Respect For Life Begins At Home

Lam Luong, a native of Vietnam now living in Alabama, stands accused of killing his four young children by throwing them off a bridge into the Gulf of Mexico. He appears to have done this in reaction to an argument with his wife, and is now being held in jail pending murder charges. [News coverage]

Clearly this is a despicable crime, and a horrible situation for the family. What strikes me as odd, however, is that Mr. Luong would be a free man today had he helped his wife exercise her "choice" to get rid of the children prior to birth. Indeed, he would be honored by some people for doing his part to reduce the impact of humanity on our fragile planet.

Plenty of men do exactly this: impregnate women then take them (willingly or not) to have abortions when an inconvenient baby has the nerve to implant itself in the woman's womb. For whatever reason, Mr. Luong waited too long. Maybe he just wanted to give his children a merciful death. A plunge into icy waters is probably less painful than being chopped into pieces, burned alive with saline, or having your brains sucked out with a vacuum cleaner - all without the benefit of anesthetic.

Such things were made possible in this country exactly 35 years ago. It was January 22, 1973 that the Supreme Court discovered, in Roe v. Wade, that the Constitution grants women the right to kill their unborn babies. States have henceforth been prohibited from stopping this ghastly practice. Tens of millions of babies died as a result.

Tomorrow the pro-life movement gathers in Washington for the annual March for Life. It will be an amazing event - far larger than most mass protests in this country - but chances are you will see nothing about it in the media. It's just not newsworthy, you see.

I'm totally in favor of all political efforts to reduce abortion. At the same time, I think we have to acknowledge that the real battle is in the culture. If Roe v. Wade is reversed, the only result is that states will regain the right to regulate abortion as they see fit. Most will doubtless continue permitting abortion in some fashion. I don't like it either, but that is the political reality in 2008.

What we really need to do is change the culture. We need to regain a respect for humanity and human life, from its natural beginning to its natural end. We need to teach young men and women to respect themselves and respect the natural connection between sexuality and procreation. We need to once again make parenthood a noble and honorable vocation that people want to experience, instead of a chore to be dreaded and postponed.

It's a long way from where we are now to a real Culture of Life - yet every journey begins with a single step. For Evangelical and Catholic Christians, a great place to start is with ourselves. Are we respecting life and helping our children grow up to do the same? Are we teaching the sanctity of life in our churches? Are our actions consistent with the values we claim to hold? Until we do those things, our success in reforming the rest of the culture will be limited. Respect for life begins at home.

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