It was supposed to be big news that the abortion rate has fallen to its lowest level in 30 years. They did not tell us that an estimated 49 million have died through abortion in America since 1973. But the damage has been felt in other ways. The Supreme Court’s legalization of abortion has undermined the philosophy of God-given rights that made our progress as a nation possible.
Decades before the legalization of abortion in the U.S., ex-Communist Whittaker Chambers would explain how the abortion mentality was the communist mentality. “Abortion was a commonplace of party life,” he wrote in his classic 1952 work Witness. “There were Communist doctors who rendered that service for a small fee. Communists who were more choosy knew liberal doctors who would render the same service for a larger fee. Abortion, which now fills me with physical horror, I then regarded, like all Communists, as a mere physical manipulation.”
It was all physical because, in the communist view, there was nothing spiritual. Chambers was better known as the former Communist who would expose top State Department official and United Nations founder Alger Hiss as a Communist agent. But Witness was about an even greater struggle between the forces of darkness and light, of which communism versus freedom was just one chapter.
An Awful Thing
In 1933, when his wife became pregnant, he said they immediately knew that, as faithful communists, their immediate option was abortion. But his wife came over, took his hands, and burst into tears, saying, “We couldn’t do that awful thing to a little baby, not to a little baby.” It was the natural instinct of a mother. Chambers wrote that this was a pivotal moment: “If the points on the long course of my break with Communism could be retraced, that is probably one of them―not at the level of the conscious mind, but at the level of unconscious life.”
Chambers didn’t have access to a sonogram of his wife’s unborn child. He didn’t know about unborn children feeling pain. But it just made common sense to conclude that the unborn child was a human being. This awareness and human emotion began the process of unraveling the communist philosophy of atheistic materialism.
So how is it that so many people today do not recognize the sheer physical horror of abortion? It is because they are not open to a philosophy of life that recognizes the inherent worth of every human being. The secular educational system is failing, and parents are not doing their jobs, either. Another factor, the liberal media keep repeating the lie that abortion is simply the “right to choose.”
Meanwhile, the Communists have transformed the “right” to abortion into a requirement in China that women have abortions, for the sake of the one-child policy, even while the regime ratifies a so-called United Nations “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.” The communists’ manipulation of the United Nations was one of the things Chambers warned America about. We tolerate this deception at our own peril.
Personally, Chambers was being guided by the invisible hand toward the absolute truth. It was through recognizing the humanity of a child, a “fetus” in today’s jargon, that the influence of communism on his thinking and life was gradually eroded. While Chambers would prevail over Hiss, communism would continue its advance, here and abroad.
The worst is yet to come because the “slippery slope” caused by acceptance of abortion is already here, as evidenced by the much-publicized starvation death of Terri Schiavo, a disabled woman, in 2005. Her mother was forced to stand aside, facing arrest if she provided even a drop of water to her child’s lips. Yet, it has become fashionable, even among some conservatives, to say that Congress overreached when it attempted to give Terri Schiavo the rights of judicial review and due process granted to death row inmates and suspected terrorists.
We could be the next victims. Today, the dangerous billionaire George Soros waits in the wings, armed with the results of his nine-year “Project on Death in America,” preparing to put more lives at risk. With one of his pet Democrats in the White House, either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, one can anticipate that government will attempt to seize even more control over the health care system, ration treatments to the elderly, and then eventually implement a government-sponsored euthanasia program to target and eliminate those standing in the way of “solving” the financial problems in the Social Security and Medicare systems.
The Roots of Our Collapse
In order to turn this dire situation around, Americans have to grasp on a philosophical level what has taken hold of our society. It is the same philosophy that Chambers exposed and fought against. It holds that human life is worth only what the government dictates. Action is required to save our country and its place in the world.
