Last summer, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the Board of Immigration Appeals must reconsider its denial of an asylum application by Nai Yuan Jiang, a Chinese man whose girlfriend was forced to have an abortion in China. In his application, Jiang claimed he was persecuted under China's coercive family planning policies. The Court agreed. The key to the Court's decision in Jiang's favor was its finding that forced abortion constitutes political persecution within the meaning of our immigration laws. (Jiang v. Holder, 611 F.3d 1086 (9th Cir. 2010)).
Upon reading the Court's opinion, one is readily inclined to agree that the Court made the right call; after all, it must be horrible to live in a country where the government controls population growth through the barbaric practice of forced abortion. But wait, in the context of abortion, what is the difference between China and the United States ? Well, U.S. citizens are not forced to have abortions; to the contrary, they volunteer to have them! How enlightened we are; how superior we are to those barbarians in China. China's abortions constitute political persecution but ours are politically correct.
Is the difference between China and the U.S. simply freedom of choice? Does a person's freedom to choose change the nature of the act itself? Of course not. Any act is objectively good or bad in itself; the goodness of the act does not depend on whether the act is done freely or under force. Forced action changes a person's culpability for an action, but it does not change the nature of the act itself. A person can be absolved of responsibility for an act done against their will, but the act itself does not change.
So again, one must ask what is the difference between the U.S. and China? Thomas Aquinas teaches that there are three parts to the morality of any act and all three parts must be good for any act to be morally good. The three are (1) the objective act itself, (2) the subjective motive, and (3) the situation or circumstances. (Peter Kreeft, Making Choices, Practical Wisdom for Everyday Moral Decisions, (Servant Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1990) pp. 29-30). By applying this test to the act of abortion we can see that we are more culpable than the Chinese.
Of course, there are some who will say that an abortion, in and of itself, is neither good nor bad; rather, it's no different than disposing of hamburger, both are just lifeless flesh. It's possible that such people have never laid their hand on a pregnant woman's stomach and felt the movement of a child in the womb. On the other hand, it is impossible that such people have ever felt a pound of packaged hamburger moving and kicking.
On this day, the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade holding, we must stop and think. How can we look down our noses at China for its law of forced abortions while at the same time seeing ourselves as superior for our law of free abortions?
The abortion issue is the most important issue of our time. The next generation might well ask of us, like we have asked of Germans who lived next door to concentration camps during WWII, why more wasn't done to stop these murders. Six million people were killed under Nazism; 30,000,000 were killed under Stalinism, and approximately 54,000,000, so far, have been killed in the name of individualism since Roe v. Wade. (See statistics kept by the U.S. Center for Disease Control).
Mother Teresa said "the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion because it is war against the child...A direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself...And if we can accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?"