Thursday, April 13, 2006
New Priests for Life Blog  

Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life has started a blog. In his most recent entry, he discusses the important issue of what type of legislation should be supported in order to further the pro-life cause. The context of his post is the recent passage by the Idaho Senate of a bill that requires a woman who is getting an abortion to receive information about the development of her child and the risks for her that are associated with having an abortion.
The measure would stipulate that doctors present women with information on a developing fetus and the potential psychological effects of having an abortion. Women also have to wait 24 hours before the procedure. If doctors don't disclose the information, they could be fined up to one hundred dollars every month they continue to perform the procedure. (Source)
In response to Fr. Pavone's favorable response to passage of this bill, he received criticism from some pro-life supporters who did not like the fact that the bill only regulates abortion rather than outlaws it.

Fr. Pavone responds with a very clear argument of why it is important to support incremental efforts to promote a culture of life.
The fact that it will limit abortions is good. The fact that abortions are still permitted is bad. But the fact that they are permitted doesn't come from this law, and the people working for this law do not necessarily agree that abortion should be permitted at all. It's just that they don't have the votes to do anything about that just yet. The choice to make it legal in the first place was somebody else's choice, not the choice of these lawmakers.

Should it be their ultimate goal to eliminate abortion altogether? Absolutely! That is our goal; it is our duty, and we will achieve it. Nobody should look at laws that simply limit or regulate abortion as the sum total of our pro-life legislative responsibilities, or as the final goal of our movement. Nobody should ever think that regulatory laws can ever substitute for our obligation to end every abortion and protect every child.

But neither should anyone who wants to protect every child despise efforts to limit the evil as much as possible on our way to the final goal.
I remember debating this issue with other pro-life students when I was in college. The discussion was quite passionate from all of the students, some of whom were getting arrested for their acts of non-violent civil disobedience at abortion clinics. The ones who took the extreme view saw all other legislative efforts as watered-down compromises that did not send a clear pro-life message. The other side took a more pragmatic view that since this was about politics it necessarily involved compromise. Now many years from then, I find it difficult to believe that someone can take an extreme position that only legislation that completely prohibits abortion can be supported. In addition, Fr. Pavone makes an important point that it is laudable for people today to correct the wrongs made by people in the past. Through his viewpoint that this is only one piece of the pro-life effort, he expresses the truly compassionate position which is for pro-life supporters to push back evil where it is possible while continuing to work for an even greater promotion of the culture of life.

Posted by David at 7:43 AM  |  Comments (0)  | Link


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