A friend only calls when he needs a favor. A guy is interested in a girl only for sex. When people pursue you for what you can do for them, you know you are a means to another’s end. No one likes this. We call it being used. Using one another cheapens relationships; it cheapens life. And for nearly 50 years, Roe v. Wade has taught us to use one another.
This is not to say that seeking favors means we are using people. My best friend in high school never seemed to have any money. A group of us would show up at McDonalds and I’d order a Big Mac and a shake. When the cashier asked for my friend’s order, he’d say he wasn’t hungry. Unpersuaded, I’d say “Dude, what do you want?” and he’d suddenly find his appetite. But for all the meals I paid for, I never felt used. Our friendship extended well past Big Macs, and he gave generously in other ways. So the McDonalds ritual never bothered me.
Here is the logic of our pro-choice world: Not only should we be able to have sex whenever and with whomever (with a few exceptions, and assuming consent) we want, but if a woman becomes pregnant, we can say in effect “If you want the baby, have the baby. If you don’t, kill him. It’s your privilege.” (The father of the baby, who may want him, has no such privilege.)
Pro(abortion)-choicers increasingly acknowledge common sense and concede that abortion kills a baby. Ultrasounds, the science of genetics, and the fact that even one-pound preemies can survive premature birth have rendered ridiculous the claim that an unborn child is simply “a clump of tissue” or “the contents of the uterus.” The logic of abortion becomes inescapable: It is either him or me. It is the logic of means.
And abortion logic bleeds into everything else, encouraging the worst in us. Mother Teresa saw this clearly: “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” Well did Mother Teresa describe our increasingly violent and selfish world. Are we surprised to see the cheapening of life and the coarsening of our culture? Roe has taught us well.
Children are an end, not a means. In other words, the worth of a child is intrinsic—he is valuable because of who he is, not because of what he can do for me. And yet, perhaps paradoxically, he can do quite a lot for me. A child is a gift from God who, like little else in the world, presents us with the glorious opportunity to learn to give, to learn to love. A child shows us, if we are willing to pay attention, that the world is not all about me. He will impinge upon us in every way—keeping us up late, requiring time and money, altering our life plans even when those plans include him. In other words, a child will thoroughly reorient us, again, if we are willing, from “me, at your expense” to “you, at mine.” Which describes love.
“You, at my expense” cuts against the natural grain of our desires, for the one who loves truly must, at times, extend himself beyond his comfort. Love must be learned. Which is why there is no better example of love in our world than that of mothers, who both love and learn to love by giving themselves to another—often at great cost. It is also why pro-choice culture is so deeply destructive. For a culture that is all about me is a culture that can never be about you. It will always be about what I can get, and what I can get away with. It is a cheap substitute for love, one that promises fullness but leaves us empty.