As a writer, I've always turned to the written word to piece together the ways of the world, and to better understand myself and others. I knew that in this matter, it would be no different -- I would write a book that got to the heart of a decision that polarizes so many of us.
Tuesday, January 22 marked the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark court decision on abortion and women's sexual health, but at DePaul University, that day will be remembered very differently.
In the winter of 2013, it is fair to say that the pro-life movement faces a crossroads the likes of which it has not seen since 1976. It will do well, therefore, to recall some of the events of that earlier political season.
"Pro-life" values? Not a label that abortion-rights advocates should use for opponents of a woman's right to choose an abortion. One of the main reasons those opponents keep calling themselves "pro-life" is they want to imply that supporters of abortion rights are anti-life. Why help?
While Roe v. Wade guaranteed that abortion was legal in America, the last four decades have been a struggle to ensure access to that right. As clergy, I see this problem with a pastoral eye. How is it just to deny a woman access to a constitutionally-protected right simply because she is poor?
Many American Catholics took exception to this decision and have engaged in four decades of political action to reverse this outcome. There might have been a time when this strategy was viable. No longer.
Tragically, the lives of the parents are completely ignored by the anti-abortionists. Yet that is the essential issue. In any conflict it's the actual, living persons who count, not the mere potential of the embryo.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and as a pro-choice president, Obama is likely to mark it with a statement reaffirming a woman's constitutional right to abortion. But on this anniversary maybe it is time to ask him for something more.