Gloucester Daily Times Debate on Abortion (48), April 14, 1986

Personal Response to April 11 Letter to the Editor

April 17, 1986

Ms. Ann Hewitt, 59 Main Street, Gloucester, MA 01930

Dear Ms. Hewitt:

In reading your letter to the Times yesterday, I was glad to note your recognition that abortion does indeed kill nascent human life. From that point, we can more honestly address the other appropriate concerns you raised.

At the bottom line I see the abortion controversy as centering on a message of fear and despair on the one hand, as opposed to a message of hope on the other. You say that abortion may be the choice which represents “the lesser of two evils,” a phrase which has its proper usage. But let us examine it here to see if it fits.

What is the primary ethic of human civilization? Is it to preempt a human life on the expectation (we do err) that such a life will meet pain and sorrow? This is a (to be ironic) celebration of despair. And if so, who has the authority and perspicuity to determine what the future holds, and who should be subject to such preemption? This, it seems, amounts to playing God.

On the other hand, I embrace your suggestions — that is the Christian way. It is to add hope in the face of pain and sorrow, never to take way. This is the ethic which maintains the sanctity of all human life as primary. It is a testimony that hope overcomes fear, and the willingness to embrace it.

Hope is courageous and perseverent, and this is the true pro-life ethic. What is little known through the media is that there are some 6,000 crisis pregnancy centers, homes for unwed mothers, and services to integrate such women back into school and successful employment, across the U.S. There are thousands of homes that have opened themselves to take in needy women in this context. And all of it is virtually supported by free-will contributions, not tax dollars. If a small portion of the abortion industry moved in this hopeful, nurturing direction, the impact would be enormous (abortion clinics gross some $700 million each year, 90% of which pays the doctors at extraordinary rates, all in the shelter of tax exemptions). In terms of your point about adoption, there are currently 1.5 million couples waiting to adopt (a wait that can take years), while at the same time an annual 1.6 million abortions (conservative estimate).

If abortion is ever to be justified by you or others, it must be on the basis that sanctions the killing of innocent human life. Are you willing to ascribe of that ethic for human civilization? For myself, hope and life for all, without discrimination, is much more attractive. And I am willing to pay the price to live accordingly.

Yours truly,

John C. Rankin