The abortion lobby's crucifixion of Catholics is a straw-man tactic to avoid pro-life arguments
In the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson ruling, a scarlet C has been branded onto the backs of many Catholics (like myself) as the abortion lobby chooses to unleash its Roe reversal rage onto the Roman Catholic Church. From vulgar protests at Mass to the desecration of Catholic churches to the wide and wild accusation that the Supreme Court is establishing a state religion, the anti-Catholic response has been overwhelming — and utterly irrelevant.
Many abortion-supporters have wasted countless words railing on the Catholicism of the five SCOTUS justices who upheld Dobbs and focused their efforts on the supposed religious fanaticism of the pro-life movement. They have endlessly condemned my religion and harped on the friction between Church and State. Yet they still haven't made it to the heart of the discussion in which religious persuasion is beside the point: either abortion kills a valuable human life or it does not — and if abortion kills, then it is wrong.
The careful ducking and dodging of the real questions behind the abortion issue are too well calculated to be ignorance, and it would be wrong to say that the abortion lobby is stupid. On the contrary, the abortion industry has made a pretty penny by successfully manipulating women into paying to kill their own children for years. Clearly, this enemy is clever — and just clever enough to know that avoiding pro-life arguments is better than confronting them.
It is much easier to say that Catholics are "seeking to bring down American democracy" than fight the fact that abortion isn't a constitutional right, and Roe was an unconstitutional decision. After all, legal scholars on both sides of the aisle agree that Roe was poorly decided and "egregiously wrong from the start," as Justice Alito's majority opinion reads.
While Justice Sotomayor, a Catholic, argued against reversing Roe by evoking stare decisis and the Court's legitimacy, the Court has a long history of reviewing and reversing its own precedents and has reversed many wrongful decisions on slavery, segregation, sexism, and more. Reversing Roe was an extension of this restorative constitutional justice — and with such clear constitutional evidence, it's a tall task to attempt to say otherwise.
Indeed, it's a much simpler thing to spout off about the rosary acquiring a "militaristic meaning" than it is to argue with the 96% of American biologists who agree that life begins at fertilization. By choosing to demonize Catholicism instead, the abortion lobby gets away from having to look at the scientific evidence of the miracle of life in the womb. These people can similarly avert their eyes from the reality of abortion, which starves, poisons, or dismembers our most vulnerable demographic.
If the abortion lobby can busy our minds with the horrors of the "modern radical-traditionalist Catholic movement," Americans will have no time to realize that human rights abuses flourish when entire groups of human beings are seen as less than human. This is precisely what is happening now, as the wool of "crazy Catholics" is pulled over our nation's eyes to prevent them from understanding that the preborn have been stripped of the first human right: the right to life.
Human beings deserve this most basic human right for no other reason than the mere fact that they are human. Any other arbitrary standard opens the door for discrimination based upon ethnicity, religion, circumstances of birth, viability, etc. At some point in time, human rights have been abused for all of these reasons, and the discriminatory "logic" behind each abuse is the same: in order to be treated as human, you must be human and something else. A human and this skin color. A human and this religion.
With abortion, it's that you must be a human and a certain age.
Human rights issues — of which abortion is the foremost today — go beyond individual religious or secular dogmas. They are a harsh reality that we as a society need to deal with, not run away from by substituting straw-man arguments or adopting an "ignorance is bliss" attitude. These are conversations our country needs to be having in earnest — and that is why Students for Life of America (SFLA) has chosen to launch our Fall Campus Tour on this topic.
Our Abortion Is Not Right Fall Campus Tour will focus on the rights surrounding the abortion issue: the fact that abortion is not a constitutional right, that life is a human right, and that abortion is not right for women's health. Our hope with this tour is to anchor conversations about abortion in legal understanding, science, and morality. We want to help college students across the nation recognize that protecting life is the duty of all mankind — not just Catholics.
Sarah Michalak is Students for Life of America's programs manager. She oversees SFLA programs and develops student resources, displays, training sessions, and campus tours, including the 2022 "Abortion Is Not Right" Fall Campus Tour.
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