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A Response to Total Absurdity

A Response to Total Absurdity

By Gerri Laird

Absurdity is not new to Planned Parenthood or to the highest court in our country. Note the Majority Opinion in the Supreme Court's 1992 Planned Parenthood vs. Casey decision: "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life." We now define our own concept of existence. Forget that our country was founded on objective moral and religious principles; subjective personal beliefs and experiences are the acceptable factors that govern our decisions. We now define our own truth.

Several years ago, and again this past week, Archbishop Chaput pointed out that we live in a culture that cannot think, reason, or remember past history. Basically, our cultural thinking and reasoning have shifted from objective, deductive, and principled to subjective, inductive, and experiential: subjective - my perceptions are my truth; inductive - polls and votes help me decide what to do; and experiential - what is right for you is not necessarily right for me. Added to this is the sad reality that we do not identify ourselves as persons made in the image and likeness of God, as evidenced by Patricia Bainbridge's previous story highlighting that Planned Parenthood's concern about cruelty to animals nullifies cruelty to human persons.

So how do we respond to such "total absurdity?" I encountered this several years ago when asked to give a brief explanation of the diocesan post-abortion and pregnancy assistance programs to the Constitutional Issues Club at one of our local high schools. It was a 'set up.' They invited a NARAL lawyer and announced that we were going to debate the abortion issue. The lawyer went first since she was defending the status quo; then it was my turn as "the challenger." I initially tried a legalistic approach and was accused of shoving my religious beliefs down their throats...until I dropped the legalism and got personal. I threw my note cards on the table and told them that if their mothers had chosen abortion, this classroom would be empty. They suddenly became silent, including the lawyer. After that, several hands went up, and without exception every question was addressed to me.

One student asked what was the difference between an animal fetus and a human fetus. I asked her if she had a pet. She had a dog; I then asked if she went home after school and sat down with her dog and discussed what they each did all day, having a two-way conversation. She laughed and said "Oh, I get it now!" When another girl asked why parents shouldn't abort babies who have handicaps, I asked her if any of her friends had a handicap. She said yes. I asked if their lives were any less valuable than hers. Her jaw dropped, and several students became very quiet.

We do have a response to this total absurdity. But we have to meet others where they are subjectively, experientially, and inductively and lead them to objective truth and principled deductions. Blessed Pope John Paul II left us the blueprint via his new theological construct, commonly referred to as Theology of the Body. We are unique: persons with bodies; bodies that express persons. So, our bodies are worth much more than the sum of our body parts. Our bodies speak the language of personhood. Thus, any act that manipulates, uses or harms the human body is an attack on the entire human person because what we do to the body we do to the person. We are persons to be loved and not things to be used. More on this topic later.

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