Regardless of our political climate at the time, or what else may take place on the world stage, there are some issues that will invariably thrust themselves back into our country’s political dialogue every election season. Abortion is one such issue. Somehow, as exhausted as the subject is, with nobody on either side of the matter offering up any new or groundbreaking argument in the past 20 years, another debate on the topic resurfaces every time Americans go to the polls to vote.
While the issue is not one that falls straight along party lines, we’ve traditionally seen Republicans speak out against the procedure in an effort to court the support of the “family values” constituency, with Democrats articulating primarily pro-choice policy positions. It’s doubtful how sincere many candidates on either side of the aisle really are in expressing those views.
Abortion is the perennial political football in the game of American elections. And let’s be honest, it’s the only reason anybody is voting for Rick Santorum. Because it is an issue that evokes such strong feelings from so many, candidates keep the issue at the forefront of their campaigns year after year promising to either defend the plight of the unborn child or uphold a woman’s right to choose. Pundits and campaign spin doctors will nuance either position to sound like a noble endeavor.
We seem to forget, though, that underneath the talking points and heated rhetoric, there is a very real issue in play. The frequency of our discussion on the issue of abortion seems to have caused us to miss the gravity of what it actually means. And it matters tremendously. While I won’t defend all of the ways that abortion opponents have sometimes conveyed their message, I do believe there is great value in the cause of defending innocent life.
I was reminded of this last week, while watching a feature story on the TODAY Show. The segment profiled a pregnant woman who was diagnosed with cancer and faced with the painful choice of either treating her cancer or carrying her unborn child to term. Knowing that there was already a beating heart living inside of her, she made the difficult choice to protect that life and forego cancer treatment. The mother lived just long enough to hold her child before passing away.
Just like that child—who came to be named Dottie Mae—if you are reading this column you too are the product of someone who chose life, and aren’t you glad?
It is difficult to think of many issues that could possibly be more important than who is protected under the law and who is not; who is granted life and who is denied it. Those of us who affirm the importance and potential for all innocent human life must continue to speak up for this most vulnerable and voiceless population.
Some 235 years ago, our founding fathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It is time now, to extend those sacred provisions to the unborn, recognizing that they, too, are a part of our society.
This election season, let us be able to look at this longstanding debate with new eyes and be able to sift through the political speak long enough to hear the soft sound of a beating heart. And may we be reminded that defending the gift of life is always a worthy cause.