In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, it’s a capital crime, it will get you the death penalty, to convey a death threat that results in a homicide—the civil equivalent of a mortal sin.
- Guy A gets drunk, threatens to kill Guy B;
- Guy C conveys Guy A’s death threat to Guy B;
- Guy A may think better of it after he’s sobered up; the only proportional punishment for his threat, would be to threaten him in return, but not to kill him;
- But still, Guy B takes preemptive action, kills Guy A.
- Guy C, who didn’t have any direct hand in the homicide, is guilty of a captial offense in Massachusetts, he’s subject to the death penalty.
Now change the context, from the temporary mortality of the body, to the permanent, potential mortality of the soul:
What if Dr. Bernard Nathanson had been on the verge of ceasing to perform abortions. I have some new, exciting forum for showing the world what a terrible guy Dr. Bernard is—it’s nothing new, Dr. Nathanson hasn’t changed anything, it’s all about the art of persuasion except, I’m not acting to persuade him, the most important person, the principal in this situation.
So I tempt Dr. Nathanson to perform some abortions, not really to prevent abortion, but to make some abstract point about the terrible abortionists. For a week, Dr. N. refrains from his intended course of repentance, but eventually he stops aborting.
Am I guilty of part of the deaths of the perhaps hundreds of children he aborts during that week?
In Catholic moral theology, I am guilty of mortal sin because another has committed mortal sin at my prompting.
There’s nothing new about Dr. Nathanson’s activities, nor about the fact that everyone knows what’s going on: It’s a baby, smartie. It’s homicide against a pre-born person.
What’s in danger of happening is that we so over-emphasize the art of persuasion (known in the ancient world as rhetoric), that we risk losing our focus on crucial issues in the domain of logic (dialectics).
You can search Google for “selling baby parts” from the first day of this millenium (1/1/200) to the last day of June, 2015, before the recent controversy broke. Google no longer lists the number of hits, but it’s probably in the 100,000s, if not millions. This phenomenon has been known for decades by anyone who cared to be aware of it.
I own the book Beyond Abortion: A Chronicle of Fetal Experimentation by Suzanne M. Rini. It was published in 1993. It didn’t sell very well.
Everyone who would be concerned, already knew this was going on. The big difference is that the young man (whom I know personally, he’s been to my house) found a new forum for presenting the information.
So now we’re in the environment of Rodney King being beaten on camera by rogue cops. Can’t We All Just Get Along? This is a media issue.
The problem with our overemphasis on the rhetorical implications is that we’ve forgotten a fundamental fact: There wouldn’t be aborted babies to be fodder for the body parts market if Catholics and Evangelicals would keep in mind certain facts about contraception:
- The Pill doesn’t prevent abortions, it feeds them. The Alan Guttmacher Institute proved this decades ago. It was enshrined into “law” in 1989 in PPFA v Casey.
- The Pill doesn’t work, it has a “method failure rate” of 9%, one pregnancy every 11 menstrual cycles, belief in its efficacy is one of the chief secular superstitions, it’s the engine of the sexual revolution, (“you say it like it’s a bad thing“), it enabled women to discover they don’t need men hence, it prompted a significant increase in divorce, vastly increasing the misery of already born children.
- Pro-life opinion in the US, now a majority but useless because “pro-life” women are going to go to abortion businesses when they’re under stress, isn’t going to increase, especially, we’re not going to persuade the elites of abortion’s disadvantages, until Evangelicals get on board with the official Catholic Church in pointing up how contraception is wrecking our society.
We have allowed the selling baby parts brouhaha, in the domain of the art of persuasion, to divert us from logically focusing on what needs to be done to discourage abortion.
In the process, we’ve forgotten, if we ever knew, that we don’t make progress by tempting the opposition to show its worst side.