Guest column: Dave Gipson: On abortion: Fighting words

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Guest commentary

This past Sunday was National Sanctity of Life Sunday, in remembrance of the Roe v. Wade court ruling. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t mention it at church. So maybe this essay is my penance.

It’s not that I don’t believe in the sanctity of life — I am very firmly pro-life. But honestly, abortion’s tough to talk about anymore. And I think that’s by design.

Pro-choice advocates make it clear that by merely feeling queasy about abortion, we’re trampling on their rights. The slightest attempt to limit them in any way signs you up for the “war against women.” You’re now a bully sending young ladies to prison and forcing them into “back-alley abortions.” You’re an extremist, even though the lack of tolerance for any dialogue is what strikes me as truly extreme.

I hate confrontations, maybe because I grew up in a home where I often had to play the “peacemaker.” I want people to know how sincerely I care about them, even those with whom I disagree. It grieves me deeply that by simply stating an opinion, people will distance themselves from me. I’m prepared for the inevitable “hate mail” (I think). But is there any hope left for us if we can no longer speak publicly about two of our most cherished values — personal freedom and life itself?

I know, I should “keep my religion to myself,” right? However, I think those who see this as strictly a moral issue are blind to what abortion is doing to our society.

If I were an atheist, I would still be against abortion.

Thanks to abortion being legal, we have sent the message for the past 41 years that all human life — including our own — is disposable.

Seeing a death on screen used to be shocking. The dead, mummified body of James Cagney at the end of “The Public Enemy” had audiences gasping in 1931. Today, you have to pull out internal organs and consume them to get our kids attention on “The Walking Dead.” Their video games make the number of kills their goal and the more explicit the better. The argument has been whether media reflects the culture or affects the culture. Our questions are simply misplaced. Disrespect for human life has affected both.

Critics say pro-lifers are arbitrarily picking where life begins. Does it begin in the first trimester? The second? At conception itself? The answer our laws have chosen is basically “after the birth canal.” This led to the horrific practice of “partial-birth abortion,” where the child is gruesomely killed while still partially in the womb. Don’t worry, I’m not going into more detail. When you have time, Google it. Good luck avoiding the pictures.

But isn’t drawing the line at the birth canal incredibly, ridiculously arbitrary itself? The only thing that’s substantially changed is the geography of the baby. This is the logical fallacy our young people are recognizing. We tell them if an unborn child is a nuisance to their lifestyle, they can kill it as long as it’s on this side of their anatomy. Yet what if the child is a nuisance after it is born? Well, that’s murder, right? So that slight change in geography constitutes the difference between a “choice” and a felony?

Our kids aren’t buying it. No, I’m not saying they are pro-life — quite the opposite. They are completely sold out to being “pro me.” Anything that inconveniences me or threatens my lifestyle is worth attacking. So domestic homicides and spousal and child abuse are just the next logical steps if you ignore that “birth canal” ruse.

Our kids didn’t used to kill each other in schools. Drive-by shootings almost never happened when I was a teenager. People didn’t walk into theaters shooting random bystanders. We’re already asking how much money we should spend to continue the lives of the terminal ill and senior adults, and it’ll certainly get interesting once the government calls all the final shots on that one.

What changed wasn’t gun control or law enforcement; what changed was we gradually stopped valuing any human life other than our own. While we continue to argue about who’s right or wrong, we don’t see we’re really digging our own graves.

Whether you believe in God or not, abortion is not just morally wrong. It is our nation collectively saying “no life matters but my own.”

In doing so, we’re not just committing homicide. We are committing national suicide.

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