In a January 13 homily urging people to participate in Tuesday’s March for Life in Washington, D.C., Pastor Msgr. Paul Dudziak captured the terrible changes that have taken place in our lifetimes. Our society, he pointed out, was founded upon the idea that we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, especially the right to life. “At the very foundation of our nation there is a recognition that God is the source of our dignity as human beings. And the state recognizes that,” he notes. “With abortion the state bestows human dignity and its rights on you at some biologically arbitrary moment. Or because of conditions over which you have no control. So we’ve changed our philosophy as a nation from one where the state recognizes that the Creator gives you human dignity to one where the state decides when you have human dignity. It’s a colossal change in the very foundations of our society…It’s a sea change in our philosophy as a nation.”
In effect, the great United States of America has been gradually adopting the communist philosophy of the enemy that we supposedly defeated. Alger Hiss may have lost the court case but his ideas are winning.
Marching for life is not just a religious but a patriotic obligation. As Pastor Dudziak noted, “I believe that our freedoms are much more secure and our nation much safer if the government simply recognizes our dignity as coming from a Creator, rather than bestowing it upon us by law, which may eventually even be different from one state to another.”
The Legal Assault
This battle has been playing out ever since Chambers’ nemesis, communist spy and State Department official Alger Hiss, laid the groundwork for the United Nations and a host of international treaties. Hiss’s nightmare vision didn’t die with his conviction for perjury, for denying he was a Soviet spy. Communism as a philosophy was very much alive and well and accepted by the United Nations, which Hiss served as the first acting secretary-general. The U.N. turned out to be a Communist Trojan horse, promoting the Communist philosophy under different names. One of the latest is “sustainable development,” a philosophy which holds that the earth has rights, but not people.
In his 1953 work, Treaty Law and the Constitution, the great writer Felix Morley noted that parts of the Soviet Constitution were being inserted into U.N. treaties that were designed to become the “supreme law” of the United States under the treaty-making power of the Constitution. “From the viewpoint of the Kremlin,” he wrote, “it is certainly easier to have Communists indirectly write our laws than to attempt to achieve the same objective by military conquest.”
The battle, he noted, was between different theories about the rights of man: “The American theory is that men ‘are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights’ and that they should be protected by law against government encroachment on these natural rights.”
By contrast, the U.N. (and Soviet) theory is that “rights are not natural and unalienable but are provisionally created by government itself. Human rights are regarded as non-existent until they are spelled out by government agencies. It follows from this assumption that rights depend upon and are developed by the constant expansion of governmental power.”
Tragically, Morley said that not even all of the “free nations” of the world believed in the American theory of natural rights. Much of the “free world,” he noted, is “more receptive to Russian than to American political theory.” But is this American theory even acceptable in America today?
The “Reagan Republicans”
It’s a sign of the conservative crackup that one of the leading “Reagan Republicans” in the race, Fred Thompson, has refused to endorse a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution to correct the legal obscenity that the Supreme Court issued in 1973. Thompson sounds like Reagan, saying, for example, that the government that gives you what you want is strong enough to take it all away from you. But he forgot to apply this principle to the abortion controversy. He forgot that the business of government is protecting innocent human life.
Reagan endorsed not only the Human Life Amendment but other measures to affirm the sanctity of human life. In his famous essay in The Human Life Review, he declared, “My Administration is dedicated to the preservation of America as a free land, and there is no cause more important for preserving that freedom than affirming the transcendent right to life of all human beings, the right without which no other rights have any meaning.”
Rather than directly attack the alien and anti-American philosophy of government giving rights and taking them away, Thompson’s approach is to let the states decide when life begins. Incredibly, the National Right to Life Committee endorsed him, essentially arguing that a Human Life Amendment was not achievable at this time. But a states’ rights approach to abortion makes a mockery of the right to life that America’s founders recognized as coming from God, not government. The Thompson approach is a compromise that would never be accepted when dealing with other human rights.
Conservatives are themselves confused and misled. A group called AdvanceUSA has produced a flier (PDF) insisting that all of the Republican candidates, except for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, are pro-life. But as we’ve seen in the Fred Thompson case, that’s extremely misleading, if not false. If pro-life does not mean returning to the original intent of the founders, what does it mean?
For this and other reasons, Thompson is doing poorly in the race so far. But at least he’s doing better than Giuliani, the pro-choice Republican some conservatives believe will appoint pro-life judges. His philosophy seems to be as mixed up as his personal life.
