Pope Saint John Paul II was right when he characterized ours as a “culture of death”. Perhaps that may have been a shocking statement to some ears in the middle-nineties. Such a statement is no longer shocking. Instead, the culture of death is openly embraced and promoted. In fact, the culture of death has become so ingrained in society that unborn children are being murdered not only during surgical operations, but by the push of a button, or a few toggles of a joystick.
Over the past couple of weeks, two very disturbing news stories have caught my eye. The first was a story reported out of my home state of Iowa. On June 19, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously approved the use of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s telemedicine abortion system. Since 2008, more than 7,200 abortions have been performed through the video-conferencing system. Doctors in Des Moines and Iowa City interact via video with patients in clinics throughout rural Iowa and with the simple push of a button dispense abortion-inducing pills via a remote-controlled drawer. The Iowa Board of Medicine issued a rule in 2013 that effectively banned the system after receiving a petition from 14 health professionals throughout the state that raised concerns about the system’s safety. In a 6-0 decision, the justices of Iowa’s Supreme Court found that the Iowa Board of Medicine’s rule violated women’s constitutional rights.
The second story to catch my eye came out of Europe. In late June, drones carrying abortion-inducing pills began flying out of Germany to Poland. Having an abortion is illegal in Poland. Germany on the other hand has very liberal abortion and contraception laws. Organizations flying the drones to Poland hailed their actions as “missions of mercy”. USA Today’s “Road Warrior Voices” blog went so far as to cheekily remark, “if successful, the program represents not just one small step for drones, but a giant leap for womankind”.
Even if one sets aside the legal (or illegal) aspects of these two situations, which are by no means trivial matters to set aside, these two stories should raise plenty of concern. Take a moment to examine the tone of the articles reporting these situations. The Des Moines Register’s article oozes nonchalance, but the USA Today article is positively giddy. Comparing abortion drones (a moniker that even the author admits might sound a bit horrifying) to drones that inspect aircraft, save wildlife, or serve as lifeguards, the author writes off any opposition by saying that Poland’s laws are repressive to women. His illogical touting of Germany’s purportedly low abortion rates as some sort of justification for increasing the abortion rates in neighboring Poland adds to the glib attempt to portray any opposing idea.
Nevermind the flagrant violation of Polish law and sovereignty being propagated in Germany (sound familiar?), in an age when decongestants are kept under lock and key in pharmacies, that society would hail the dispersal of abortion-inducing pills which work profound changes on the female body, to say nothing of what they do to the unborn child, as victories is frankly nauseating. Even the casual use of admittedly “horrifying” monikers like “abortion drone” only accentuates how pervasive the culture of death has become in society.
It goes without saying then that those of us who believe that life begins at conception and should be protected by law, and action, from conception until natural death, certainly have our work cut out for us. As incensed as flippant treatment of abortion might make us, the answer does not lie in anger. Nor is pro-life victory merely a matter of pro-life laws and statutes; the culture of death will not be overcome by laws and statutes. One does not change a culture with jurisprudence, at least not primarily. One changes a culture with a different culture, and the only thing that will overcome the current culture of death is a culture of life, rooted and built up in Christ, established in faith and abounding in thanksgiving.
Featured Image from LifeSite.