As members of the Ascension Respect Life Committee, we were quite surprised by the tenor and reasoning of Ken Trainor's recent "Friendly Advice" column [Some friendly advice from the other side, Viewpoints, Jan. 23]. Initially, it seemed odd that Mr. Trainor seemed to imply that those who oppose abortion do little or nothing related to the issues of war, pollution, gun ownership, violent video games, and the death penalty. This intolerant stereotyping seems almost cliché and certainly disingenuous in an article that purports to advocate serious dialogue.
It remains unclear as to why Mr. Trainor is able to "wrap his head" around the concept of being pro-choice and anti-abortion and yet he is unable to understand that someone can enjoy hunting on a family farm but not support the slaughter of children by a psychopath.
The abortion issue is a hot-button topic for several reasons:
The statistics published by the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates abortion on demand, suggests that since 1980 over 1.2 billion abortions have taken place worldwide. This number exceeds estimated deaths during the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War and the Black Plague in Europe combined.
Further, advances in science over these past decades show that a fetus holds far more that some abstract potential for human life, as described in Roe v. Wade. As science develops, it becomes more likely that "personhood" may be established earlier than previously thought and a fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed full legal protection and abortion would necessarily be murder and punishable as such. Understandably, this is disconcerting to some.
Here is the good news: the Respect Life Committee at our parish — Ken's parish — is trying to win the hearts and minds of people through education, prayer, and yes, even charm. We do not have a "single issue obsession." Considering Ken has never attended one of our presentations, events, or meetings, we were wondering who all these arrogant and surly pro-lifers are who influenced his column. We have put on presentations that have tried to enlighten others regarding Respect Life Issues: abortion, end of life (from a legal, medical and spiritual perspective), mental disease and suicide, autism in children, violence, ending the death penalty, etc. We are pleased that others in our parish have found our approach gently informative, not bombastic.
We end with this comment, almost serendipitous to Mr. Trainor's seemingly sincere concern that the pro-lifers not end up on the wrong side of this issue 10 years from now. Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) spoke, on the 40th anniversary, these prophetic words, "Someday future generations will look back on America and wonder how and why such a seemingly enlightened society, so blessed and endowed with education, advanced science, information, wealth and opportunity could have failed to protect the innocent and inconvenient."
In an effort to help prevent this from becoming America's legacy, we will continue our efforts to protect the weakest in our society, even at the risk of high negatives in the court of public opinion, because certain things are that important.