin was able to accomplished during his reign of terror in the Soviet Union. It’s an impressive record, to be sure, but it’s not the kind of record anyone should be proud of.
Recently, the State of New York passed the most permissive abortion law in the history of America. Not only would abortion be guaranteed in the state up to the day of delivery, but if an abortion is botched, the baby could be legally left to die outside of the mother’s womb. The bill’s passage was hailed by cheers and applause in the New York State Legislature. Much of the rest of the nation was appalled by this, and President Trump made mention of it in his State of the Union address.
In response, two states have now just recently passed the most restrictive abortion bans since Roe v. Wade. The first was Alabama, which simply outlawed abortion outright, except when the pregnancy causes the mother’s life to be in danger. In other words, only when there is real medical necessity, can an abortion be legally permitted. My own home state of Missouri followed suit with it’s own measure, restricting all abortions after 8-weeks gestation, when a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Again, there are no legal exceptions, except for real medical necessity to save the life of the mother. Other states are expected to follow suit, and the nation is now being divided between states that are extremely permissive of abortion, and states that are restricting it. As I said above, these two ideologies cannot coexist in society. They are like oil and water, mutually repellent.
So now what? What happens next?
Make no mistake about it, Alabama and Missouri’s abortion bans are direct challenges to Roe v. Wade. They are acts of rebellion against this incredibly unjust Supreme Court decision. What the Pro-Life movement has managed to accomplish after 40+ years is a resistance effort strong enough to take control of several state legislatures and make a challenge to the Supreme Court. Pro-Abortion legal teams will file lawsuits, and these will go to Pro-Abortion judges in federal courts, who will likely overturn these state laws. These decisions will be appealed, over and over again, until one makes it to the Supreme Court. When that happens, the Supreme Court justices are going to have the most important decision in the history of the United States on their hands, because how they decide will determine whether this Union will continue to exist, or be broken up, in the not-too-distant future. I say this because the issue of abortion today is just as important as the issue of slavery back in the 1850s. The Pro-Lifers are the modern abolitionists, in every way; from their cause, to their religious backing, to their appeal to civil rights, to their tactics, to their absolute refusal to give up — ever! The crusade to ban abortion is just that — a holy crusade — and the religious right will never give up on this.
If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Roe v Wade again, it will become apparent to the Pro-Life movement that the United States federal government is beyond redemption. The only solution to the problem may be nullification. An Article V Convention of States is already in the works. It’s going to happen eventually. The only question is “when?” When it finally does happen, you can be sure the Pro-Life movement will lobby the convention hard to get a Nullification Amendment added to its proposals. A Nullification Amendment, when ratified by the states (and it would be), would give the states the absolute and unquestionable power to nullify any executive order, federal law or Supreme Court decision that the people of the state choose to reject. That would include, among many other things, Roe v. Wade. Yes, there are other political means at the Pro-Life movement’s disposal, some far more draconian than others, and yes, this WILL be done if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Roe again, and you can bet I’ll be standing out front on this with my blog, among hundreds of other blogs. Is that a threat? Nope. It’s a promise. The convergence of the Pro-Life Movement with the Convention of States Movement will become an incredible force to be reckoned with.
On the other hand, if the Supreme Court rules against Roe v. Wade, it is highly unlikely that what we’ll get will be a Pro-Life ruling. The odds are extremely low for the Supreme Court coming out against abortion entirely. This is the Supreme Court, remember? It’s the same branch of government that upheld both slavery and segregation. It doesn’t have a very good reputation of doing the right thing. (So let’s just get that out in the open.) It’s far more likely to rule in favor of a compromise, and that compromise will be a return back to states’ rights. In other words, the Supreme Court may attempt to stall (or prevent) a future Nullification Amendment by doing what it should have done all along, and that is overturn Roe v. Wade in favor of letting the states govern themselves on this matter. That way, states that want to outlaw abortion may do so, and states that want to liberalize abortion may do so, without all this “messy Nullification Amendment business.” Remember, there is one thing the federal government wants more than anything else, and that is power. So if it throws Pro-Lifers a bone, while allowing Pro-Abortionists to maintain abortion-state strongholds in some places, it simultaneously allows the Federal government to stay in power a little longer without having to worry about a Nullification Amendment, which would strip the Federal government of all power across the board. I know, I know; some say that Supreme Court justices don’t think about such things behind their chamber doors, but I’m willing to bet otherwise. Power is intoxicating, even to a judge, and the possibility of losing that power is very unappealing, even to a Supreme Court justice.
Regardless of how this goes down, whether by overturning Roe v. Wade in favor of states’ rights, or by adding a Nullification Amendment via an Article V Convention of States, the end result is the same. There will be a division of states, just like there was prior to the Civil War. Back then there were Slave States and Free States. Of course, back then a lot of it had to do with the geography of North and South. This division will be much different, based more on religious affiliation that manifests itself politically between Red States and Blue States in presidential elections. As the lines are drawn states like Alabama and Missouri will become “Life States,” and states like New York will become “Kill States.” I know this term may be shocking to some, but whenever a state goes very liberal on abortion laws, it always follows with liberal permissiveness toward euthanasia laws as well. As it turns out, once a state has accepted the killing of innocent, unborn babies, the killing of the sick and elderly isn’t very difficult. States that authorize the killing of their unborn, as well as their sick and elderly, will gain the designation of “Kill States.” The lines will be drawn mostly along the current “Red State” and “Blue State” divide in presidential elections, and so this Union will be divided again as it once was long ago.
What happens next? Who knows? Can a nation survive with two completely separate and distinct societies within its borders? As time passes, the values of both people will change as well. Certainly, the Kill States will become more lax on other laws and standards of decorum. Who knows what form of debauchery will become “legal and normal” in such states. While as the Life States will most certainly gravitate toward more traditionally Christian standards of morality and decency. It may not be a problem for our generation, but it most certainly will become a problem for the next. America has a long history of failing to deal with problems like this until its too late. “Kicking the can down the road” is a time-honored American tradition. Yet as it stands right now, it may be the only solution we have available. One way or another, America’s Holocaust is going to leave its mark on this nation. What kind of mark it leaves, remains to be seen.
Shane Schaetzel is an Evangelical convert to the Catholic Church through Anglicanism and was trained as a catechist through the University of Dayton – a Catholic Marianist Institution. Shane’s articles have been featured on LifeSiteNews, ChurchMilitant, The Remnant Newspaper, Forward in Christ, and Catholic Online. Shane is an author of Catholic books, which can be read here.