“Do you believe parents have the right to know if their underage daughter gets an abortion or transgender treatment?”
The man answering the door paused. Then he replied:
When I was in school, they taught us about Dr. Mengele, a Nazis doctor who experimented on prisoners in unspeakably cruel ways. When we heard about that, we cried with the rest of the Jewish people: “Never again.”
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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But now I’ve learned that the whiny kid in my Boy Scout troop grew up, got surgery, and calls himself a woman. He was probably going through a lot of the same things I went through at his age, but he didn’t have good parents to tell him to stick it out and see it through. I don’t know what kind of world we’re leaving you all.
A month later, I stood on a porch decorated with rainbow flags while a middle-aged woman with an expression free of irony told me, “Women—I mean, womb-carriers—should be able to do whatever they want with their bodies.”
These are both conversations I’ve had this summer knocking on doors for the campaign against the “Right to Reproductive Freedom” amendment proposed to Ohio’s constitution.
History remembers Dr. Mengele as the “Angel of Death” and his human experiments as medical torture. But the idea that a woman can do whatever she wants with her body is accepted by most Americans. However, viewing pregnancy as something that a “womb-carrier” can opt out of is, at its root, the same idea that justified Dr. Mengele’s knife.
Activists try to justify abortion by calling it a simple procedure to remove a clump of cells. This separates the act of sex from birth. Sexual identity, then, is not rooted in the body’s natural potential to produce life but, instead, in self-determination. Abortionists refer to the “trauma of forced pregnancy” as if giving birth—not putting a suction tube in a woman’s uterus—is the unnatural procedure. It’s a rejection of the truth that our bodies are designed for a purpose and that our lives have meaning.
To say that a baby is just a clump of cells devalues our own origin and reduces the body to a biological process disconnected from a soul or a given identity. In their dialogue The Meaning of Birth, Msgr. Luigi Giussani and Giovanni Testori claim that when we reduce our own bodies to clumps of cells, we deny that a loving God created us and that our existence is meaningful independent of social labels or our ever-changing feelings. The body, then, is just a pile of raw material that can be shaped or exploited like a lump of plastic.
To quote Msgr. Giussani: “all evil is born from this lie, by which man tries to define himself in practice or in theory as though he forgot or canceled the memory of his birth.” Abortion implies that parents have no responsibility for the child they created and that the child is not a child but a lump of flesh. This destroys the sanctity of the most natural human relationship and the first place where we are meant to experience love.
Because of this, cultural acceptance of abortion naturally leads to transgenderism, which asserts that a person’s body can be disconnected from his or her identity. At root is a rejection of the body as integral to personhood. The connection between abortion and transgenderism isn’t a secret. Planned Parenthood advertises both abortion and transgender hormone treatment and thinks both should be available to minors. Both procedures use technology to destroy natural life—either by directly murdering a baby or sterilizing reproductive potential. Both are inherently anti-birth.
When a culture rejects the goodness of birth and of children in favor of “choice,” bodies become commodities. If “men can get pregnant” and pregnancy is experienced by “womb-carriers” (which sounds like a politically correct way to say “pack mules”), then tragic stories like Brittney Pearson’s can only be expected. If the only ethic governing reproduction and sexuality is autonomy, then human rights become a question of property rights where we have to determine who “owns” the “clump of cells.” “My body, my choice” doesn’t lead to peaceful tolerance—it creates a society where those in power define the terms and conditions of personhood because there is no transcendent definition of what it means to be human.
As Wendell Berry wrote in his essay “The Body and the Earth,” “contempt for the body is invariably manifested in contempt for other bodies.” If we view our own bodies as clumps of cells that can be surgically mutilated because we don’t feel that our physical organs match our sense of identity, the next step is believing that other people’s bodies are also a mistake or fair game for experimentation.
This is a battle beyond terms like “culture war” or any political label. Abortion isn’t just an attack on the unborn—it’s an attack on humanity.
This is the battle we’re fighting in America’s heartland. The proposed “Reproductive Rights” amendment to Ohio’s Constitution would allow unrestricted abortion on demand up to birth. Its language is vague, using words like “individuals,” “reproductive decisions,” and “fertility treatment” instead of “women” and “pregnancy.” Analysts have concluded that the strategically-selected terms in the amendment allow minors to have abortions and sex reassignment surgeries without parental consent. This is the battle we’re fighting in America’s heartland. The proposed “Reproductive Rights” amendment to Ohio’s Constitution would allow unrestricted abortion on demand up to birth.Tweet This
Recent polling shows that 59 percent of Ohioans would support “a Constitutional amendment to make the right to an abortion a fundamental right in Ohio.” Right now, an amendment to Ohio’s constitution requires only a simple majority—50 percent of Ohio’s voters, plus one individual vote. If we do nothing, Ohio will soon have no legal protections for the sanctity of the human person.
But in a special election on August 8th, Ohioans can vote on Issue 1, which changes the constitutional amendment process to require 60 percent of the vote. This significantly increases the chance of defeating the abortion amendment. Passing Issue 1 is a crucial part of the strategy to protect human life in Ohio.
The Church must remind people of the truth—that humans are designed to procreate in an act of love, that our existence is meaningful, and that our bodies are good. Ohio is reaping the consequences. Politics is not an ultimate solution, but it can help stem the tide as the Church works to repair the culture.
Abortion activists are intensely campaigning against Issue 1 because they know how important it is to the pro-life cause. If Christians are reluctant to vote for Issue 1 because it just seems like a political strategy to increase the likelihood of pro-life victory in November, they should remember the stakes. Issue 1 is at worst an amoral issue. (Although there are good reasons to reform Ohio’s constitutional amendment process independent of its role in stopping the abortion amendment.) Using an amoral means to help protect unborn lives, and countless adolescents from sterilization, is perfectly reasonable. The alternative is to do nothing and let Ohio become one of the most anti-birth states in the country.
Dr. Mengele died in 1979, but the Angel of Death is moving across Ohio. He will not pass us by—even if we lock our doors and put a “Choose Life” sign in our yards. He’s coming into our homes, through our children’s schools and screens, and into our state constitution. Will you leave Ohio to laws that reduce women to “womb-carriers,” babies to “clumps of cells,” and parents to “those with the property right to the womb”? Or will you vote for the sanctity and integrity of human life?
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