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The New Abolitionism

Deacon Keith Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC
Catholic Online


It had been a long day.

I was driving home to Chesapeake from Richmond, Virginia, “dog tired” as they say. My day had begun in Washington D.C., completing my week’s coursework at Catholic University. The morning class was followed by an important luncheon meeting. That was followed by travel to Richmond for a Latin class. That was followed by the privilege of serving as the Deacon and homilist at Mass at St. Benedict’s, my favorite parish in the Diocese of Richmond.

I had at least two hours left to drive before I would arrive home.

When I began my academic work, my oldest daughter, knowing how long the drives would be, bought me an “XM” radio. It has helped in moments of fatigue such as the one I found myself in. So, I turned on Fox News thinking it would help to fill the time and keep me awake for the long drive. It did much more - it filled me-with indignation! The “all star” panel was having a discussion moderated by Brit Hume. The topic was the action of the South Dakota legislature in passing State legislation banning most abortions and the courageous action of Governor Mike Rounds in signing it. During the panel discussion, the language of the “abortion debate” was flying. However, it was one phrase that prompted the writing of this article and my decision to begin using a new term.

The Rhetoric of Ruin

It was Juan Williams, one of the panelists, who sent my blood pressure upward. He repeatedly referred to the Legislators, and the people who overwhelmingly support their action, as “anti-abortion rights” activists. I have written for years concerning the verbal engineering that usually precedes legislative, judicial and cultural engineering. C.S. Lewis, in his marvelous “Essay on Words” aptly referred to such a misuse of rhetoric as “verbicide” –the intentional murder of a word. That is what this horrid expression truly is!

We have witnessed this use of words as weapons of destruction in other recent times, when darkness has momentarily squeezed the light of truth from public discourse.

It was not that long ago when the insidious rise of National Socialism in Germany was prepared by verbal engineering. It was the use of loaded language such as the evil phraseology of death contained in the book entitled “Life Unworthy of Life”, written by that centuries lawyer/doctor duo of death, Hoche and Binding. We had our own in Kervorkian and Feiger. In that book this pair, Hoche and Binding, coined the phrase “useless eaters” in referring to the disabled and those whom the emerging Nazi movement wanted to eliminate. In so doing, they laid the predicate in language for the construction of gas ovens in which the unthinkable, the killing of human persons, later occurred. This act of pure evil was then referred to as a “final solution” in one of the most insidious examples of verbicide. This evil was then protected by civil law in Nazi Germany! We look with horror on that chapter in history. We ask ourselves how such evil could occur. Yet, we fail to recognize what are we doing to another class of persons in our own age?

We witnessed another example of the powerful abuse of loaded language in a sad chapter in our own American history - when slavery was “legal”, even called a “right” and protected by the United States Supreme Court. The lingering effects of this social evil still cry out for remedy! Human Persons whose skin pigmentation was darker than those who then held the reigns of power were treated as property and allowed to be “legally owned” and used by others - all with the approval of a Supreme Court which had sacrificed natural law and justice. A very similar jurisprudence is found in Roe v Wade and its progeny; an entire class of persons, children in the womb, was relegated to the status of “chattel”, personal property, who could thus be disposed of by those more powerful.

They have no voice that can be heard except our own. These human children, our first neighbors in the first home of the whole human race, their mothers’ womb, are being killed by chemicals and surgical strikes - all of which is currently protected by the power of a State. They have no power to resist this new form of slavery without our help. They are subject to use, abuse and destruction by those with more power. Medical science has confirmed what our conscience already knows; the child in the womb is our neighbor.

Several months ago, news accounts were filled with horrible stories out of India confirming the practice of prenatal selection and selective abortions being performed on girl children. This practice involves the use of ultrasounds to locate these girls in the first home of the womb and then their selective killing through various abortion procedures. These same procedures are being used ...

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