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Greatest Generation

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June 2022

My mom died just a few weeks ago. She was 107—actually, 107.7. She lived such an amazing life. She did nothing that would make her famous, just everything that made her so decent. She was compassionate and caring, welcoming and loving. People were important to her, and all around her could feel it. She had a quiet grace about her that seemed so effortless and natural. In whatever her situation, she lived life as a gift, and it kept her going. For the rest of my life, I doubt that I will ever meet another person like her.

Perhaps the times in which she lived helped form her into the person she became. My mom was part of the “greatest generation.” Life was not easy. People did not enjoy the luxuries we take for granted. But they managed. The Great Depression took the little they had. They still managed. Then came WWII. Thousands and thousands went overseas, many never to return in the way they left—if they returned at all. Those on the home front agonized and prayed, scrimped and prayed, sacrificed and prayed. But whatever their roles, the people were united, and when the war was over, they celebrated their common bond as Americans, and celebrated the freedom they preserved at so high a cost.

Now about 80 years later, we are as divided as at any time since the Civil War. It’s about abortion. Like the slavery issue that nearly destroyed us, we are fighting over a moral issue that has taken on political overtones. It is a cultural battle, and ultimately, a spiritual battle. It’s about two radically different notions of freedom. For some it is about the freedom to live. For others, it is about the freedom to commit a violent act, literally to kill. If reports are correct, this battle is about to take a sharp turn.

In early May, a yet unknown Supreme Court insider released a draft of an opinion overruling Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision wrongly finding a constitutional right to abortion during all nine months of pregnancy. Because it is only a draft, nothing has yet changed. The draft does not even reflect the views of all nine justices. But for right-to-lifers, the draft is a  hopeful sign of prayers answered.

For those on the opposite site, the draft is everything they fear.  And so they have reacted with violence. Numerous Catholic and other Christian churches have been vandalized and desecrated. At a Catholic church, a tabernacle was stolen. A crisis pregnancy center was firebombed, others vandalized. At one center, the vandals wrote, “If abortions aren’t safe, neither are you.” Abortion supporters have spread personal information about justices’ homes addresses, and the justices are being picketed. Guards are protecting them. Justice Alito, who authored the draft, and his family have been moved to an undisclosed location for their protection. The group Women’s March threatens to be ungovernable” and promises a “summer of rage” if abortions are not legalized. The Department of Homeland Security has received threats to burn down the Supreme Court. In a way, the terrible violence is sadly emblematic of what legalized abortion is all about: might makes right.

For its part, the Biden administration and the Democrat party have been silently supportive. Although federal law prohibits attempts to intimidate or influence judges by protests at their homes, the President has not enforced the law. Despite the unlawful picketing, no arrests have been made. Democrats in Congress have stalled legislation to provide round the clock protection for the justices. Biden, a Catholic, has not condemned the vandalism at churches nor treated those acts as the hate crimes they are. His inaction sends its own message.

If we are to avoid further, even deadly violence, we need to understand what motivates it. For the Democrats, losing Roe v. Wade is their worst nightmare. It will not end abortion; it will just return to the issue to the states. Some states may allow abortion, others not. Some states may allow it with restrictions, others disallow it with exceptions. It means that federal politicians will have no role in the issue. And that means women need not support Democrat politicians to protect their so-called  “right” to abortion. Without the women’s vote, Democrats will lose power. That they can’t stomach. For them, power is everything

As for abortion supporters, their anger exists because for a half-century they have been duped into believing they have a right to kill. They have been told it is “reproductive justice,” as if it is ever just to kill an innocent human whose parents participated in bringing a baby into existence. They have fallen for the line the abortion is “health care,” as if carrying the next generation is an illness. As for claims of privacy, since when killing a private matter? Certainly it can’t be about “equal rights” when only women, not men, can chose to kill their babies. Nor is it a matter of “my body, my choice” when the baby whose body will be so brutally dismembered has no choice. In the end, abortion is about self, not selflessness.

The founders of the abortion movement needed a villain. They chose the Catholic Church. Now, the Church must play a different role: the defenders of true freedom. In every church, leaders must be outspoken, not silent, about the right to life. And the time is now for the laity to walk away en mass from politicians refusing to protect that right. In short, we are called to be the next greatest generation. Our time is now. The challenge is here.

Paul V. Esposito is a Catholic lawyer who writes on a variety of pro-life topics. He and his wife Kathy live in Elmhurst, Illinois and have six children.
© Paul V. Esposito 2022. Culture of Life. Permission to copy and distribute for pro-life purposes is granted.  Visit us at http://www.the-culture-of-life.com/ and on Facebook.

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