If we accept the principle that universal human rights are worth embracing, then all human life must be included within this ideal. That's what "universal" means. Human rights begin when human life begins and ends with life's natural conclusion. Anything else is either ignorance or sophistry and bigotry." -- Mark Davis Pickup
Thursday, April 23, 2009
I have spoken across North America for the sanctity, dignity and equality of every human life and against abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide. There are so many people who have faithfully served the cause of Life issues for decades. Their names and faces are familiar to me. It’s hard not to notice the greying of the pro-Life movement.
A HOLY CAUSE
Year after year, these people work to defend vulnerable human life at every state and stage, from conception to natural death. Defending the right to life is a holy cause: A holy cause they think they are losing. Yes, Pro-Life stalwarts are greying and I wonder who will stand up for life when they retire or are gone?
COURAGEOUS, GODLY PEOPLE
If the pro-Life stalwarts like Linda Gibbons were prepared to endure harassment, mockery and even years in jail because she witnessed for the right to life of every unborn child, who will dare to take her place? The culture coarsens by the day, yet I take heart to meet young people who want to live for a purpose.
Abortion on demand is now the way of the land after centuries when it was considered barbaric and criminal. Previous generations understood that killing defenceless and innocent human beings was a wrong, not a right. Abortion was and still is anathema to God and all decent people.
New pro-Life activists will be unusually strong in character and determined in purpose. The ground they inherit is polluted with the blood of millions of children who never saw the light of day because they were inconvenient or unwanted. Euthanasia and assisted suicide is creeping into the public consciousness of North America.
Holy causes are rarely popular or easy. Read the book of Jeremiah. Consider the life and death of John the Baptist, Stephen and countless Christian martyrs throughout the ages. Think of the newer struggle for the idea of inalienable human rights and self-evident truth that all men are created equal by their Creator, ... then consider the fate of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Junior who worked so tirelessly for human equality regardless of skin colour.
STRUGGLE OF THE 21ST CENTURY!
I have a dream too. I dream that one day every human life will be valued and protected for no other reason than it exists. The Right to Life is the great and holy cause of the twenty-first century.
We are faced with daunting struggle for the sanctity, dignity and equality of all human life. Universal human rights begin when human life begins. This is a self-evident truth. Human life produced sexually begins at conception. This is a biological fact. Therefore, universal human rights must begin at conception -- that’s what makes them universal ― they apply to everyone. Anything else is bigotry and sophistry.
This is the uncompromising message a new generation of pro-Life activists must take to their communities, their nation and to the world. Take heart, things are not as dire as they may appear.
Those courageous young people who take up the struggle for every life’s right to exist, will know that truth is on their side.
Abraham Lincoln said, “We will win more converts each day. We will
grow strong by the violence and the injustice of our adversaries and unless truth be a mockery and justice a hollow lie, we will be in the majority.” The great man was right and his words apply to the pro-Life cause. The general public is slowly turning around and becoming more pro-Life.
A recent poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus revealed that 84 percent of Americans agree that abortion should be significantly restricted. The poll surveyed 1,733 people across the nation (less than half of respondents were Roman Catholic). In Canada, a 2007 Life Canada/Environics poll documented that 60 percent of Canadians think abortion should be significantly restricted. This is a dramatic turn from the 1970s.
A new generation of pro-Life activist can rely upon the continued support and partnership of the Catholic Church. The Church has always been against abortion since the first Century. This fact has never changed and is unchangeable (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nos. 2271-2275.)
WE WILL SUCCEED
I happen to believe that a next generation of pro-Life activists will eventually enjoy success that eluded the older generation which includes people like me. Little by little, bit by bit, the victory to make abortion unthinkable has been slow, but I believe it is within sight.
Those who take up the pro-Life mantle for the 21st Century must temper their activism with love for women in crisis pregnancy.
My wife, LaRee, knows that activism must be motivated by love, to be effective. She is the provincial director of the Alberta Pro-Life Association (Canada). LaRee believes in positive pro-Life action that welcomes women in crisis pregnancies and their unborn babies into our communities.
LaRee has often said to me that abortion is evidence that society has failed women. She believes that if women receive life-affirming answers to crisis pregnancies, and if their unborn children are truly accepted as persons, most women will turn away from abortion. Each day LaRee works toward that goal. She may not see the day when abortion is morally and culturally unthinkable, but those who follow her may.
This article also appeared in the 27 April 2009 edition of Canada's Western Catholic Reporter under the title "New Pro-Life activists will carry the sword of truth". (See http://www.wcr.ab.ca/columns/markpickup/2009/markpickup042709.shtml)