By ARCHBISHOP WILTON D. GREGORY, Commentary | Published September 16, 2015 | En Español
Each side staked out its territory long ago.
Many who claim to be “pro-choice” will tolerate no challenge to any abortion at any time during a pregnancy nor will they reject any abortion procedure as too brutal or indefensible. They are quite consistent in their stance.
Those of us who have steadfastly and proudly borne the label of “pro-life” cannot envision any situation that tolerates the planned termination of a pregnancy since we consider all human life at each moment from conception to natural death a precious gift. We too must remain consistent in our resolve.
The parameters that distinguish our positions have long ago been established. We all know them, and yet we keep protesting the other opinion from the security of our own predetermined position.
The recent revelations of how Planned Parenthood has engaged in the sale of the organs and tissue of aborted babies has shocked and scandalized many people. But we in the pro-life community may not be as surprised at this despicable revelation as others may be, since we have long believed that once you rationalize the taking of the life of a child within the womb, how you dispose of the remains becomes just another detail.
When Dr. Kermit Gosnell was convicted of brutally crushing the life out of babies living within the womb while providing substandard medical care for the women seeking his services, the public outrage was short-lived. We seem to have a short attention span for such horrendous behavior.
When 26 youngsters and teachers were slaughtered in Newtown, Connecticut, many people thought that this barbarity would finally catapult us into addressing our growing gun violence, but we likewise have a short attention span for such tragedies.
The same is true for other examples of ruthless destruction of human life. We just don’t seem to have long memories that succeed in finally compelling us to take effective action to escape such brutality in the future.
The people who recorded the conversations involving Planned Parenthood officials describing the marketing of the organs and tissue of aborted babies obviously understood that our attention span for such despicable behavior is quite transitory. They therefore have chosen to release those interviews gradually and deliberately over a period of weeks to continually place before the American people the horrific situation that they have discovered.
Pro-choice organizations were absolutely outraged that these videos would be released over time in order to keep the atrocity before the public. Had all those videos been released simultaneously, we probably would have already forgotten them. Other diversionary tactics were taken—the marketing of aborted tissues for financial gain was often denied prime media exposure as a serious ethical violation. Media organizations that are supportive of the pro-choice position were hesitant to provide any but the most limited coverage.
Nonetheless the unhurried issuance of these disturbing records kept the issue from being too easily dismissed and forgotten. And our insistence that such procedures be condemned and that those who engage in this behavior must face consequences needs to be stressed. The governmental funds provided to Planned Parenthood must now be delivered to those clinics and organizations that provide real medical assistance to women who need them and not to enrich those who traffic in aborted children for monetary gain.
For those of us who are pro-life, we must continue to insist that every human life is valued, defended and respected. To shrink from that position for even a second gives ground to those who are dogged in making their opposing position known.
Being pro-life embraces everyone in each moment and every stage of human life—infants in the womb, prisoners, the critically sick among us as they are dying, undocumented immigrants, the poor living on our streets—everyone.
The struggle to restore our society’s respect for human life will be neither easy nor swift, but it is our responsibility as people of faith to remain focused and persevere. As these heinous stories of the merchandising of aborted babies continue to emerge, the ultimate price of our inaction rests with each of us.