What Problem are We Trying to Solve?
Pro-Life folks, and I number myself among them, take the position that abortion is wrong, and must be stopped. I agree. But is that the problem we are trying to solve?
Abortion is an end stage symptom of an epidemic. Here's what I mean.
Take the H1N1 pandemic as an example. It might or might not be real, but that is not important to my thesis here. We are being counselled to deal with H1N1 more aggressively than we have dealt with flus in the past. We have been asked to sneeze this way, sanitize that way, and if sick keep away from others etcetera. In our Roman Catholic Diocese of London, we have temporarily suspended shaking hands at the sign of peace, and communion methods have been altered in the interests of reducing physical contact among parishioners. In effect, we have been asked to go back to the root causes of disease transfer, and cut this pandemic out at the root.
In my view, abortion, as hideous as it is, is only a symptom of the worst and most virulent pandemic to be visited on mankind possibly in history. That pandemic is called the Sexual Revolution. As an unwitting participant in this pandemic, I allowed myself to buy into the lies that its proponents told, making me a part of this global pandemic that is at the root of many of the ills of society today.
Pope Paul VI predicted that the world would come to the place we are in now on July 25, 1968 when he released his encyclical letter Humanae Vitae. He knew that the disease was the Sexual Revolution, with all its empty promises, and lies.
While we stand and pray in front of places where abortions occur, we are in effect trying to heal one of the last symptoms of this pandemic, rather than healing the cause of the pandemic itself. I am in no way suggesting that this is not a useful exercise, but as can be seen from the fruit it bears which is good, it is not enough.
I have been reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell recently, and it has meaningful thoughts to offer us. This book was originally published in 2000, and is making a comeback again now. Gladwell deals in this book with epidemics of various kinds, and how things become an epidemic or stop being an epidemic. The root cause of the epidemic, he calls the Tipping Point. Sometimes, as he points out at the root is something innocuous, and even surprising.
He gives the example of the New York subway system, where crime was at such epidemic proportions in the early 80's. Subway cars had been defaced. People were in fear of their lives while riding public transit. It was awful. Starting in 1984, New York adopted and adapted the Fixing Broken Windows theory of crime fighting in its subway system, as described originally by Kelling and Coles.
Initially and over time all graffiti was cleaned up on subway cars, and kept clean, along with the implementation of new cars. By 1990, William Bratton was hired as a new head of the subway police force. At that time, the force took aim at fare jumping and other minor crimes first to combat crime in general. What they effectively did, was clean up the environment on the basis that if the environment was clean, there would be less temptation to commit crimes.
As Gladwell states, from one broken window comes more broken windows, and more lawlessness until anarchy prevails. So, minor problems are invitations to larger problems. As he points out criminals are actually very much in tune with their environment.
Bringing this back to abortion and the sexual revolution, abortion is merely a down stream symptom of the lawlessness (God's laws, not man's laws) of the sexual revolution. If you want to stop the serious sins, cut out the less serious sins, to create an environment where the more serious are not welcome.
I hazard a guess that while Christians and others supportive of the pro-life cause rail against abortion, many of them who are still sexually active, and of a procreative age, are taking birth control pills to prevent unwanted pregnancies. A large number of these birth control pills cause spontaneous abortions, because the sperm in fact fertilizes the egg, but the then fertilized egg (read - your son or daughter) is unable to attach itself to the uterus and instead is flushed out of the system. Effectively, we are saying to our pregnant daughters, don't do what I have done, or am still doing. Don't abort that baby, but that makes it a hollow request.
So, really, if you want to stop abortion, reverse the sexual revolution. Sound impossible. No more so than trying to stop abortion.