Words That Are Unraveling Our Society
is killing a life. [But] the person who is pregnant should decide
to do it or not."
are the words of
Estrella Flores, an immigrant from Ecuador, who attended the so-called
"March for Women's Lives," held here in Washington, D.C., this past
Ms. Flores and thirty-four other immigrants from her Brooklyn
were bused to the march by the National Latina Institute for
Health, one of the march organizers. They were among the reported
who marched in the pro-choice rally. I've been in Washington since the
civil-rights marches of the sixties, and from my office in the White
I have watched the anti-Vietnam protestors. There's one thing I have
that's true of almost all of these demonstrations: People don't come.
weekend's group understood
this very well. They brought many protestors by downplaying the issue
the march was supposed to be about. According to the New York Times, "A
selling point for Latinos was the idea that they would march, not just
for abortion rights, but for a range of issues that affect immigrant
including the need for better prenatal health care, medical insurance,
and access to birth control. . 'They're not going to come to an
rally, but they are going to come to a rally that's about taking
of your life,' said Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, president of
the Hispanic Federation." And T-shirts read in Spanish: "Health.
with this kind of advertising,
it sounds like the ranks of the marchers were more heavily padded than
the organizers would like to admit. But let's think about what "taking
control of your life" actually means in this context. It brings us back
to Estrella Flores's ideas about abortion: that it's wrong-in fact,
it's "killing"-but that people should be able to do it anyway, because
it's their life to control.
Flores's attitude is
deeply troubling, especially when you realize how widespread it is.
and over again, people at the march made similar comments-the kind of
that make your hair stand on end. The political debate is changing
activists on the ground. They're now willing to admit that abortion is
killing. But they're arguing that their right to do what they want,
restraint, justifies that killing.
are seeing, of course,
is the logical consequences of the desire for personal autonomy in an
of moral relativism. People can say with a perfectly straight face and
without a twinge of conscience, "Yeah, it is wrong. It is murder. But
is going to tell me I can't do it."
is really the position
that the pro-abortion movement is taking, then we're in a heap of
If my neighbor thinks to himself, "I know stealing is wrong, but I
want anybody to tell me I can't do it," I'm going to start putting
padlocks on my house and bars on my windows. If somebody says, "I know
pedophilia is a bad thing, but I have the right to do what I want with
my own body," I am going to start keeping my grandkids locked in the
when they come to visit.
"don't tell me what to
do" mentality will unravel the very fabric of our society. If people
believe that their autonomy is so important that it gives them the
to kill the innocent, then none of us is safe. I wonder how many of
folks getting bused to Washington ever thought of that.
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