Archbishop Mahony asks us all a good question: What does abortion say about us as a people? Unfortunately, he had all the wrong answers. Because what legal abortion says about us as a people is that we value women's lives and trust American women to make this personal decision for ourselves.
I made the decision to have an abortion. I'm just lucky that it was a legal option and I did not have to risk my life to pursue a future of my own choosing.
Legal abortion says that we as a people see the quarter-million deaths of women around the world every year from complications from illegal abortion as a needless tragedy. Before abortion was legal in the U.S., estimates are that there were between 250,000 and 1 million illegal abortions every year. America does not want to go back to when those illegal abortions were the second leading cause of death of pregnant women.
Legal abortion says that we as a people do not want a Big Brother government telling us we can't-- or we must--have a safe abortion. Many women will choose abortion regardless; with legal abortion we as a people are saying we want it to be a safe choice.
Even if we lacked majority support for our position, individual rights such as these should not be left to the shifting sands of elections and state legislatures. But should the Supreme Court send this back to the states, we are prepared to mobilize our increasingly less silent majority.
The Catholic Church is not only against abortion, but against all forms of contraception except for the notoriously unreliable natural family planning. Why isn't the archbishop more verbal about this position as well?
Executive Director, California
Abortion Rights Action League