Complicity in the Sin of Genocide

(A previous version of this article appeared in Crisis magazine.)

Abortion is an intrinsic moral evil. It involves carrying out or arranging to carry out the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. An intrinsic evil is an action that is always gravely sinful regardless of the circumstances. There are no exceptions, no grey areas.

The U.S. federal government is guilty of and complicit in intrinsic evil because it permits abortion. With some 62 million people killed by abortion since it was legalized, not only is the government complicit in an intrinsic evil, it is complicit in genocide – which the American Heritage dictionary defines as “the systematic killing of substantial numbers of people on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political opinion, social status, or other particularity.” In this case the particularity is the preborn.

To be sure, that does not mean federal employees and U.S. taxpayers are complicit, unless they support it and enable it.

Then who is complicit? They include the original seven Supreme Court justices who voted to legalize abortion in 1973. Presidents who appointed Supreme Court justices they knew to be in favor of keeping abortion legal were complicit in intrinsic evil, as were those newly appointed justices. Senators who voted to approve them also were complicit.

Members of the populace who vote for pro-abortion politicians are complicit in the intrinsic evil of legalized abortion, and therefore commit sin. This is particularly the case when they vote for politicians who want to enshrine abortion into federal law through an act of Congress, as well as enact taxpayer-funding of abortion. Direct funding of abortion would make the U.S. government not just the enabler of genocide as it is now, but also a principal executioner. It essentially would subcontract out the killing.

For Catholics, voting for a pro-abortion candidate could rise to the level of mortal sin, provided the three conditions of mortal sin are met: grave matter, full knowledge, and deliberate consent. To be mortal, the Catholic voter has to be aware that abortion is a mortal sin, that his or her vote is helping to enable its continued legalization, and perhaps that he or she is not being misled by “seamless garment”-type ideas (see below). While voting for abortion is not on the same level of procuring an abortion, it is including oneself in a large group of voters who enable this national sin. Responsibility for the ongoing genocide ultimately rests with those U.S. voters who put the pro-aborts in power.

One may object that, though a vote for a pro-abort is a vote for the intrinsic evil of abortion, it is not sinful because it is a vote against other types of intrinsic evils.

What would constitute those other intrinsic evils? The death penalty? Allowance of the death penalty does not involve the deliberate killing of innocent human beings. The government assumes that the person being put to death is guilty of a heinous crime. He is a threat to society because of the possibility he could escape from prison or be released from prison by an unscrupulous judge. The death penalty also is a deterrent to would-be criminals. It is plausible that very occasionally, someone thought to be guilty but who is actually innocent mistakenly could be put to death. But this is not an intrinsic evil because unlike abortion, the executioners are not intending to kill an innocent person. Moreover, abortion involves the killing of some 850,000 innocent children per year. Under the death penalty, only about a two-dozen people are executed per year in the U.S.

What about when the U.S. wages war? This does not fall into the category of abortion because innocents are not deliberately targeted. Though many innocent people died as a result of U.S. actions during its many wars, the vast majority of them were not deliberately targeted – with the exception of the bombing of German and Japanese cities during World War II. The policymakers who approved the wars considered themselves to be engaging in self-defense – or the defense of other populations – against an aggressor. They may have sinned, for example through failure to think through certain consequences of their actions, but they did not sin on the scale of legalized abortion, which entails the deliberate killing of innocents.

If a presidential candidate vowed to wage an unjust war for the purposes of raw power, territorial expansion and genocide, as the National Socialists and Communists did, then it could be justifiable to vote for an opposing pro-abortion candidate. But this is not the situation in the United States. (Moreover it would be the National Socialists or Communists who would champion abortion.)

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” states, “There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position even on policies promoting an intrinsically evil act may reasonably decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil.” This should close the door on the option of voting for a pro-abort. At no time in contemporary U.S. history has there been a public policy concern that even comes close to being as morally grave as the genocide of babies.

To be sure, the U.S. government enables other actions that the Catholic Church considers to be intrinsic evils: euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and same-sex unions. They are all championed by the pro-abortion party.

Many subscribe to the “seamless garment” theory, promoted by certain bishops, which considers abortion to be just one of a number of issues such as poverty, unemployment, substandard health care, immigration problems, environmental degradation, and climate change. But none of these separate issues are intrinsic moral evils – they do not involve the deliberate killing of innocent human beings. Most if not all politicians and other policymakers are well-intentioned in wanting to address those issues. They may have vastly different policy prescriptions, but they do not intend to kill anyone. Voting for or against politicians based on one or more of those separate issues likely is not sinful either way. It is only sinful to vote for a politician who champions perpetuating a government-sponsored intrinsic evil such as abortion.

