Marlowe's Shade

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Why Choose Life?

From the Weekly Standard

Fred Barnes has a great piece on the moral crossroads faced by himself and four other prominent Americans that led to a decision for Life:

HOW DO PEOPLE BECOME PRO-LIFERS? What turns people into passionate foes of abortion and related issues like euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research? I'm not referring to those who supported the pro-life position because of their family upbringing or religious faith or because of a political requirement as, say, a Republican candidate in a red state. I'm talking about people who, as adults or mature teenagers, were either pro-abortion or basically indifferent to the issue. Then something changed their mind, prompting them to take up the anti-abortion cause. Perhaps they began defending the pro-life position without realizing they'd flipped. In any case, what caused the change? What happened?

I addition to his own experience, Fred profiles the ethical journeys of Ronald Reagan, Henry Hyde, Ramesh Ponnuru, and Wesley Smith. By the end, some common themes stand out.

So think for a moment about these five experiences: Reagan's deciding on signing an abortion bill, Hyde's mulling whether to co-sponsor a pro-abortion measure, Ponnuru's watching as the Summer of Mercy unfold, Smith's reading pro-euthanasia tracts as his dead friend's home, and our--my wife and I--adverse reaction to amniocentesis. One common thread is obvious. All of us, because of the circumstances we found ourselves in, were forced to think about the taking of a life and what that means in both practical and moral terms. Most people avoid thinking about troubling moral issues like abortion or euthanasia. We couldn't.

And the other common thread is that something happened to make us choose life and choose it firmly and reject death. I think it was our conscience that intervened or, if you prefer, the basic human instinct that favors life over death. Or it you are a Christian, as I am, it was God.

Now I'm sure there are many exceptions to our experience. Not everyone who contemplates abortion or euthanasia is bound to take the intellectual path that five of us--six, including my wife--did on the way to becoming pro-lifers. But I suspect there are many more than like us than not. And many more to come.

This piece gives me hope for our country but also raises a major concern. As Fred points out, a decision for life seems to require some firm ethical bedrock in our metaphysical make-up, but the signs of the times indicate not only are an increasing number of people in our society are being raised without these core values, but are taught to be hostile to them.
papijoe 7:38 AM