Friday, July 15, 2011

Does consensus make abortion moral?

A common myth in Canada's abortion debate, is that there is consensus that the debate is settled. Of course, we all know that the abortion debate is far from settled.

But even if there was consensus--and all of us agreed with our fully-funded-restriction-free-access-to-abortion--would that make it moral?

Thomas D. Williams says no.

In his book Knowing Right from Wrong, Williams writes:
"The fact that a law is democratically passed doesn't mean it is morally right. Democratically determined legislation bears no guarantee of moral infallibility any more than other edicts or decrees. It must be judged according to its conformity to the objective moral law. Nor does the acceptance of a given behavior by the majority of persons confer moral goodness. Consensus has never been a good measure of morality. As Yahweh commanded the Israelites: "You shall not follow a majority in wrongdoing" (Exod. 23:2)."

"We know from historical experience, after all, that the majority can be mistaken as easily as an individual. Remember, for instance, that Adolf Hitler himself was elected democratically. Slavery, too, was embraced by a majority for many years, and abolitionists—whom we now look upon as heroes—were seen as fanatics at the time. Future generations will no doubt look back upon our own and regard certain "legal" practices like abortion and euthanasia as vestiges of a darker age and wonder incredulously how a supposedly "enlightened" society could have permitted such unspeakable barbarities: The majority has no monopoly on truth, nor guarantee of infallibility.

As Pope John Paul once wrote: "Everyone's conscience rightly rejects those crimes against humanity of which our century has had such sad experience. But would these crimes cease to be crime if, instead of being committed by unscrupulous tyrants, they were legitimized by popular consensus"? (Evangelium Vitae 70)".

Williams tells us about St. Thomas Moore. Moore was chancellor of England from 1529 to 1532 and:
"was beheaded by his "good friend" King Henry VIII for refusing to take an oath recognizing Henry as head of the church in England. For Moore it was a question of conscience. Though he was afraid of dying, Thomas Moore couldn't bring himself to swear to something he knew not to be true."

Thomas Moore is the patron saint of lawyers and statesmen. Williams continues:
"He provides a moving example of fidelity to truth and God's allegiance to God's law over human pressures, even at the cost of one's own life. How much better the world would be today if we had more politicians of this integrity and moral caliber, truer to their moral convictions than to volatile popular opinion."

There are some politicians in Canada who have brought forward and/or supported--bills that would protect the unborn and their mothers. These brave men and women have stood by their moral convictions regarding the unborn.

Yet each time these bills are introduced, they are defeated because of lack of support from other MPs.

We need to remind all our political leaders what we expect them to do. That we want them to support bills that would provide legal protection for our unborn children and for their mothers.

We should remind them that by not providing this legal protection--is not a morally neutral position.

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