This time we turn to a letter written Thursday, November 24th in the Akron Beacon Journal by Mr. John A. Denker entitled, “Personhood in the Extreme.” “Extreme” in this case means that it is too much to consider a human person a human person when a uniquely and indisputable human life is begun. I rather thought “personhood in the extreme” was giving personhood status to animals, plants, or inanimate objects. No alternative is given for when “personhood” should be applied to a person or any explanation offered as to why it is unreasonable to consider a human life as a person.
Without sighting any evidence, proof, studies, surveys, polls, or articles of any kind, Mr. Denker makes the sweeping statement that the “anti-choice crowd” is “pro-war, pro-capital punishment, anti-social safety net, and anti contraception.” Being that the largest sector of the pro-life movement is Catholic, I will grant him the last part. But as to the rest of his assertions, I will counter that Mr. Danker has not the slightest clue as to Catholic social teaching which is against war, against capital punishment, and it is the Catholic Church that has the most well thought out, oldest, and most “person centered” social teaching in the world. You will indeed find persons that might fit his scenario, but his assertions as a generalization are either mean spirited or ill informed.
His letter goes on to claim that the pro-life movement does “not care what happens to the baby after it is born.” Again, absolutely nothing is offered as proof of this other than what appears to be an illusion to a failed levy of some sort. Once again I challenge Mr. Denker. Not taken into consideration are the great works of the people of north east Ohio to take care of these persons and their families after they are born. There are institutions and people helping not only families that have chosen life, but we too take care of parents who have chosen abortion and are now coming to the realization of the horror of what they have done. A very simple Google search would have helped Mr. Danker come to this realization. Further, the Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Cleveland is the largest in the world taking care of the very people he accuses us of not caring about. They do their best not to turn anybody away.
Further, the largest charitable organization in the world is the Catholic Church (including nations.) The very group he rails so strongly against is the one group that is doing what he wishes they would. We not only preach it, we live it. I submit that handling a difficult situation is far more humane than his solution, which has been tried throughout the history of man and has always, always, always proved to do more harm than good: that is, strip a certain troublesome segment of humans of their personhood and then treat them as you will.
In a weak argument he states, “Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times said in a recent column, ‘contraceptives no more sex than umbrellas cause rain.’” This statement alone should cause one to give pause and wonder at the New York Times’ and Mr. Kristof’s position as moral giver. It does not even make sense. It would make sense if rain caused humans to become wet and umbrellas were invented to keep us dry. Then the question would be does having umbrellas mean that more people will go out in the rain. Yes. If one can have sex with the thought that there will be no consequences, will they be more likely to have sex? That is the question.
In the end Mr. Denker softens his position with the statement that he supports reasonable limits on abortions. His parameters are not given. He does not state when it is Okay to strip a human of personhood status and do away with them. When is that “reasonable?” How does one keep it contained once a human is able to be classified with a non-person status?
Once again I ask how is a letter like this helpful to the conversation? If we do not deal with real issues and only sling half truths about, the only result will be further division.