Gloucester Daily Times Debate on Abortion (91), April 28, 1989

All Choices Have Boundaries

In a recent letter to the editor, several members of Cape Ann NOW sought to define a “pro-choice” view as it relates to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

I have some questions. First, why do these members of NOW consistently refuse to define when life begins? All law is based on a prior definition of human life, apart from which “choice” cannot be defined nor protected.

This is the problem with the Roe decision. Contrary to all precedents in American law, it pretended to be ignorant of this central question, and said it need not be resolved. Roe knew of no evidence against “conception” as the beginning point, so the ruling evaded it altogether in an enthusiasm to make abortion legal by fiat.

Indeed, Roe opposed democratic process to address this question. And so did Massachusetts Attorney General James Shannon, Planned Parenthood and the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts as they opposed out ballot initiative last fall that was the largest public policy petition drive in state history. I have argued all this is an Amicus Curiae brief for the U.S. Supreme Court Webster case.

Second question. What is choice? Do not all choices have boundaries, so that life is protected and enhanced. If abortion rights activists cannot disprove the humanity of the unborn (they never try — the facts are too overwhelming), then they undermine the purpose of choice by deliberate falsehood.

Third, why is it that more men favor abortion than women, and why is it that more than 80 percent of pro-life activists are women? There is no gender gap here — it is the “marriage gap,” i.e., the difference in lifestyle by those who believe sexuality is for marriage, and those who feel otherwise. This is a generalization, but it proves true in a vast majority of instances.

The Cape Ann NOW members raise important questions, and no consistent pro-life advocate can fail to redress the cause for abortion, and the need for women to enjoy their true and equal dignity, in the sight of God and society. But abortion is not the answer, and abortion activists disqualify themselves from the debate when they refuse to define any and all relevant concerns. Life and choice must be defined in their interdependent relationship. One cannot be ignore without peril to the other.

John C. Rankin, New England Christian Action Council, 11 Pleasant St.