A rampant anti-birth and anti-life ideology (or mentality) has seemingly taken over many individuals and institutions committed to, quite ironically, human development. Worldwide movements and organizations such as Amnesty International and the Institute of Development Studies (IPPF), human rights activists and politicians such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Nancy Pelosi are among those who have been infected, as it were, with an anti-life mentality. And of course, some of you might be thinking that I am exaggerating when I say that these organizations and individuals have embraced an anti-life mentality; after all, you might be wondering, aren’t they all, in some way or another, human rights activists? Haven’t they spent practically all their lives fighting for equality, social justice and human development? To a certain extent, I must admit, you are right. They have spent much of their lives fighting for freedom and liberty, for human rights. At the same time, however, I also contend that their beliefs regarding human life issues have in fact been a great disservice to integral human development, to making the world a “better” world.
Take, as an example, Hillary Clinton. In her remarks on the 15th Anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development, the current Secretary of State lamented that “More than 215 million women worldwide lack access to the modern forms of contraception, and this contributes to the nearly 20 million unsafe abortions that take place very year.” At first sight this might seem like an innocent remark. But, when examined closer, and taking the overall context of this remark into consideration, we see that it actually communicates a deep lack of respect for life and an erroneous concept of human progress. [Artificial] contraception, contrary to what Mrs. Clinton would like to have us believe, is not conducive–nor is it constitutive–of human progress! Rather, artificial contraception, being intrinsically contrary to the natural law, has greatly contributed to the deterioration of the human family (Please visit: Contraception: Why It’s Wrong). And what can we say about what Mrs. Clinton calls “unsafe abortions”? Unsafe abortions? Is there such a thing as a safe abortion? Well, apparently, according to the Secretary of State, suction abortions and dismemberment abortions are considered to be safe simply because they are carried out by a physician and because they take place at an abortion clinic! What’s even more appalling is that Mrs. Clinton apparently considers the availability of “safe abortions” to be a sign of human progress. Human progress? How can anyone consider the killing of millions of unborn babies a sign of progress, of international development? Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta said that “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die [through abortion] so that you may live as you wish.” The Venerable Pope John Paul II said that “It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop.” Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his Encyclical Letter Charity in Truth:
“If there is a lack of respect for the right to life and to a natural death, if human conception, gestation and birth are made artificial, if human embryos are sacrificed to research, the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology”.
If integral human development is to take place, if society hopes to make authentic progress, if the world is to be a better world, then openness to life must be acknowledged as the very center of true development. There will be no progress unless more individual human beings are enkindled by charity and are led by truth. Openess to life needs to be promoted and cultivated. The time for mankind to embrace and respect the fundamental right to life of every people and every individual is now!