Voting for a pro-abortion candidate is not only sinful, but mortally sinful assuming the above-mentioned conditions are met. It is sinning against God, and against millions of babies who are denied a life.

America Dystopia

America dystopia for pinterest 231x300 - America DystopiaImagine a relatively clean, orderly and educated society where people go about their lives working, studying, and playing, and who on the whole are generally polite to each other. But the society has a dark secret: some 2,500 murders are carried out each and every day. These aren’t gangland-style murders on the street involving guns and knives. These are systematic murders of children, taking place in mild-mannered neighborhoods, in what are called “clinics” staffed by doctors and nurses wearing green gowns and rubber gloves.

Because they take place in these nondescript “clinics” involving doctors and nurses, and because they have been legalized, people don’t think much of those murders. They’re shocked of course by the illegal murders of adults and young people on the streets, but the murders of tiny children that take place in the “clinics” don’t bother them much. It is a medical setting, after all.

The vast majority of the tiny children who are murdered were healthy. Some of them had physical defects, and therefore were eliminated. After all, the authorities don’t want lots of unhealthy babies introduced and thus negatively impact the fairly clean, orderly and prosperous society.

This society resembles the dystopian novel and movie The Giver, in which undesired or defective infants are legally and systematically put to death in clean, antiseptic medical procedure rooms by medical professionals. In The Giver a syringe is gently placed into the baby’s head, the baby dies, and the body is placed into a chute. (Disturbing scene from the movie here.) No one protests or thinks much of it – after all, everything takes place in a medical facility. And the authorities don’t want to do anything that could negatively impact the clean and orderly society depicted in The Giver.

This society resembles the dystopian novel and movie The Giver, in which undesired or defective infants are legally and systematically put to death by medical professionals.

Meanwhile, in the aforementioned society, the babies are put to death in a different manner. They don’t involve gentle syringes to the head. Instead, they are bloody and violent deaths by dismemberment. The doctor grabs the baby’s leg and tears it off, then the baby’s arm and tears it off, then its other leg and tears it off, and so on. To see a disturbing animation of this procedure, click here.

For adults, death by dismemberment would be the cruelest and most excruciating form of death. That’s why it’s outlawed for the rest of society. But for some reason, it isn’t outlawed for the babies.

In addition to death by dismemberment, the babies are often put to death through the use of chemical agents, causing the baby to be chemically burned alive from the inside out, taking more than an hour to die. For the rest of society, death by chemical agents is one of the most excruciating forms of death. That’s why chemical warfare was outlawed in World War II. But for some reason, it isn’t outlawed for the babies.

scene from The Giver 150x150 - America Dystopia

Scene from The Giver. (Walden Media, 2014)

So this society is actually much more dystopian than the dystopian society depicted in The Giver. At least in the latter, the babies died presumably almost painless deaths. Not so in the society of which we speak. They die the cruelest and most barbaric deaths. But they all take place in “clinics”, out of sight to the rest of society.

In this society roughly 20,000 murders take place on the streets each year, often via guns. People are up in arms about those murders, especially when the murders take the form of massacres. But the number of those types of murders pale in comparison to the number of murders that take place in the dystopian “clinics” using forceps or saline solutions as weapons: roughly 900,000 of them per year. That’s 2,500 per day. It’s the leading cause of death – even more than heart disease.

In this society, most of the legalized murders of the babies take place while they’re still in the mother’s womb. Now there’s a push to legalize the murder of babies up to the point of delivery, and even after delivery – i.e. straight-up infanticide, as takes place in The Giver. Several states in this society already permit the murder up to the point of delivery.

The governor of one of the states of this society even discussed permitting murder after delivery. A professor at one of this society’s prestigious universities, who in true dystopian form describes himself as a bioethicist, champions the killing of born babies up to a month old. So do researchers who published a paper on this subject in a prestigious academic journal. And numerous college students support the killing of born babies. This society is moving closer and closer toward the systematic slaughter depicted in The Giver – but it all would take place in “clinics”, which seem so kind and gentle.

Brave New World, 1984, Animal Farm, The Giver … they all depict dystopian societies. With the systematic but out-of-sight killing of thousands of babies going on every day in the nondescript “clinics” probably not far from where you live, America has become a real-life dystopian society – playing out right before your very eyes.

%d bloggers like this: