Homily 3rd Sunday Yr. B (1/22/12): Roe v. Wade/Pro-Life

Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.

My favorite Dr. Seuss book is Horton Hears a Who. It’s about an elephant named Horton who encounters very small creatures called “Whos”; he can’t see them because they’re so small, but he can hear them. The other elephants at first are unwilling to believe in these little people, and Horton tries to convince them that even though you can’t see them, Whos are people too. In the story, Horton keeps repeating a phrase: “A person’s a person no matter how small.

In 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court in the Roe v. Wade decision ruled that we can kill human beings throughout the full nine months of pregnancy – as long as they’re small and hidden from our sight, in their mother’s wombs.

In Roe v. Wade Supreme Court called the child within the womb “potential life.” This is a contradiction in terms: either the child developing in the womb is alive or it is not alive; and the fact is, we know that it is alive; and we also know what kind of life it is: that it is human life.

In Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court overturned 2400 years of medical ethics, hundreds of years of legal precedent, and the laws of every state in this country, as well as the Natural Law of God and the Fifth Commandment’s admonition: “Thou shalt not kill.

The Court ruled that women have the constitutional right to kill their unborn children throughout the full nine months of their pregnancy. And more recently, the Supreme Court ruled that this so-called “right” has been extended to include babies who are partially born.

2400 years ago a famous medical doctor in Greecenamed Hippocrates formulated what is now called the Hippocratic oath: doctors, to be emitted to practice medicine, had to swear an oath that they would refuse to abort an unborn child. You see, the desire to have the pleasure of sex without the responsibility of children is as old as the human race, and doctors have always been pressured to perform abortions for “inconvenient” children who are conceived. Sadly, after the Roe v. Wade decision, most medical schools eliminated the Hippocratic oath.

Roe v. Wade overturned hundreds of years of legal precedent. While the Catholic Church always condemned abortion, laws in some countries, likeEngland and theU.S., did not regard abortion in the early stages of pregnancy to be a serious crime a few hundred years ago.

In the 1800s, science and the law worked together. In the 1850s, with the invention of more powerful microscopes which allowed doctors to see that human life begins at conception, doctors discarded the view that human life began at “quickening” – i.e., when the mother could feel the unborn child moving her womb.

In 1859, the American Medical Association presented these findings to the states, all of which passed laws outlawing abortion from the moment of conception. These laws were on the books for 100 years – until the 1960s, when a few states began to change their laws and allow abortion in the early stages of pregnancy. Why? The so-called sexual revolution was taking place; i.e., the desire to have the pleasure of sex without the responsibility of children. As our society grew more promiscuous, lawmakers were pressured to allow abortion for “inconvenient” children who were conceived – the solution to “problem pregnancies” being the “final solution.”

On January 22, 1973Supreme Court ruled that the unborn child, while it may be a human being, is not a “person” so as to deserve protection under the Fifth Amendment to our Constitution which says, “No person may be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” This is a purely mental distinction with no basis in reality. If I hold up a picture or a model of an unborn child and ask children “What is this?” they always say “A baby.”

Roe v. Wade was not the first time the Supreme Court ruled that a certain class of human beings are not persons. In the 1857 Dred Scott decision the Supreme Court ruled that blacks were not “persons” and had no right to liberty; that they could be enslaved.

Roe v. Wade is worse because it holds that unborn children have no right to life and can be legally murdered.

In 1992, there was another landmark Supreme Court abortion decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The Supreme Court had twenty years of new medical research to consider, which proved more strongly than ever that human life begins at conception.

Consider for example this statement from Dr. Hymie Gordon, a doctor from the Mayo Clinic, when he testified before the U.S. Senate on the Human Life Bill in 1981: “We can now say the question of the beginning of life is no longer a question for theological or philosophical disputes; it is an established scientific fact that all life, including human life, begins at the moment of conception.”

The truth is that all life develops in a continuum, beginning at conception. The science of embryology, and embryology textbooks, have taught this for over 100 years.

Now, I’ll read another statement that’s become rather famous: “At the heart of human liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

Can you guess who said this? Dr. Timothy Leary on an LSD trip? Jean-Paul Sartre or some other famous existentialist? No, the Supreme Court said this in its 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision, giving a purported reason to justify the continuation of legalized murder in theUnited States, in the face of all the scientific evidence which proves that human life begins at conception.

In other words, we’ll ignore the facts and create our own concept of existence, of the meaning of human life and when it begins. How convenient! The result is that over the past thirty-nine years over 50 million children have been murdered within their mother’s wombs – between one third and one fourth of all pregnancies in this country.

This brings us to our readings for this Sunday. In our first reading, we see that God was going to destroy Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, for the sins of its people; and he would have destroyed them had not a repented at the warning from the Prophet Jonah: “Forty days more and Nineveh will be destroyed.

In our Gospel today, we see the first words of Jesus when he began his public ministry: “Repent, and believe in the gospel.

We are a nation in dire need of repentance. We have killed our own progeny, our own future. I say “we” because thirty-nine years ago abortion was forced upon a largely unsuspecting nation. But since then we have elected presidents who are pro-abortion, who have appointed Supreme Court justices who are pro-abortion; and we have elected senators who are pro-abortion who have confirmed the nominations of pro-abortion Supreme Court justices.

People may not like to hear this, but I must speak the truth:  The blood of the innocents is on our hands, collectively, as a nation. People may complain that abortion is only a “single issue.” Well, Abraham Lincoln was elected on the single issue of slavery, and we fought a bloody civil war in this country over this single issue. That’s because people thought the issue of slavery was the determining issue in choosing a president, and that this issue was worth fighting for, and dying for. Well, morally speaking, the murder of unborn children is a greater crime than slavery, and the ongoing holocaust in our nation should be a determining factor in choosing candidates for public office.

Our Lady at Fatimacame in 1917, during WWI, and told the little children that “war is a punishment for sin.

Abraham Lincoln, in his second inaugural address, said that he did not think the civil war would end “until every drop of blood shed with the lash had been paid for by the sword.

Listen to these the profound words spoken by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “The greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against a child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murdered by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?

Mother Teresa also said these chilling words: “The fruit of abortion is nuclear war.

Yes, Abraham Lincoln and Mother Teresa both had a keen sense of justice; they knew that God will not be mocked.

Let us pray, my brothers and sisters, for an end to our ongoing American Holocaust. Let us pray that we will elect presidents and members of Congress who will respect the most fundamental right of all, the right upon which all others are based, the right to life. And finally, let us pray that people in our land will embrace purity and practice chastity, repent of their sins, turn back to God and beg His forgiveness.

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