December 9, 2008
On November 4 our nation elected a man who many fear is the most pro “culture of death” politician ever to run for president.
Not only has President-elect Obama made it clear that he supports abortion through all nine months of a woman’s pregnancy (including partial birth abortion) but as an Illinois state senator, Obama didn’t feel the need to pass legislation protecting babies who were born alive after a failed abortion attempt. And my family will never forget the insensitive remark he made during his campaign when he said that his biggest political regret—so far—was his decision to support efforts to protect my sister Terri Schiavo’s life.
But why should we be surprised?
Over the past three decades look at what has come to pass: Tens of millions of abortions have had a devastating effect on our public morality. An estimated 90 percent of unborn children diagnosed in utero with possible Down syndrome are subjected to eugenic abortion. Conscious and unconscious people with catastrophic cognitive impairments are routinely denied tube-supplied food and water, causing them to slowly dehydrate to death. Texas permits hospital bioethics committees to refuse wanted and life-sustaining treatment (futile care policies) based on doctors’ subjective views of the “quality” of their lives. Physician-assisted suicide is now legal in two states with more likely to follow. It is only slight hyperbole to worry that the way things are going, it won’t be long before we don’t have anyone left to kill.
Yet in the face of this mounting toll, too many of us seem indifferent. Why is this?
I sense a growing disconnectedness from each other. One sign of this is the growing nihilism that has many of us turning away from the central importance of human life.
As a consequence, a growing number of us are looking elsewhere for ultimate value. I recently had a discussion with a close “Catholic” friend of mine about his decision to vote for now President-elect Obama. He told me that he basically considered the environment on the same moral playing field as human life and believed that Obama is going to be an advocate for the future of the environment. If that scares you, as it did me, all you have to do is look at what just happened in Ecuador. Bioethicist Wesley J. Smith recently published an article in The Weekly Standard in which he explains that Ecuador has included the rights of “nature” as the highest law of the land—equal with the rights of human beings in their country’s new constitution.
Another symptom of our dangerous disconnectedness is the increasing crassness of our popular culture. Certainly all one has to do to verify this is turn on the television and watch the garbage on MTV for a few minutes, consider the myriad of adult magazines lining our book store shelves and the pornographic sites so easily accessible on the Internet, or take stock of the movies coming out of Hollywood. Add to the above the multitudes of video games, TV shows and movies—many marketed directly at our youth—glorifying death and murder. It is these types of secular mediums that have essentially become our surrogate parents, teaching our children everything that is immoral and destructive in our culture.
Where is the embrace of charity and love for our fellow humans?
Moreover, because of a very influential and liberal mainstream media, those that believe all life has value and dignity—“pro-lifers” are portrayed as being “out of touch,” “intolerant” or part of a narrow-minded and fanatical “religious right.”
All this disdain towards people who simply believe what our Founding Fathers believed—that as Jefferson stated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life is “inalienable.” Surely this means that the government has a duty to protect our most vulnerable citizens against termination.
So now we are being told by this same secular media that—for the good of the country—we must all try and “get along” with our new president-elect. I agree. But he has to get along with us, too.
For example, if he wants to increase comity, he needs to rethink his promise to support the Freedom of Choice Act—a piece of legislation that would obliterate all measures to put reasonable limits on abortion. And any national health care proposal needs to explicitly protect the disabled, elderly and seriously ill against discrimination in the provision of medical services.
The Obama presidency presents an opportunity for us to turn a page and reunite as a people. But it cannot be at the expense of the lives of those least able to protect themselves.
Bobby Schindler is the host of “America’s Lifeline” heard Saturdays on WGUL in Tampa and online through their Web site. He is the brother of Terri Schiavo and has been working with the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation, Center for Health Care Ethics in St. Petersburg, Fla. Contact Bobby at [email protected].