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Life’s subjective value

Roger MaroltAspen, CO Colorado

Last week, an individual murdered 32 people and then took his own life on a college campus in Virginia.Last week wars around the globe raged on.Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States banned partial birth abortions.The loss of life is not tragedy for those who lose it. The sadness and pain belong to the living. While beating hearts ache, we comfort ourselves with assurance that the departed are in a better place and no longer worse for the sufferings of this life.We don’t often apply this nearly universal belief to the discussion about abortion. An innocent life extinguished in the womb has no regrets. The pope assures us that its pure soul must certainly be delivered directly to heaven. The tragedy of abortion is not the pain or loss of life’s opportunity to the individual that no one knew and that nobody wanted. The tragedy of abortion is with the living; we who refuse to know and don’t want those individuals.The elective termination of any human life is a failure to recognize its incredible worth. We view our own lives as precious and do not afford that inherit nature to the conceived, yet unborn. At what point does respect for life begin?The devaluation of life accounts for most of the world’s problems from war, genocide, racism, intolerance, poverty and snipers in our schools. If every human life was deemed, by each of us, equal in value to our own and more prized than any secular resource, commodity or convenience, I assure you that we would exist in near perfect harmony. But, that is not the case. Lives are evaluated and graded. We have allowed legislators to determine the differing values for us, giving credence to the notion that it should be done.Focusing attention on preventing abortions through legal means does little to alleviate the overriding societal problem of looking upon life as a disposable article. We might be able to pass laws preventing a mother from destroying human life germinating inside of her, but we cannot make its parents love that baby or the society that forces its beliefs on them, who are not ready to accept those beliefs, whether the mandates are righteous or not. The just cause of fostering respect for life is not advanced. Throw the hate-filled fighting over this issue into the mix and this snapshot of humanity is deplorable.Abortion is not an act of hate. It is an act of fear. The basic human reaction to a terrifying situation is to get out of it as expediently as possible. This observation is not offered as an excuse. It is to highlight that legislation cannot successfully deter an action born of fright.Neither can laws be effective without meaningful support for the desired outcome. If it is the goal to reduce the number of abortions, there must be a willingness to support, in every way, those in need. There is no congruity in supporting tax and welfare cuts while being “anti-abortion.”There are other absurdities in abortion politics, too. The Republicans are the anti-abortion party. Yet, in recent years, with the presidency and Congress both under Republican control, along with a generally conservative Supreme Court, little was accomplished in the way of reducing legal abortions in this nation. The appallingly high number has remained fairly constant.The number of abortions in the United States peaked 17 years ago at 1.6 million per year during George H. Bush’s presidency. Conversely, under the Clinton administration the annual number of legal abortions dropped by almost a quarter of a million per year from the beginning to the end of his two terms in office.Despite their laudable proclamation, the fact is Republican Party leaders may be the least interested group in America to reduce the number of abortions. By standing on the anti-abortion platform, they ally themselves to a powerful voting block. It has been an important mobilizing issue in elections because it remains an issue. If meaningful progress in reducing abortions is made, Republicans risk losing a huge constituency to other value-of-life issues, such as gun control and elimination of the death penalty, that are more favorably received on the other side of the political fence.Abortion has been reduced to statistics and posturing. That serves only to further dehumanizing the issue. The goal should be to convince each other about of the value of life. This is about saving us, who have already been born.Abortion is an ugly issue. It is not suitable for discussion. We are afraid of it. This dissuades us from talking frankly, unless there is a crisis. As a free-thinking and liberated society, we are becoming comfortable talking to our children about sex, drugs and rap music. Yet, we remain reticent to have sincere conversation about abortion. It is a political issue. We address it in the comfort of a voting booth. Ironically, it appears that it has become easier to have an abortion than it is to speak about it.A new law tells us that it’s unlawful to kill a specific type of unborn child. A young man ends 33 lives in one morning, self-justified with reasons we do not know. Death tolls rise from war. Killing has become a subjective call.This has to change. We must talk with our teenagers so that they acquire a meaningful understanding of what an abortion entails – physically, emotionally, spiritually, attitudinally and even economically. With guidance, care and love from a trusted source, they will hopefully make better decisions in their own lives based on appreciation for the value of others’.The law is limited in that it only tells us what we can or cannot do with unwanted lives once we have to face them. It is up to us to make sure that the next generation understands that there should be no unwanted lives in the first place, and that they have the power to ensure that.Roger Marolt believes that God is pro-choice. But, that doesn’t mean that all choices are right. Contact him at roger@maroltllp.com.


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