I remember that when I was about nine or ten years old, about 1950, I had discussions with my little friends about abortion. That was long before Roe v. Wade (1973). Now, to be clear, we didn’t use the term, abortion. I wouldn’t have known what it meant. No, what we were discussing was always framed in the context of who to save in the event a pregnant woman’s life was at risk because of her pregnancy. Should the mother be saved or the as yet unborn child. Without knowing very much about the details of a pregnancy and without benefit of research about fetal development or ultrasound imagery, we clearly understood that life was precious and that both the mother and the fetus were living beings and had a right to life. The mother was already valuable to her husband, other children and likely to many others. And it was presumed that she wanted very much to live. But we also knew that the yet unborn baby was valuable in God’s and the family’s eyes and likewise had a legitimate claim on life. The mother had enjoyed the benefit of life already — not so the child. Did not both deserve the same benefit! At the time some, if not many, women chose their own death in order to save the life of the child. However, the thought of ending the baby’s life for convenience or for any reason other than to save the mother’s life was unthinkable. Seriously, my little friends and I would never have considered that an option. Yes, even within the relatively limited scope of whether to save the mother or the baby, it was a very serious and complex issue. Not so today for most of society. Few would take more than an instant to decide to end the baby’s life to save the mother. I hasten to point out that the official position of the Catholic Church (and many other Christian churchs) differs from that approach. See Catechism of the Catholic Church, Sections 2258 – 2275, under the heading: Article 5, the Fifth Commandment, Thou shall not kill.
The following article opposing abortion for convenience by Tyler Blanski appeared at Crisis Magazine as: A Time to Kill. The image below is titled “The First Mourning” and was painted by William-Adolphe Bouguereau in 1888. The work depicts the moment after Adam and Eve found the body of their son Abel, who was murdered by his brother Cain. This is the first human death recorded in the Bible. RMF
A Time to Kill
by TYLER BLANSKI
In the 1996 crime drama film A Time to Kill, a ten-year-old black girl named Tonya is violently raped by two white supremacists. She survives and the men are arrested, but before an all-white jury they will likely walk free. So Tonya’s father, Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson), takes the law into his own hands and kills the rapists himself. A white lawyer, Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey), agrees to defend Hailey. But since the district attorney seeks the death penalty, and the presiding Judge denies Brigance a change of venue, Hailey is left to be tried before an all-white jury in rural Mississippi—he will likely not walk free. During his closing arguments, Brigance tells the jury to close their eyes and listen as he describes the rape of a young 10-year-old Tonya. “Can you see her? I want you to picture that little girl,” he says, and pauses. “Now imagine she’s white.” Continue reading