Thursday, January 28, 2010

Haiti and Abortion: A Tale of Two Catastrophes

A big debt of gratitude is owed to Mitch Majeski, pastor at Summitview Community Church in Fort Collins, CO, whose sermon last week provided much of the inspiration for this column.

Hollywood celebrities raised nearly $60 million in abortion-relief funds during last week’s MTV-sponsored telethon. Crisis pregnancy centers were among a handful of pro-life organizations that will benefit from the telethon.

Psych. There was no star-studded, televised charity event aimed at raising money to help the pro-life cause. There was, however, Hope for Haiti Now, hosted by George Clooney and Wyclef Jean, which raised $58 million for Haitian relief efforts.

Let’s face it: supporting Haiti is, like Hansel, so hot right now. It’s the cool thing to do. If Bono, Madonna, Beyonce and Sting show up for a charity telethon, the “cause” must be Billboard Top-20 hip. Haiti is the cause du jour.

On the one hand, the outpouring of support and compassion for the Haiti people is an inspiring testimony of our willingness to help our fellow Man. The best of the human condition is on full display in Haiti, in the midst of unspeakable tragedy and misery.

On the other, self-congratulation and self-exoneration seem to be the motivating factors for being charitable. Forget about true broken-heartedness over the catastrophe, the lost lives and the orphaned children. We write checks to ease a guilty conscience, to appear righteous. “I did my part.” The focus is on the giver, not the receiver. Celebrities arrive at and depart from a charity event in VIP motorcades and that makes them compassionate because…why?

Perhaps the biggest fallout of cause du jours is that we lose perspective on more devastating catastrophes closer to home. This last Sunday was Sanctity of Life Sunday, marking the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Pro-lifers marched and prayed all week in hope that the catastrophe of abortion will eventually come to an end.

Yes, I said catastrophe. It’s time we looked at abortion through this narrative.

Let’s break it down by the numbers. Since 1973, 50 million unborn children in the United States have been sacrificed on the altar of “choice”. Let that sink in: 50 million. Stalin has nothing on us. As of this writing, the estimated death toll in Haiti is approximately 150,000, although 200,000 are feared dead. We would need a Haiti earthquake every day until October in order to reach the death toll that abortion has racked up.

But we don’t see Hollywood elitists rallying to the cause of the unborn. The hypocrisy of the “bleeding-heart” Left runs so deep they’re willing to shell out millions of dollars to help save the lives of those affected by an earthquake, but here at home they champion the choice that has allowed the slaughter of 50 million innocent lives.

We on the Right aren’t off the hook, though. We withhold compassion and generosity because we don’t believe that continuing to throw money at Haiti will accomplish any lasting change, as David Brooks poignantly pointed out in the New York Times on Jan. 14.

So instead of giving money, give of yourself. Go to your local church, or local branches of the Salvation Army or Red Cross, and ask them how you can help the people of Haiti in real, tangible ways.

And if you want to try to bring an end to the abortion catastrophe, volunteer at your nearest Crisis Pregnancy Center, youth groups, community health departments, or on the staff of a pro-life political candidate.

Criticizing the Left in an op-ed column is easy; doing our part to save lives at home and abroad is hard work. But it’s the best kind of work, because we do it out of genuine humanity, not for the benefit of any singular political party or for a boost to our self-esteem.


  1. Hey Trevor, it's Katelyn Konecny. I saw this and couldn't stay away :)

    Other than calling abortion a "catastrophe" and citing some numbers, you don't offer much support to your position.

    Of course, being in law school, I think the debate begins with the Constitutional analysis. There is a fundamental right to plan your own family in the privacy of your own home (read: choice) found in the 14th and 5th Amendements. The 14th Amendment, via Substantive Due Process, protects against government invasion of liberty- which the Court decided long before Roe v. Wade included privacy.

    Furthmore, since Casey v. Planned Parenthood came out, things have changed in your favor slightly. The government can now regulate abortion pre-viability (which it couldn't with Roe) unless it creates an "undue burden." Generally, this means that women are required to have specific counseling and reflect on the choice a minimum of 24 hours befor committing. An "undue burden" is usually own established if it would result in physical violence toward the woman.

    The same arguments against abortion are often those found against miscegenation and sodomy laws- keeping tabs on people's lives for the benefit of (Christian) morals. Separation of Church and State, my friend.

