I’m ambivalent about that most common pro-life argument: that, because life begins at conception, to abort a pregnancy is to commit murder. That’s not to say I don’t believe it’s true. On the contrary: it’s not only true, it’s obviously true. It’s one of the few points upon which credible scientists and ethicists can agree. What gives me pause about this argument is what inevitably follows from it.
Within my lifetime, I’m certain the pro-choice camp will assent to its reasoning. They will admit that a child in the womb is really a person. They will admit that abortion is, fundamentally, the killing of a human being. And it will not change their opinion one jot. Within my lifetime, the pro-aborts will argue—calmly, rationally—for murdering unborn babies.
By this diabolical fiat, our opponents will look upon human life at its most vulnerable and happily exploits that advantage. They will pit the interests of the preborn against the born. They will try to seduce us with perverse logic into believing that we can gain by their demise. They will champion desire against the undesired. “Be it done unto you,” they will say, “according to my will.”
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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Maybe this time is already upon us. Late last year, photographs emerged of a birthday celebration for the notorious abortionist Leroy Carhart. It showed a plaque on his desk that reads: “Even on my worst days, I’m killing it.”
Dr. Carhart is one of those intrepid pro-choicers who already admits that terminating a pregnancy is tantamount to murder; the act of murdering an unborn child simply doesn’t bother him. As he told the BBC’s Hilary Andersson: “I think that it is a baby,” he said; “I use [the word ‘baby’] with our patients.” “And you don’t have a problem with killing a baby?” Ms. Andersson asked. “I have no problem if it’s in the mother’s uterus,” was Dr. Carhart’s reply.
Welcome to the future.
The Holy Father once observed that, “Last century, the whole world was scandalized by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves.” That is, if anything, an understatement. There have been over 60 million abortions in the United States since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.
Yet there’s a comparison which may be even more apropos than Nazi Germany. I think of G.K. Chesterton’s remark about the Punic Wars. Less important than the feud between Latins and Carthaginians, he observed, was “the war of the demons on the children.”
The Latins held to a homely faith: they recognized the irrevocable bond between the domestic and the Divine. To the Roman mind, every faucet and fencepost corresponded to some gregarious minor god. In Carthage, it was precisely the opposite: the gods were anywhere but the home. Imagine what a Roman ambassador would think, upon entering the New City, when confronted with the hollow, bronze statues of Moloch—his arms outstretched in benediction, a thousand fires burning in his gullet. It was here the Carthaginians laid their newborns as a burnt offering to their grotesque deity.
No civilization but the Aztecs’ was at once so advanced and so abominable. Before the war is over, perhaps ours will give both a run for their money.
The comparison is also poignant, I think, for this reason: Rome was already flagging by the time Hannibal—“the Beneficence of Ba’al,” the grace of Moloch—descended from the Alps. Rome was all but ruined by the time he arrived on the scene. Today, our position is perilous, and yet we have not seen our Hannibal. We are conquered, and yet we don’t even know the name of our conqueror. I’m afraid this, too, will be revealed in my lifetime.
Signs of the times are everywhere. Just days after Catholic activists threw the notorious Pachamama fetish into the Tiber, another pagan idol appeared in Rome—one far more disturbing than the Amazonian fertility goddess. Without any warning, a golden statue of Moloch appeared over the entrance to the Coliseum. It was there martyrs of the early Church were blessed to die for the Faith. Now we, too, must enter that arena.
H.P. Lovecraft saw the Elder Gods rising from the deep, beckoned from their undying sleep by the bloody orgies of mad cultists. The same has happened in our age.
We have not yet met our Hannibal. And yet we, too, will be given our impetuous Scipio—the man possessed of the Roman mind, intolerant of opposition and blind to the odds. Millions will claim his victory when the war is over, but who will fight with his legions?
I think of the great L. Brent Bozell, Jr.—who, in 1970, gathered hundreds of Catholic activists in the Capital to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents. After Mass, Bozell and his troops raised the flag of the Holy See and marched to the George Washington University Hospital’s abortion clinic. They approached the hospital, intending to ask staff’s permission to enter and baptize aborted fetuses, but a security guard locked them out before they had a chance. They rushed the clinic, breaking windows and crying, “Viva Cristo Rey!”
Eventually, the Washington police arrived and beat them back with truncheons. Bozell was arrested; appearing before a DC judge, he warned the court—and the world: “America is going to have to reckon with its Christians, like it or not.”
The modern pro-life movement is a source of great hope for all who cherish the sanctity of the unborn, and the March for Life shows its militant spirit. I and everyone at Crisis stands in solidarity with those who take the Capital today. We join them in declaring that “Life Empowers” and “Pro-Life is Pro-Woman.” But we must also declare once more, Carthago delenda est. America must reckon with its Christians.
Onward, Catholic soldiers.
Image: A young Catholic activist at March for Life 2018 (Youtube.com/The Counter-Revolution)