With the U.S. elections upon us, we should take a few moments to recall the type of country our Founding Fathers created and how voting impacts our culpability in the outcomes of legislative actions. The United States of America is a republic, though some refer to it as a representative democracy, and in a republic/representative democracy, we elect representatives to pass laws in our stead.
In essence, we assess political candidates’ agendas and we decide which agenda/candidate best comports with our values. After this assessment, we cast a vote for that candidate, and this vote implies that we approve of his/her overall agenda. Thus, it is incumbent upon every voter to ensure they vote for candidates who will protect fundamental rights. Unless fundamental rights are secured, they and tangential rights become easily manipulated or destroyed.
The most fundamental right is life. Every other right presupposes the right to life, and without this right, every life becomes vulnerable to the whims of those in power. “The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law… and the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2273).
Right to Life
Every single human being has the right to life, and they should never have this right violated unless it is forfeited by intentionally infringing upon someone else’s right to life, such as when violent acts lead to killing in self-defense. According to Cornell Law School, self-defense is “the use of force to protect oneself from an attempted injury by another. If justified, self-defense is a defense to a number of crimes and torts involving force, including murder, assault, and battery.”
Notice that this definition does not include protecting oneself from a child in the womb. This is because a fetus cannot commit crimes such as murder, assault, and battery. Rather, the individual in the womb is an innocent human being who is created through sexual activity in which the mother and father choose to engage. This action implies consent to having a child because the act itself is ordered toward conception. Rape, of course, is the exception to consensual intercourse. So, I think it would be prudent to pause and consider a child who is conceived by rape.
Rape Does Not Justify Abortion
According to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, approximately 32,101 rape-related pregnancies among adult women occur in the U.S. each year. Although one rape is too many, rape-related pregnancies account for a very small percentage of the overall 6.3 million U.S. pregnancies per year. Still, some argue that abortion should be permitted for rape-related pregnancies despite their low percentage. But let us see if this logic is sound.
The argument our pro-abortion interlocutors proffer is this: A woman who is impregnated by a rapist did not ask for the baby and should, therefore, be allowed to kill the baby by abortion. Furthermore, the woman may undergo severe psychological trauma resulting from the rape, and having a baby conceived in rape would perpetuate her trauma. I grant that rape is traumatic; no doubt it. Does this mean, however, that a woman should have the right to kill her baby? Perhaps we can gain some insight if we approach this question using the following scenario:
A woman is impregnated by her rapist and reluctantly decides to have her baby. One day, when the child is three years old, the mother looks down, sees that the child looks like her rapist, has a flashback to the rape, and decides to kill the child. Should the mother have the right to kill her child? I hope that no one would answer in the affirmative; however, I know some demented abortion advocates would answer in this manner. Regardless, killing this defenseless child is a crime. In fact, it is murder.
The problem for abortion advocates is that the three-year-old child in this scenario is the same child who was in his mother’s womb three years earlier. Nothing has changed except for the child’s domicile. Therefore, intentionally killing a child in the womb is murder. Furthermore, if the child’s father abuses or abandons the child’s mother, thereby creating circumstances in which the mother feels she has no alternative but abortion, that father is equally guilty of murder.
Human Beings Begin at Conception
At the moment of human conception, a being with a unique human (not dog, cat, marsupial, alligator, space alien, or any other species) DNA is created and begins to grow. The being is a human organism, not an organ. Like all other human beings, it needs only time and nutrition to continue its life. It begins the way every human life begins, and this tiny human, which is the most innocent life among us, must be treated as a person. “Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2274). Murder, of course, is contrary to the respect all human beings deserve.
The common law and universal definition of murder is “killing another human being with malice aforethought.” If an innocent human being outside the womb can be intentionally killed by another and that action is labeled murder, then intentionally killing a child inside the womb is also murder. Now, every human being should have the right not to be murdered. If even one person has this right violated by government actions/laws, then every person’s right to life becomes subjective.
The capital punishment objection, namely that pro-lifers typically support the death penalty, fails here, because capital punishment should only be used for society’s protection, a form of self-defense (See CCC para. 2263). It should not be used for revenge or efficiency. Note: CCC para. 2267 states that capital punishment is no longer admissible. So, what does voting have to do with culpability in murder?
Accessory to Murder
As stated above, we choose our representatives to vote in our stead. When politicians run as pro-abortion candidates, the voter must decide if having a good economy, for example, is worth the “right” to murder children in the womb. If the voter says, “I want a good economy regardless of how many children are murdered,” then that voter becomes an accessory in every zygote’s, embryo’s, and fetus’ murder by abortion and is, therefore, morally culpable, because they prefer a lesser right to the most fundamental right.
Briefly, an accessory is “a person not actually or constructively present but contributing as an assistant or instigator to the commission of an offense.” Therefore, a voter cannot justify homicide for a good economy, or any other political issue, without being an accessory to murder. Good economies and all other governmental actions/programs are predicated upon the existence of human beings, and voters have the moral responsibility to select pro-life representatives.
Formal cooperation in abortion by way of voting is gravely immoral and, therefore, unacceptable. Inevitably, this discussion will lead to a very logical question: How can I know which representatives are pro-life and which advocate for murdering children in the womb?
Voting for Pro-Life Candidates
According to NARAL, a pro-abortion organization, all but four U.S. House Democrats support pro-abortion legislation, and all but two U.S. House Republicans support pro-life legislation. Additionally, all U.S. Senate Democrats support pro-abortion legislation, while all U.S. Senate Republicans reject this type of legislation. Their records are public and unambiguous.
Therefore, no one has an excuse when voting for pro-abortion politicians, Republican or Democrat. A vote for pro-abortion politicians, is a vote for murder. The only exception to this is when all candidates running for a particular office support abortion “rights.” The voter must then discern which candidate best supports other morally sound laws and/or poses the lowest threat to life in the womb.
In our upcoming elections, Americans must decide whether they want to be accessories to countless murders or lovers of human life. Those who choose life have a responsibility to help those who are in need, including pregnant women who are contemplating abortion. Those who choose murder are responsible for reforming themselves, turning to God, asking for forgiveness, and rejecting the culture of death. We can be a just nation only when we as a nation embrace a culture of life.
The impudent idea that we can be a just nation while concurrently killing the most innocent among us is contrary to human nature. Saying that we want what is best for our fellow countrymen (e.g. a good economy, welfare, peace, tranquility, etc.) while killing around a million of them in the U.S. per year by abortion is hypocritical. Therefore, we must vote for pro-life candidates, put an end to the culture of death, and stop being accessories to murder.
Please visit the EWTN website to download your free copy of their recently published voter’s guide.