Our region birthed the women’s rights movement. And yet the passing of the New York's Reproductive Health Act reminds us how wrongly “rights” language is being used to justify ideologies advocating the death of innocent pre-born human life.
Susan B. Anthony of Rochester wrote extensively against abortion and in 1875 spoke of it as an “evil” of society. Seneca Falls’ own Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote in “The Revolution” in 1868 that “There must be a remedy for such a crying evil as (infanticide).” The RHA removes state protection for infants accidentally born alive in the course of an abortion.
Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to earn a medical degree, having studied in Geneva, New York, in 1852 articulated the scientific truth of human life beginning in the womb at the first moment of conception: “Look at the first faint gleam of life, the life of the embryo, the commencement of human existence. We see a tiny cell, so small it may be easily overlooked ... it is a living cell (that) we can only regard with reverent admiration. Leave it in its natural home, tended by the rich life of the healthy maternal organism, and it will grow steadily into the human type; in no other by any possibility.” The RHA will allow non-doctors to perform abortions.
Those who laud the passing of New York’s RHA are cheering for an ideological victory, deceived into overlooking the reality that it is a crushing loss for the cause of science, morality and the common good.
How can women’s rights be upheld when half of the deaths from abortion are those of women? Where are the rights of those women still in the womb?
To present the RHA as a triumph of women’s rights is to conceal the fact that in any direct abortion it is not a right, but an expression of the oppressive privilege of the strong prevailing over the weak.
Does it not come down to choices? What about the choice to embrace chastity and abstinence, or — if an unexpected pregnancy occurs — to heroically embrace unexpected motherhood or adoption?
Abortion leaves a terrible wound for all involved: mothers, fathers, doctors, and abortion assistants. Now is the right time for healing and mercy. All have a right to be healed from the pain of an abortion perhaps participated in out of great fear, deceived into thinking they had no other choice.
The Rev. Justin Miller
The Rev. Justin Miller is a parochial vicar with St. Mary’s Church and SS. Mary & Martha Parish in Auburn.