Where They Stand
John McCain’s website lists pro-life “human dignity” as one of several issues. But his position is that the Supreme Court’s abortion decision, Roe v. Wade, should be overturned and the issue of abortion returned to the states. Ron Paul, a medical doctor who has delivered over 4,000 babies, has basically the same approach. While he declares that “The right of an innocent, unborn child to life is at the heart of the American ideals of liberty,” he is opposed to “federalizing” the issue. Mitt Romney, a self-described convert to the pro-life cause, also favors returning the issue “to the American people and their elected representatives at the state and federal level.”
By contrast, Mike Huckabee states, “I support and have always supported passage of a constitutional amendment to protect the right to life. My convictions regarding the sanctity of life have always been clear and consistent, without equivocation or wavering.” Huckabee can be criticized for flip-flopping on various issues, but his forthright and no-compromise position on the right-to-life is striking a chord with people.
While Fred Thompson has damaged himself by flip-flopping on whether Terri Schiavo deserved the right to life, Huckabee has stated clearly and directly that it was not only appropriate but morally correct and imperative to intervene to make sure that her rights were protected.
On ABC’s “This Week” program, under intense questioning by George Stephanopoulos about whether it was appropriate for Congress to intervene on her behalf, he declared, “In that case, I believe that it ultimately was because anything to do that will help save a human life and at least show the importance, imperative of valuing life, I think is a good thing…every human life has dignity and intrinsic worth and value and I think it’s fundamental to the very essence of our civilization that we treat each other with that sense of dignity. If we don’t, if we ever violate the idea that we’re all of equal worth, I think we’ve lost something more than a political debate, I think we’ve lost our moral center, because if one person is more valuable because of IQ, ancestry, net worth, if one person is more valuable than another because of ability or disability, then we really have redefined what it means to be not just a human being but specifically what it means to be an American.”
This is the essence of the American theory of natural rights. It is tragic that the Republicans only have one presidential candidate who is willing or able to forcefully articulate this philosophy in the face of hostility from the liberal media. Huckabee, of course, has an advantage, having been a pastor himself. But there’s no excuse for the others not to understand the issues and the stakes.
The liberal media, always knee-jerk pro-abortion in their mentality, are only part of the problem. The other part is a “conservative media” with an enormous amount of influence that nevertheless doesn’t know how to communicate a conservative message. Too many conservatives with media access spend their time entertaining or attacking others, rather than doing the difficult job of researching the issues and informing their audiences. It is also difficult and potentially offensive to some to talk about a moral crisis.
The March for Life on Tuesday is committed to the Human Life Amendment. Its declaration of Life Principles begins by paraphrasing one of America’s founding documents: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all human beings are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which is the right to life…”
If most of the politicians won’t recognize or even acknowledge the words of America’s founders, then perhaps we can educate some of our young people to do so. That’s one reason why I’m going with my wife and children to the March for Life. The tremendous turnout of young people at the annual demonstration is something to experience. They are the hope of America.
Students for Life of America is doing admirable work in this area, constructing Cemeteries of the Innocents around the country. One is outside Jesus the Divine Word Church in Huntingtown, Maryland, where 721 crosses were put in place as a memorial. They represent the number of unborn babies killed every working hour of every working day. It amounts to 28,000 a week.
Those crosses do have an impact. But it also won’t hurt to take another look at Whittaker Chamber’s magnificent Witness, which had such a major influence on Ronald Reagan himself.
Chambers wrote that his wife had almost died from giving birth. He was taking care of her when she told him to go into the nursery to see the beautiful child they had produced. After that, he returned to his wife. She was “no longer only my wife but the mother of our child―the child we all yearn for, who, even before her birth, had begun, invisibly, to lead us out of that darkness, which we could not even realize, toward that light, which we could not even see.”
Judging by where most of the candidates come down on the issue, and their general failure to address our moral decline as a nation, it will surely get darker in America. We are no longer truly free if freedom continues to be denied to the most innocent and defenseless among us.