    To prohibit a fundamental right demands the strictist scrutiny on behalf of the state- not rational or moral, but compelling. For the government to prove a compelling interest, it has to be damn good. They are up against a strong presummption.

    Anyway, hope everything is going really well for you! Take care buddy.

  2. Katelyn! Good to hear from you and thanks for the comment. How you liking DU Law?

    You make some very good/interesting statements about the constitutionality of abortion and the reasoning/decisions that have shaped current abortion law.

    But if I'm seeking to repudiate abortion, why would I "back up" my position with law and court decisions that I completely disagree with? The point of my article was to examine the humanity and not the "constitutionality" of abortion.

    When Pro-lifers discuss abortion (and the way I discussed it in my post) we aren't arguing whether strict scrutiny should apply nor are we making a constitutional analysis of abortion laws. We go to the very root of the issue: is an unborn human, a human? If it could be proven that life begins at conception/implantation/a week later/whenever - then any abortion performed after that point in time would constitute murder. Thus, women could not be given the "right to choose" to have an abortion, anymore than I would have the "right" to kill my wife or shoot a kiddie porno in my basement -- regardless if I invoke "privacy" to excuse my actions.

    The real question, then, is when does human life begin? Conception? Birth? Somewhere in between? And here's the problem w/ Roe and pretty much every other abortion case the Supremes have decided: they never answer that question. The real analogy to Roe v Wade is the Dread Scott decision - at least in that case the Supremes had the balls (not to mention the grotesque depravity) to say a black man isn't human. Whereas, in Roe, the Court avoided answering that question directly. Yet Roe indirectly concludes that an unborn child isn't human - the Justices just didn't/don't have the guts to say it.

    That's the point I'm getting at: if an unborn child is human, then Roe is unconstitutional because it says its "ok" to murder someone. And 50 million murders over a 40-yr span is quite the catastrophe. Now, if an unborn child isn't human, I'd have no problem w/ abortion.

    (more coming)

  3. The next question is: can we determine when human life begins? The answer is very nearly "yes" (not quite 100%, but we can't know anything in life 100% for sure). Obviously an unborn child is "alive" - otherwise there'd be nothing for the abortionist to kill; next, how do we "tell" someone is a living human? By DNA, fingerprints, brainwaves, heartbeat, etc. If you are a human, you have human DNA and no one else has the same DNA signature. Prior to conception, the egg and sperm have the DNA of the mother and father, respectively. Following conception, the newly formed embryo has its own unique DNA - not the DNA of its parents or a dog, or a fish, but its own unique human DNA. By three weeks, there's a heartbeat. By seven weeks, all the major organs will have formed in miniature (as well as limbs), including eyes and ears, liver, and kidneys. It also has its own unique fingerprints.

    But, going backwards in time, when did you cease to be human? A second after birth? A second before? A week before? Are premature-born babies (sometimes as early as 26 weeks) human? Etc., etc. Why are we inhuman at eight weeks but not at 26? Also, are we any more cognitively "aware" a second after birth? A week after? You don't hear anyone arguing that unborn puppies aren't dogs. Nor that unborn cats aren't cats. Yet we've reached such a logical and intellectual crisis in this world that intelligent people try to argue that something that wasn't human (the unborn child) miraculously becomes human (once it's born) and then, and only then, do our "rights" as humans attach.

    We were Speech Comm buddies together. I know as well as anyone that one of the things we heard in class after class was that we need to be concerned for the well-being and "humanity" of the defenseless, for those who have no voice. I'm just applying this virtue to the unborn. Christians are passionate about this issue b/c we believe humankind is created in the image of a loving, just and personable Creator. We're not the outcome of billions of years of mindless evolution. "Sanctity of life" isn't some abstract, intellectually-empty platitude. It's at the very core of our being, one made lovingly and purposefully by God. So we seek to protect that life, especially in its most vulnerable forms.

    Well, sorry for the book. I don't expect you to agree with my explanation, but I hope it gives you a better understanding of my position.

  4. Good replies, I appreciate hearing what you have to say.

    I wish I could respond to each of your points, but alas, now is not the time. Mainly because law school doesn't allow it. Other than that, school is going well. Hopefully when it is over and I get back from Europe in July I can respond!

    Until then, take care.

    PS- Your use of the word "kill" is thrown around quite loosely!