What does victory in the battle to erase the need for abortion look like? Certainly, a woman considering abortion deciding to have her baby is a victory, a unique moment of rejoicing. Yet our joy over each life saved points to our future hope where no woman ever feels like abortion is a valid option…. This is total victory.
Where are we in our victory march? It is true that abortion is down 18% in the U.S. and 25% in NY. It is true that the ranks of abortionists have shrunk to 1/3 their former girth. It is also true that abortion has withered 49% in Monroe County since 2008. In fact, abortion began trending down everywhere in 2007-2008. The question is, will the downward trend continue?
To answer this we must ask why abortion is sinking in the first place. On the surface there appear to be two positive trends: 1) Increased regulation of abortion and 2) Reduced sexual activity among non-married people.
First, since 2007 scores of restrictive abortion bills were passed in many state legislatures, and hundreds of abortionists closed. Yet that can’t be the whole story because NY is the U.S. abortion capital and there were no such legislation or closures here. And still, NY’s abortion decline outpaces the rest of the country.
Second, teen pregnancy is falling and correspondingly so is sexual activity among high school and college students. In fact, sexual activity is down across all younger childbearing ages. This development may not reflect a moral awakening. It is a small part of larger, more puzzling trends. The marriage rate has plummeted and the U.S. fertility rate is tumbling to a projected all-time low of 1.77 children per woman. This is far below previous predictions and the levels required for population replacement. But why is the current generation of young people opting out of parenthood?
Several generations have been infected by the rabid atheism of Marx and Darwin at school and the soft atheism of Mom and Dad at home. The chaotic individualism of Darwin insists man is a meaningless anomaly. The tyrannical collectivism of Marx insinuates humanity is chattel to be managed. In denying the non-material, society is robbed of a common transcendent meaning from which we derive right and wrong. The only morality possible then is a sterile utilitarianism which elevates pleasure and pain as the standards for right and wrong. This sets the stage for society’s trinity of evil often modeled by Mom and Dad at home: consumerism, fueled by careerism, and insulated by contraception. For generations westerners have been morally malnourished by this philosophic swill which has gradually gutted a generation’s desire for the healthful meat of family.
But this sad situation is hundreds of years in the making, touching us all. It is the result of the Enlightenment’s claim that human reason is equal to God’s revelation. But since God’s revelation subordinates reason, the Enlightenment assertion acts to deny God’s revelation on this point. The Enlightenment created a moral Wild West. Now, when it comes to knowing the purpose of man and his moral obligations, it is up to each individual to figure out for himself. This new Dark Age is beheld in the mass graves of the 20th century and the lonely family-less 21st century. This illogical, opinion-based, moral orthodoxy illustrates the Enlightenment’s hilarity: that billions of individuals with competing purposes and values can arrive at a common morality through reason alone.
If human purpose could be observed by reason alone, why is Jesus compelled to break into the barren barbarism of human existence? Why does He say, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength…”? Because without God’s self-revelation, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself…” (Mk 12:29-31) is undefinable and impossible.