A History of Violence

By Kathryn Jean Lopez Published on June 13, 2022

A man was arrested on the way to murder a Supreme Court justice, according to authorities. And it was a footnote the next day in a major national newspaper. Was it because it was Brett Kavanaugh, which that particular paper isn’t happy is on the Court? That same paper had above the fold “Inside an Attack on Democracy,” referring to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack hearings in Congress. But what about this more recent assassination attempt on a Supreme Court justice? Reporting it alongside the Jan. 6 story would highlight the widespread nature of our violence problem in America today.

Biden’s Slip

On the same night of the Kavanaugh arrest, the president of the United States appeared on a late-night comedy show and talked about how “ridiculous” it was that the Supreme Court is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade. This is a man who has claimed in another forum — a Catholic magazine, speaking to a priest — to be personally opposed to abortion. There is nothing in President Biden’s rhetoric lately that even suggests a modicum of respect for anyone who opposes abortion. Biden recently even slipped and said abortion is about having the right to abort a “child.” Thank you for the honesty, even if it was a slip. Children die in abortions.

The Violence of Abortion

When we face that reality, we begin to gain some real perspective about our current problems. We see the faces of children who die in school shootings. There is an image of a girl from Uvalde in her First Communion dress a week or so before the shooting that I hope I never get out of my mind. We’re right to want to take measures to protect children from something like that ever happening again. But how about reflecting on the violence of abortion? We have no consistency when it comes to protecting human life.

A Life-Changing Challenge

Being a mother is the most remarkable gift. It’s also a life-changing challenge.

Think about the courage of mothers who give their children up for adoption. To recognize that there is life in your womb and to discern that you are not ready to raise that child is amazing.

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We should celebrate women who acknowledge their motherhood and do all we can in civil society and policy to support them. Rather than shouting about abortions, we should rally around women in the style of a group called BraveLove, which has events thanking birth mothers. There is no shame in choosing adoption for your child; there is no shame in choosing life for your child.

The Heart of the Problem

There are people in New York City who blockade churches regularly now, getting in the way of people leaving Mass to go pray outside nearby abortion clinics. These people shout and some of them get very close to violent. Could we actually talk, instead of shout and rant?

An upcoming book by Ryan T. Anderson and Alexandra DeSanctis, Tearing Us Apart: How Abortion Harms Everything and Solves Nothing, gets at the heart of what I’m talking about. When you sever the bond between a mother and her child, and pretend it is both no big deal and yet a foundation of women’s rights, freedom, and health care, we have got a real problem.

Reasonable people can have a debate about abortion. We can come together on policies to help women be moms or choose adoption. We don’t all have to agree on ending all abortion — though I hope reason, science, good law, human decency and generosity might get us there. Let’s work to protect innocent human life and motherhood — and grieve the losses and acknowledge the pain of so many millions of abortions over all the decades since Roe.

Let’s Reject Violence

President Biden predicts a political “revolution” if Roe is overturned. How about a revolution of love? John Paul II mapped it out three decades ago in his Gospel of Life. What a historic opportunity to reject violence and give it a try.

 

Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review magazine and author of the new book A Year With the Mystics: Visionary Wisdom for Daily Living. She is also chair of Cardinal Dolan’s pro-life commission in New York. She can be contacted at [email protected]

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