By Peter Diamond, M.D.
On Good Friday 2020, Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia codified a bill that repealed almost all of the restrictions to abortion in the state. Remarkably, the bill allows for removal of safety standards for the physical and mental well-being of the mother that are common sense health care practices for other procedures. Whether these allowances will lead to greater maternal risk remains unclear. The fate of the unborn child is uniformly sealed.
The leading proponents of the legislation are both women. State Senator Jennifer McClennan and House Majority Leader Charniele Herring were the vocal leaders of the confirmation process. It is a remarkable and consistent observation that the legislative face of these abortion laws is uniquely advanced with a female identity. Politicians would argue for the value of this perception because it is a woman who must bear the child. Yet where is the face of the father in this circumstance? Where is the protector of the innocent, the defender of the indefensible? Why has the man been relegated to a subsidiary role in a matter of life and death? Is the beguilement of Governor Northam to be the example that fatherhood wants to project?
Truly remarkable for Christians is the timing of the proclamation. On the very day that Our Savior was tortured and put to death for the forgiveness of our sins, Governor Northam celebrated the procurement of unfettered abortion. In a role that eerily re-enacted King Herod’s mass murder of the Holy Innocents, he served to protect his position among the amoral elite. As an avowed Christian, he was incapable of listening to the biblical voices of the past as expressed in Jeremiah 31:15 and Matthew 2:18:
Thus says the Lord:
“A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.”
There will be those who argue for the necessity of the bill as a mechanism to protect the life of the mother. Let not the facts get in the way of a good argument. The most recent CDC statistics reveal that the total maternal childbirth mortality in 2015 was 550 patients in the United States. This number includes all medical and surgical complications and certainly must include at least some legal abortion-related deaths. In comparison, Nigeria has 100 million less people but had a maternal mortality of 58,000 in the same year. The primary reason for this discrepancy is related to poor hygiene and access to medical care. Every maternal death is a tragedy but how does this bill serve the medical needs of the mother when it diminishes the maternal safety standards?
Tragically, the vast number of abortions are performed at the desire of the mother. She seeks the end to her pregnancy for a myriad of reasons that do not ultimately prioritize the life of her child. Most often the decision is not capricious. It is calculated and pondered. I am certain that it is often painful and frightening to face such a dilemma. Yet women are unique in that they are the guardians of sanctuary for their unborn child. They are endowed with the blessing of constant companionship and everlasting relationship with another human being. It is an incredible gift. It is a deeply primal and holy honor. The union is meant to be inviolable. To make abortion so accessible and inviting is to distract and destroy all that God has sacredly bonded between a woman and her child.
As I advance in years, I recognize that wisdom can teach us much about life and death. Chief among these tenets is the unalienable right to life for all born and unborn human beings. The protection of life is both noble and inborn to our nature. The indiscriminate destruction of any human being is a deep wound for the mind and the soul to bear. No matter the rationalization or pragmatism of acceding to abortion, the ultimate affront to a woman is incalculable.
Widespread abortion also has dangerous consequences for women in the world. Female feticide is the evil consequence of unfettered abortion in different cultures, including China and India. Sex selective abortion is currently outlawed in many states but remains on the horizon. The moral boomerang of women leading the charge for abortion on demand may result in the very destruction of more female children. Is this to become the grim endpoint of their leadership? Have they pondered the ultimate consequences of their hollow victory?
As the march towards moral decadence advances, the words of Edmund Burke still hold true today: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” More ominous is the action of Governor Northam and his legislative accomplices. The triumph of evil has now been legalized. Rachel weeps again. May Our Lord grant mercy on all of His Holy Innocents.
Peter S. Diamond MD is a board certified cardiologist. He received his medical degree at the University of Notre Dame and completed his residency at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. His medical practice is in Elkhorn, WI.