How the Coronavirus Response Reveals Our Pro-Life Instincts
COMMENTARY: The actions we are taking in response to the coronavirus pandemic powerfully rebut the abortion industry’s common claim: my body, my choice.
We, as individuals and as a society, are making unprecedented sacrifices and behavioral changes to protect our most vulnerable citizens during the COVID-19 crisis. Amid this tragedy, a truth is revealed: Each and every human life is worth saving. And this truth speaks most loudly when it involves inconveniences and interruptions to our daily lives.
The current coronavirus pandemic, has us taking extraordinary measures to protect our most vulnerable populations: senior citizens, people who are immunocompromised and people with existing respiratory conditions, among others. Self-quarantining and social distancing have become the new norm. If I go out in public for an essential reason, I have to ensure I stay six feet away from the next individual; I can no longer visit with and be physically close to my loved ones. This new normal has no doubt interrupted our habits, routines, and daily way of life. This pandemic has required a widespread self-restraint and self-sacrifice in order to protect as many human lives as possible. And the vast majority of people have accepted this without argument.
Meanwhile, a great juxtaposition is rising to the surface. As global citizens are making a collective sacrifice to save human lives, abortion businesses remain hell-bent on destroying them. A growing number of state governors are halting all elective medical procedures, including abortions, in order to conserve personal protective equipment for COVID-19 cases. It is common-sense and, as Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told me in an interview last week about his state, is a directive designed to save peoples’ lives. But in response, Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities are suing and arguing it is essential the unborn are killed during this time.
Planned Parenthood is talking out of both sides of their mouth, as in its Texas lawsuit claiming they don’t use much personal protective equipment, and then on social media asking people to donate masks and gloves. The abortion industry’s profits-over-people agenda has never been more starkly obvious.
The actions we are taking in response to the coronavirus pandemic powerfully rebut the abortion industry’s common claim: my body, my choice. It is clear what we as individuals do with our bodies have a direct impact on others. When someone who is young and healthy opts to stay home and not to come in contact with others, that person is doing so for their health — but also for the health of others. When you decide to move your body into a crowded area, you will subsequently put the health of other bodies at risk. Your decision with what you do with your body has consequences for others. While pro-lifers have long recognized this, it seems our world is waking up to this reality as well.
Another truth breaking through right now is that the strong have a responsibility to protect the weak. We see this in how the young and healthy are taking action to protect the older and immunocompromised. Again, this is a truth not foreign to the pro-life movement, as we understand the responsibility of the born to protect the unborn.
The actions of so many right now reflect that to love others means to protect others. And to protect others means to sacrifice for others. Health officials have called for drastic lifestyle changes to halt the spread of the virus, but most people have willingly agreed to these demands because the stakes are so painstakingly obvious: Either we comply to these new health regulations, or a growing number of our vulnerable population may die.
While this idea of sacrificial love is not an easy truth, it’s one we see lived out throughout the pro-life movement: when volunteers sacrifice their time to be at pregnancy resource centers; when pro-lifers sacrifice dollars to help a mother in need; when pro-lifers sacrifice their reputation and comfort to speak boldly in defense of life. Love means sacrifice.
International speaker and pro-life apologist Stephanie Gray speaks eloquently on the relationship between love, life, and sacrifice. She joined me in our EWTN DC studio for our live 2020 March for Life coverage and reflected on something she heard from pro-life leader Michael Spielman: “History has long-defined the greatest love as being the willingness to lay down your life for another, which means the opposite of laying down another’s life for yourself.”
It is Christ himself who models this for us. At the Last Supper, Jesus uttered: “Take it and eat; this is my body (Matthew 26:26).” Our Lord continued his Passion and offered us his most precious body, as he withstood the blows of whips and scourging at the pillar, as he embraced a crown of thorns that punctured his scalp, as he walked on the road to Calvary, carrying his heavy cross, falling three times, and ultimately when he allowed nails to pierce his hands and feet, and gave his last breath on the cross for each one of us.
As the coronavirus crisis persists through the most sacred time on our calendar, my prayer and hope is that we all continue to make sacrifices for the love of others, from those at risk of COVID-19 to expectant mothers in need. May we all be awakened to the reality this Holy Week that “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Catherine Hadro writes from Washington, D.C. She is the host and producer of EWTN's Pro-Life Weekly.