We all know Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great man. It is to be hoped that the majority of people today agree with what he has to say. That being said, if anyone agrees that an “unjust law is a code that is out of Harmony with the moral law” (moral law, according to MLK, is “the law of God”), then how can we say that abortion is okay (paragraph 15)? I know what you all are thinking, “Here we go again with abortion. Just let it go already.” However, I’m with Dr. King on not letting things go. I don’t believe that people should remain “lukewarm” but should be passionate about something (23). I am merely trying to “bring to the surface, yet again, the hidden tension that is already alive” (24). People used to be so passionate about abortion and whether it was right or wrong, but as it began to be accepted by society, passion began to fade from many; people felt since they had not won with the law there was no point to continue the fight!
I don’t want to be one of the many people that “sanction things as they are” by being “silent” (42). I agree with Dr. King when he says “right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant” (43). I am not arguing to try to win, because there really isn’t a way for one person to win fighting against something that is already a law. Law, by definition, is “a rule of conduct established and enforced by the authority,” according to the New World Dictionary. So although abortion is not a law, it has been made legal through the law. A rule is a “principle that determines conduct” according to the New World Dictionary. If abortion is legal it is an option of how one chooses to conduct oneself; people can legally choose to have an abortion because the law says it is okay. As it is, I simply want to argue using Dr. King’s argument on freedom (and keep in mind when I say law I am referring to the legality of abortion, or the acceptance of rules pertaining to it).
Dr. King writes, “A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law” (18). Isn’t this saying that the law (as far as legality is concerned) of abortion is unjust? It is a law that is literally an infliction on a minor that gets no say in devising a law that so quickly ends their lives before they have even started. I am not bringing up what is life and what is death because I feel that that argument is pointless and an argument set for failure. Anyone with common sense knows what life is and what death is, and those that do argue defining these ideas often do so to justify a guilty conscience with minute definitions of something that cannot be humanly defined simply in words, especially scientific. Those being aborted get no say in the action taken against them, and the matter at hand (life or death) requires that those involved have a voice. The United States should not have passed such a legality where those involved cannot speak up for themselves, because any law created in this type of situation can be considered unjust for the very reason that those the law is inflicting are not present.
Who, as an average human, would choose death over life? “…Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed” (12). What if the oppressed cannot speak up for themselves? When it comes to abortion we are “liv[ing] in monologue rather than dialogue,”; monologue with ourselves, leaving out those that are the most important factor in turning our monologue into a dialogue and creating a just law with a fair majority that chooses life over death (11).
For some reason it makes perfect sense why and how abortion became legal. Those subjected to the law were denied the right to have a say (as they are unborn) and those that wanted the law were the majority because they were the only ones capable of speaking, excluding those (pro-life advocates) that were against it that did speak up but were not subjected to the law themselves. Now I know we are talking about babies, or fetal tissue, or whatever scientific name one wants to use, that cannot speak. How can we justify a law where they are the main subjects, the “problem,” when we don’t know what they would say? Just because they are unable to speak doesn’t give us the right of way to assume we know what’s best and to go ahead and speak in their place; just as white people assumed they knew what was best for blacks, so much so that they felt they could count them out of the vote. The whites ended up finding in the end what they thought was best (for themselves, that is, segregation) was not what the blacks wanted. However, white people knew that all along. They just wanted to justify their actions by keeping blacks out of the vote because they knew the white population would become the minority and thus lose when it came to equal rights and freedom for all. This seems very similar to people that fight for abortion rights, twisting the fight toward themselves and their rights, and directing the fight from the deserved rights of those that are not present. We cannot justify a law where the people being subjected to it do not have a voice.
Dr. King talks about “bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence,” which he is right to speak of as that is what our country is founded on (47). Our country is founded on principles that are moral according to “the law of God,” which means there is no way, no matter how one tries to justify it, that abortion is moral according to the law of God (16). This is what he is talking about when he is able to define “just laws” as being a “man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God” (16). The law is unjust whenever it does not line up with the “law of God” (16). [Again, keep in mind I am not saying the whole of the United States needs to be Christians, rather that we need to stick with a basis of moral laws as our founding fathers (many who were deists) believed we should].
If one does not agree that our country was founded on God and that Dr. King’s definitions of just laws are correct, take into account St. Thomas Aquinas’ words of what an unjust law is: “An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law” (16). This makes sense. If humans make laws that are completely unnatural, that go against the grain of human nature, the law is usually going to be unjust. America has done just that. We have made a law that goes against the natural law of human nature, ending a birth that would otherwise happen. In a similar way whites tried to take away from blacks the God-given right of freedom. He also says that “any law that uplifts human personality is just” (16). How can abortion be just if it ends a human personality before it has even started? We cannot justify another’s pursuit of freedom when it inhibits someone else’s. Laws change, societies change, beliefs change, but there must be one solid foundation of justification and truth that never changes if there is to be right and wrong.
Read Full Post »