Gloucester Daily Times Debate on Abortion (20), January 2, 1986

It Still Means Killing of the Unborn

With respect to Norm Parker’s recent rebuttal to various of my views, allow me to offer the following remarks.

First, I am most willing to gain insight, and conclude that one particular letter of mine was baiting the issue, tit for tat, in response to a Times editorial. And there my language could have been better defined. I will try and sum up my concern as follows: Planned Parenthood operates on the assumption that sex is valid an healthy outside of marriage, and they are philosophically and historically in favor of teenage sexuality as a good option. On this basis, they promote abortion as a favored answer when birth control fails, and in fact Planned Parenthood is the single largest provider of abortion in the United States, not to mention the additional number of referrals for abortion they make. From their own sources, Planned Parenthood indicated it performed more than 87,000 abortion in 1984, with total Title X federal funds of $17 million used accordingly. Our tax dollars.

Planned Parenthood says that it wishes to make abortion obsolete (or reasonable so) with the perfection of birth control devices. Somehow, they advertise this as “pro-life.” My challenge is at their assumptions of non-marital sexuality as healthy for society. When they get involved in sex education in the schools, it is upon this philosophical basis. They do advocate teenage sexuality, and they do provide abortions. These are the facts, no hyberbole added.

Norm chastises me for disturbing opposing views. I ask, is the above a distortion? He also chastises me in saying, “(L)ike it or not, representatives of particular religious teachings must engage the dialogue around abortion as a social issue, with no more expectation for absolute consideration than anyone else.” What distresses me here, is that Norm and I sat down for two hours some weeks ago following a meeting of the Teenage Pregnancy Task Force (initiated by [State Representative] Pat Fiero). He knows better — we agree marvelously at this point! In fact, in a series of My View columns I am writing presently, I am articulating a thesis I use in public debate, and which has been in published form on several occasions earlier this year. The starting point for the thesis is my subscription to liberal arts inquiry, and openness about my own philosophical presuppositions. And in defining the ethics of Christian involvement in a pluralistic society, I say, “We (as Christians) expect no more political freedom than we gladly affirm citizens of all ideological persuasions, who also honor the U.S. Constitution.” I expect no absolute consideration. I am gladly submitting the claims of Jesus Christ to the scrutiny of the public forum. The rub comes in, now with any claims I make for myself, but with the claims Jesus Christ makes. And he proclaims that we are all accountable to God for the lives we lead, whether we embrace or reject the Gospel. And for those who reject it, they stand in judgment on the Last Day. This is Christianity, pure and simple. I am so convinced of it, and I celebrate the forgiveness and wholeness I have in Jesus Christ. Thus I share it, and I wish for others to embrace the same. But never by coercion, only by honest and open persuasion.

Abortion is coercion, violently so. And here, Norm and others, consistently avoid the fact: abortion kills life in the human womb. The only people who can choose abortion are those who themselves were not aborted. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Norm calls for the Christian Action Council et al. to marshal our forces to combat teenage pregnancy “without stifling the development process of choice.” We have and are are marshaling our forces, but we don’t buy the euphemistic doublespeak of “developmental process of choice.” All that means is the choice of an adult to cut off the developmental process and choice of a fetal child who fights to live. All it means is the killing of the unborn, however rationalized.

I know Norm genuinely and persistently seeks to address many avenues of social injustice and I respect that, and can learn much from him. But without the protection and esteem of all human life, what basis is there to protect any life other than arbitrary choice where the strong prevail?

John C. Rankin, New England Christian Action Council