Christian Worldview

Don’t Tell Me What to Do

"I think abortion is killing a life. [But] the person who is pregnant should decide whether to do it or not." Those are the words of Estrella Flores, an immigrant from Ecuador, who attended the so-called "March for Women's Lives," held here in Washington, D.C., this past Sunday. Ms. Flores and thirty-four other immigrants from her Brooklyn neighborhood were bused to the march by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, one of the march organizers. They were among the reported 500,000 who marched in the pro-choice rally. I've been in Washington since the civil-rights marches of the sixties, and from my office in the White House, I have watched the anti-Vietnam protestors. There's one thing I have learned that's true of almost all of these demonstrations: People don't come. They are brought. Last weekend's group understood this very well. They brought many protestors by downplaying the issue that the march was supposed to be about. According to the New York Times, "A selling point for Latinos was the idea that they would march, not just for abortion rights, but for a range of issues that affect immigrant women, including the need for better prenatal health care, medical insurance, and access to birth control. . . . 'They're not going to come to an abortion rally, but they are going to come to a rally that's about taking control of your life,' said Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, president of the Hispanic Federation." And T-shirts read in Spanish: "Health. Dignity. Justice." Now, with this kind of advertising, it sounds like the ranks of the marchers were more heavily padded than the organizers would like to admit. But let's think about what "taking control of your life" actually means in this context. It brings us back to Estrella Flores's ideas about abortion: that it's wrong -- in fact, that it's "killing" -- but that people should be able to do it anyway, because it's their life to control. Ms. Flores's attitude is deeply troubling, especially when you realize how widespread it is. Over and over again, people at the march made similar comments -- the kind of comments that make your hair stand on end. The political debate is changing among activists on the ground. They're now willing to admit that abortion is killing. But they're arguing that their right to do what they want, without restraint, justifies that killing. What we are seeing, of course, is the logical consequences of the desire for personal autonomy in an era of moral relativism. People can say with a perfectly straight face and without a twinge of conscience, "Yeah, it is wrong. It is murder. But nobody is going to tell me I can't do it." If this is really the position that the pro-abortion movement is taking, then we're in a heap of trouble. If my neighbor thinks to himself, "I know stealing is wrong, but I don't want anybody to tell me I can't do it," I'm going to start putting extra padlocks on my house and bars on my windows. If somebody says, "I know pedophilia is a bad thing, but I have the right to do what I want with my own body," I am going to start keeping my grandkids locked in the house when they come to visit. The "don't tell me what to do" mentality will unravel the very fabric of our society. If people actually believe that their autonomy is so important that it gives them the right to kill the innocent, then none of us is safe. I wonder how many of those folks getting bused to Washington ever thought of that. For further reading and information: "'Keep Your Laws Off My Body!' Screamed Left-Wing Celebrities," CyberAlert, Media Research Center, 27 April 2004. Andrea Elliott, "Against Abortion but in Favor of Choice," New York Times, 26 April 2004. (Free registration required.) Pia de Solenni, "Sounds of Silence," National Review Online, 29 April 2004. Erin Montgomery, "'Abort Bush'," Weekly Standard, 27 April 2004. Kathryn Jean Lopez, "We're F*****' Feminists!National Review Online, 26 April 2004. See also this article. Kathleen Parker, "Abortion march is ugly spectacle,", 28 April 2004. Suzanne Fields, "Where women can't march,", 29 April 2004. Lynn Vincent, "The end is near," World, 1 May 2004. See also the "Worldview for Parents" pages "Big Business" and "What's the Big Deal about Abortion?" BreakPoint Commentary No. 040419, "Building Better Babies." BreakPoint Commentary No. 040420, "Spin Control." BreakPoint Commentary No. 040421, "Irreplaceable." William Saletan, "Face the Fetus," Slate, 29 March 2004. Peter Kreeft, Three Approaches to Abortion (Ignatius, 2002).


Chuck Colson


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